How To Repair Wood Siding In 9 Easy Steps

The side of your house is one of the first things visitors see, so you want it to look its best. If you have wood siding, chances are, at some point, you will need to do some repairs. Whether it’s from wear and tear or severe weather, repairing wood siding is not a difficult task. With a bit of time and effort, you can have your siding looking as good as new in no time. Keep reading to learn how to repair wood siding!

How To Repair Wood Siding

There’s no need to replace all your wood siding when a few boards can be quickly and affordably repaired. Check out this 9-step guide to help you finish the job in no time.

Introduction To The Basics Of Wood Siding Repair

One of the most difficult aspects of replacing wood siding is removing the damaged boards without compromising the adjacent boards. Siding is typically nailed in place, but multiple costs of paint and caulking can make the removal of boards trickier than expected.

Since the surrounding boards are also nailed down and overlap the board you are trying to remove, you may also need to carefully lift those surrounding boards in order to make your repair. Keeping those caveats in mind, let’s go over the steps for how to repair wood siding.

Time

2-3 hours (not including any paint drying time)

Skill Level

Intermediate

Cost

$20-$40

Tools

  • Utility knife
  • Pry bar
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Hacksaw
  • Drill (optional)
  • Safety glasses
  • Dust mask
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil

Materials

  • Replacement wood siding board(s)
  • Caulk
  • Primer
  • Paint & accessories for painting
  • Wooden shims

How To Repair Wood Siding In 9 Steps

1. Inspect The Boards

Siding with cracks and bug damage on side of home

Before you begin any repair work, it’s always a good idea to evaluate the siding to determine how extensive the repairs need to be. Inspect all of the wood siding on your home for signs of damage. 

Make a note of any warped, cracked, or split boards, as well as any that are loose or have come away from the house entirely. Also, check for any areas where the caulk has failed and needs to be replaced.

2. Outline The Repair Area

Once you’ve identified all of the damaged boards, use a pencil to outline each repair area on the siding itself. This will give you a better idea of how much work needs to be done. 

3. Cut The Nails With A Hacksaw

Use your wooden shims and a hammer to carefully wedge open a space at the bottom of the board above the one you are replacing. This will allow you to access the nails that are holding the undamaged board in place above your repair area.

Now cut the nails above your repair area with a hacksaw.

4. Cut The Damaged Board

The next step in how to repair wood siding is to use a utility knife to score all around the damaged board. This will ensure that any caulk or layers of paint holding the board in place are removed. Then score and cut through the wood siding board a few inches past where you outlined the repair area. Use the pry bar and wood shims to lift the board off the surface of the house to ensure you don’t cut any underlying insulation or other materials.

Keep in mind that you may need to replace the blade on your utility knife a few times to ensure you can easily cut through the material. You can also use an electric circular saw or electric multi-tool to cut through the board if you are having trouble cutting with just the utility knife. If you do use an electric saw, just remember to set your blade depth correctly, so you don’t inadvertently cut past the board.

5. Pry And Remove The Damaged Board 

Siding project, old weathered and painted wood siding in a construction dumpster

Using the pry bar, loosen the damaged board from its nail slots, taking care not to damage any of the surrounding boards in the process. Once it’s loose enough, it should lift right off. Use the hacksaw to cut any protruding nails that may remain after you’ve removed the damaged board.

Now is an excellent time to pause the “how to repair wood siding” process and evaluate the extent of the damage to the board you removed and to the insulation under your wood siding. While the damaged wood siding may have simply deteriorated due to age, rotten wood siding may have also been caused by an underlying issue with your weatherproofing. If you are unsure what caused your rotten wood siding to become damaged, you may want to consult with a professional siding installation company.

6. Prepare The Replacement Board

Now you will need to prepare your replacement board by cutting it to size. There are two ways to do this in the “how to repair wood siding” process. One is to use a tape measure to measure the area that you are repairing and cut a board to size based on those measurements.

Another method is to use the old board as a template so that it will fit perfectly in its place. This is the preferred method since you can ensure a perfect fit by using the old board as a template. However, it is not always possible to do this if the board is too damaged to be reliably used as a template. 

7. Match Up The Nails

Just as the wood siding board you use as a replacement should match up seamlessly with the boards that surround it, so should your nails. If any of the old nails are still usable, you can match them up with their corresponding holes in the replacement board before driving them in.

If you need to replace the nails, just be sure to use the correct type for attaching wood siding. Typically this will be a type of stainless steel nail with special rings on the shank that help secure the board in place. If you are using new nails, be sure to match up the nails so that they are in line with the ones on either side of the gap. 

8. Install The Replacement Board

Now that you’ve selected your nails, it’s time to install your new siding replacement board. If you are replacing multiple boards, remember to install them starting from the bottom and work your way up.

Slide your new piece of wood siding into position under the board above it and have someone hold it in place while you nail it down. When it comes to how to repair wood siding, it’s always good to have an extra set of hands around!

Alternatively, you can secure it temporarily with some construction adhesive while you finish nailing it in place. Make sure the board is level with the adjoining boards and is lying flat against the side of the house. Repeat this process for all the boards you are replacing.

If you have insulation under your existing siding, you’ll want to take care not to crush it while you are nailing the board into place. Use your drill to predrill your nail holes to minimize pressure on the insulated sheathing while you are hammering the nails in place.

9. Caulk Seams And Paint The Board To Match

Person staining wood siding

To complete your repair job, apply some caulk around all four sides of your new board, being especially generous at the horizontal seams. Use your finger to force the caulk deeper into the seams. Wipe away any excess caulk with a rag.

Then paint or stain the board so that it matches the rest of your home’s wood siding. If painting, remember first to apply an appropriate primer to ensure the paint lasts longer. You should also apply at least two coats of exterior paint. Depending on how long the primer and exterior paint needs to dry, this step can add several days to the total time for this “how to repair wood siding” guide.

By following these simple steps, your house will look good as new in no time!

Tips For How To Repair Wood Siding

Here are a few pro tips to keep in mind when repairing wood siding:

  • Damage to wood siding is often caused by excessive exposure to water. This can be caused by anything from faulty gutters to incorrectly placed lawn sprinklers. Try to identify the underlying issue and fix it to prevent further damage to your wood siding.
  • Be careful not to hammer the nails on your wood siding past the surface of the board. This can allow water to penetrate the wood and accelerate the deterioration of the board. If you hammer the nails too deep, caulk over the nailhead to prevent water from soaking the wood.
  • Don’t forget to use outdoor caulk that is specially formulated for siding. Ordinary caulk will deteriorate faster than outdoor caulk and lead to more repairs down the road.

Get Your Wood Siding Installed By The Professionals At Urban Exteriors 

With a little time and effort, learning how to repair wood siding is not too difficult and well worth it for your home’s curb appeal. We hope this guide has given you the information and confidence you need to repair wood siding yourself.

If, however, you would rather leave it to the professionals, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We would be more than happy to take care of the problem for you so that you can rest easy knowing your home is in good hands. Visit our website and fill out our contact form today!