How to Replace Rotten Wood Siding

August 23, 2015

Pry out the piece above, slide the rotted piece down, and slip in a new one.


Paraphrased Transcript:

Today I’m going to change out a couple of pieces of siding that’s rotted on the house. This is redwood siding, it is six-inch lap siding. This wood is real brittle, so you have to be careful with it when installing or removing it, but it holds up to the elements really well.

This is the rotted piece. I’m going to pull this up, cut it here, and put a seam right here. Over here you can see that the seams are staggered, you always want to keep them staggered, you don’t want to have a seam on top of another seam.

For one thing, it doesn’t look right, for another, railroaded seams could form a ridge, but more important, water that slips into the first seam can move into the next one below. And that’s what caused some of the rot on this house, water infiltrating the seams.


How to replace a piece of siding: 1:30
  • Make sure you don’t have caulk under the siding pieces. If you do, cut it with a utility knife.
  • Pry out the piece of siding above the rotted piece with a flat bar.
  • Be careful walking it out
  • Pry out the bottom of the rotted piece 
  • Continue working the rotted piece carefully out
  • Nails go through the bottom of the upper piece through the top of the lower piece. 
  • When the upper piece is loose, you can tug down on the lower piece and break the top where the nails are.
  • After pulling the rotted piece out, Cut the rotted piece to make a seam over a stud 
  • Use a speed square as a cut guide and hold the end of the siding that will remain attached to the house (if you hold the cutoff piece while cutting, the saw will bind in the cut.
  • Cut a new piece to first snugly 
  • Nail the siding above the seam and at the seam
  • Replace any nails that pushed through during the prying process
  • Nail off the siding piece.
A gauge block helps set the reveal: 5:30

That’s the replacement process, but Paul reaches into his toolbox further to show some extra info: a gauge block for installing siding (5:30), to keep the reveal consistent. He also covers adjusting the course width to make sure that the last piece, at the top, is not a sliver, "or you won’t have anything to nail to."

  • 7:09: When removing siding below a window, don’t try to pry out the window trim, instead, just break off the lower piece, leaving the top behind the upper siding. Then, use a flat bar to find the nails and bend them up, so that you can pull out the broken top. With the nails bent up, you should be able to slide the new piece of siding up and in.
  • 8:30: Another way to deal with those tricky nails is to use lineman’s pliers to grab them and twist them to pull out the nails.


—Paul Ricalde is a home improvement contractor and fireman in New Orleans, LA. His YouTube channel is rich with construction/remodeling videos.


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