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Hey, you're in the home improvement zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Walls Category: Exterior Walls: Wood Siding


Wood siding panel is damaged and in need of replacement.

Tools / Materials (See Below for Applicability):    

  • Hammer

  • Pry bar

  • Small wood wedges/shims

  • Handsaw

  • Keyhole saw

  • Plunge-cutting hacksaw

  • Appropriate wood board piece (for replacement of damaged piece of siding panel)

  • Wood sealant

  • Power drill and appropriate bit

  • Galvanized nails (2" nail length for residing purposes in general; though, as to nail length, if the wood siding is installed over concrete, masonry or metal studs, provide about 2x nailers as to length size and space; 5/16" nail head diameter)

  • Felt/building paper

  • Appropriate exterior wood filler putty

  • Caulking gun

  • Siliconized acrylic latex caulking tube (in the appropriate color)

  • Flexible joint knife

  • Medium sandpaper (about 120 grit)

  • Paint (exterior paint)

  • Primer

  • Paintbrushes (3-inch)

  • Rag/cloth

  • Damp rag/cloth

  • Tarp (for capturing any paint drops and spills)

  • Tape measure



If you find that one of your wood siding panels is damaged--either gashed, chipped or cracked--with a little sweat and effort, you can have it repaired.

Caution:  Of course, when dealing with sharp objects, such as a nails, or with chemicals, such as those found in paint, make sure you take precautions.

Caution:  Work from the bottom up if you have over one wood siding panel to replace, starting with the most bottom panel first, etc.

Repairing a damaged wood siding panel can be done in a few steps, and here's how:

  1. Insert wood wedges/shims underneath the damaged wood siding panel, tapping in the shims as necessary with a hammer.

  2. With the shims in place, use a handsaw to cut the shim-elevated wood siding panel on each side of the damaged area of such a wood siding panel so as to be able to effectively cut out this damaged piece.  Make sure you cut straight.

Caution:  While sawing, make sure there is a piece of scrap wood underneath the moving blade "teeth" of the handsaw that overextends beyond the damaged wood panel in the normal movement of the handsaw so as to protect the immediate neighboring wood panel that is in good condition from any accidental scratches/marks as a result of the sawing. 

  1. To finish the cutting of the damaged piece of the wood siding panel, add an additional two more shims, this time placing them underneath the wood siding panel that is right above the damaged wood siding panel so as to help cut the remaining top portion of the damaged wood siding panel with a keyhole saw that would otherwise be harder to get to with the neighboring top wood siding panel not uplifted with the two shims.  When using the keyhole saw, it would be best for the teeth blade of such a saw to be pointed outwards towards you.  

  2. When you finish cutting, remove the shims.

  3. Next, you must remove the nails that secure the cut damaged piece of the wood siding panel.  With this in mind, to pry up the nails, do this:  With a piece of scrap wood underneath the pry bar, insert the pry bar underneath the wood siding panel that is directly above the damaged wood siding panel in order to pry up the nails.  Then, with the nails loosened and popped up and within reach of pulling as a result of the prying, remove the pry bar from underneath the wood siding panel and then either use this pry bar or the claw of a hammer to completely pull out the popped-up nails.

For the more difficult nails that are harder to reach and remove, you must make enough room for under-the-panel-cutting of such nails.  To do this, place two shims underneath the wood siding panel that is right above the damaged wood siding panel and then place a plunge-cutting hacksaw in this space created through the insertion of such shims, and use this hacksaw to cut underneath such a panel the difficult nails left intact so as to finally be able to remove the cut damaged piece of the wood siding panel.

  1. If you find that the felt/building paper exposed upon the removal of the damaged wood piece is damaged or otherwise worn out, go ahead and install another layer of this felt/building paper over it before you install the wood board replacement.

  2. With the final nails cut and the cut damaged piece of the wood siding panel removed, cut a replacement wood board to the exact size of the removed damaged piece of the wood siding panel; use a tape measure as is necessary to help successfully cut to size.

  3. Using a rag/cloth or paintbrush as necessary, treat the cut-to-size wood board with wood sealant, particularly around its cut sides, per the sealant manufacturer's instructions.  Allow for it to cure.

  4. Next, take this cut-to-size wood board and insert it into place where the damaged piece of the wood siding panel was removed, using a hammer and a wood scrap piece as a protective buff zone in tapping the wood board in if need be.

While holding the wood board in place, use a power drill, with the appropriate bit, to drill pilot holes in the board that will ultimately be occupied by galvanized nails to secure the board to the underlying wall.

Go ahead and drive in the nails with a hammer in the same nail pattern the neighboring siding is secured to the wall.  Keep this in mind:  Each wood siding panel is nailed secure independently of neighboring wood siding panels, so do not drive a nail through two wood panels when securing this wood board replacement as part of the originally damaged wood siding panel.

  1. Apply the appropriate exterior wood filler putty with a joint knife to cover the nail heads and dimples/holes, as applicable.

  2. With the appropriate caulking tube already cocked in the caulking gun, use the caulking gun to apply caulking where the wood siding meets trims or openings of the house; as may be necessary, use your joint knife to ensure that the caulking is applied as neatly and nicely as possible.

  3. Put a tarp on the floor underneath the newly installed wood board, which will be primed and painted.

  4. Use medium sandpaper to sand the wood board in preparation for painting, as sanding first will help it become more tolerant of the paint, allowing the paint to become better adhered to it.

  5. Wipe up any generated sanded dust with a damp cloth/rag so as to keep the wood board's surface clean of debris.

  6. Using a paintbrush, apply primer on the newly installed wood board, following the primer manufacturer's instructions; allow the prime to cure per the manufacturer's instructions.

  7. Using a paintbrush, apply matching paint on the newly installed wood board, following the paint manufacturer's instructions; allow the paint to cure per the manufacturer's instructions.

That's how to repair a damaged wood siding panel.

Ed the Handyman


Your Handyman Zone Team


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