Wood & Cedar Siding - History

[the] Following building methods developed in Norway and Sweden, board-&-batten siding was often utilized to protect log structures from weathering. It was used only on squared log structures with dovetailed corner joints, or in Canada, on log piece sur piece buildings such as those constructed by the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC). This siding type was later used for balloon- or western-framed structures. It was applied directly to the structure on ancillary urban buildings and on agricultural structures. On buildings intended for human occupation, a layer of building paper was usually attached to the frame before this siding was attached, or there may have been an additional layer of rough sheathing such as boards or shiplap.

 



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Lap Siding & Bevelled Lap Siding
Among the earliest types of finish siding, lap sidings were usually 1" x 6" or 1" x 8" boards. These were nailed along the top edge so that the nails were concealed by the overlap of the board above. Exposed face-nailing in vertical rows, however, is often evidence that lap siding has been nailed directly to the studs, and the spacing of the studs can thus be determined. The slope of the boards was achieved by blocking out the bottom board and using spacing blocks for the attachment of successive boards. The exposed face and edges were usually planed. Where more sophisticated milling tools were available, the type of bevelled and rabbeted siding shown at the top of the illustration became common.

Rusticated Lap Siding
Meant to replicate the rustic appearance of logs sawn into rough boards, this siding, which was called "Hide-a-Scroll," was actually milled with a slightly chamfered edge. It was very popular in the 1960s.

Drop Siding
This form of milled siding became generally popular all over North America during the nineteenth century. If wider than 6', a face nail was used, as well as a nail concealed in the rabbet, to avoid "cupping" of the board as it seasoned.

Bevelled Lap Siding with V-Groove (V-Joint)
Usually milled from a 1" x 6". Each board was rabbeted on reverse edges at top and bottom, with V-grooves on the face. When attached, the lap protects the board below from water penetration, and the groove defines the joint. An intermediate "false" V-groove was usually milled in the centre of the board (also called "double-bevelled" siding). With time, the boards shrank, and the "false" and real joints became distinguishable as the latter became wider. The example illustrated has a "bead" milled between two V-grooves at each joint. This siding was usually face-nailed.

Sawn Shingles
Sawn shingles were milled with a taper and have always varied in grade and quality. In BC, the wood utilized was first-growth red cedar. Attachment and staggering was done the same way as with shakes. Some of the patterns were:

    • Common Coursing
      The width of the course or "weather" varied with the length of the shingle.
    • Shadow-Line Coursing
      This is achieved by doubling each course, setting the outside shingle below the inside shingle, to create the shadow. This pattern, which was common during the 1920s and 1930s, also often employed shingles milled with vertical grooves.
    • Unequal Coursing
      Commonly associated with the North American Arts and Crafts style, this pattern was achieved by alternating a narrow and a wide course, as illustrated.

Sawn Shingle Patterns & Hand-Split Shakes

Sawn Shingles
These utilize shingles cut at the bottom, either in a semi-circle or a 45-degree V, and could produce fish-scale or diamond patterns, either used independently or combined...

Hand-Split Shakes
Shakes were split by hand from red cedar or spruce blocks with a mallet and froe, and sometimes tapered with a draw-knife. Vertical joints were staggered, and the nails were usually covered by the lap of the next course of shakes. When used on roofs, courses of shakes were often doubled.

 

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