Tell me about buying wooden siding in small batches for repairs
May 22, 2020 10:19 PM   Subscribe

I have a garage where a few wood siding clapboards need replacing. I know the pattern I need, but is it possible to buy in small batches? A lot of lumber yards seem to only have the James Hardie / LP type siding in their stocks

The siding is Bevel Pattern 476 - 1 1/4 inch Rabbeted S1S2E (pattern 476 on this page). I know I can buy it in bulk (minimum buy is around $2500 from online places I’ve seen it), but is is it normal to be able to call a lumber yard and be able to special order something like this in a small volume (like twelve to sixteen 8 foot boards?). Or is there a good US (preferably western states) online place folks recommend?

First time ordering lumber (almost everything I’ve ever needed has come from a big box home store and has been a simple grab and go). I’ll be replacing a few boards on the garage as a trial run for a summer project. If I get competent at it / brave I may try a few on the house as well.
posted by inflatablekiwi to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
Have you asked how much siding you’d get for $2500? It’s probably more than you need, but not orders of magnitude more. I suspect the reason you’re seeing large minimums is that it’s made to order, because demand doesn’t justify keeping a big stack of Pattern 476 redwood siding on hand. You could try calling a lot of small specialty millwork shops in hopes that somebody remembers a little pile of it that was leftover from a job they did in 2006 and now sits in a corner under a quarter inch of fine sawdust, but it’s a long shot. More likely, one of those small shops will be willing to cut a smaller run for you, but the tooling and setup costs could be dismayingly high, and you’d want to order more than you think you need as insurance against having to pay those setup fees a second time. Pay attention to the bit about surface texture, too. The page you link mentions ‘saw textured,’ which may or may not be a decent match for your existing siding.

This is not the sort of product for which you’re going to be able to click [qty:16] [add to cart] [check out]. The economic conditions that once made this stuff common and cheap are long gone.
posted by jon1270 at 2:52 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]

Post on Craigslist, NextDoor or other neighborhood forums, looking for your shingles, be willing to pay a bit over cost, and someone may have a bunch of them in their garage.
posted by theora55 at 4:39 AM on May 23

If this is a common pattern in your area, it may actually be cheaper to reach out to the higher end remodeling contractors in your community- they probably have odds and ends leftover from jobs in their warehouse, and this is the kind of job that can be done by one guy following social distancing guidelines between other jobs.
posted by rockindata at 6:02 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]

DIY isn't everybody's cup of tea but I'll just throw it out as an option:

It says “saw textured”. Does that mean it has a circular saw rough finish and is that important to blend in this your existing clapboard? If not, then you think you might enjoy doing a bit of carpentry? I replaced a several boards on an old garage (the same basic profile as 476) by making up replacements with a couple hand planes. It took just a regular Stanley #4 to do the bevel part and a fancier Veritas rebate plane for the rebate (though you could probably do it with a few passes of an electric router).

It was a similar situation to yours that got me really going on hand tool woodworking in the first place. I wanted to make mouldings to match the other windows in my craftsman era house and was told it would require special cutters and minimum orders. It turned out the profiles and the frame structure were pretty basic once you broke them down into their components, which is kind of the whole ethos behind the craftsman style.

There's a learning curve to sharpening and setting up planes, but it's all available on YouTube in a way that’s unprecedented in human history.
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:06 AM on May 23 [4 favorites]

Thanks all - I’ll probably look around and call around a few places. I had a few small cut off spare boards in the garage from the original owners (home built ~35 years ago) - but they are spares for a reason (splits, knots with holes through the board etc). Luckily one was labeled with the original lumber supplier and the 476 stamp (photos). The lumber mill (PALCO - Pacific Lumber Co) has long since gone out of business / their assets have been bought and sold a few times. I’ll ask around and see if I can find anything in the community / lumber recycling places.

Our siding is painted so I may be able to replace the broken boards with other wood (given unlikely to find redwood) without too many issues (especially for the boards low down in not highly visible.

I could maybe see myself trying to create a few boards myself...but that’s a job for another day :-)
posted by inflatablekiwi at 9:30 AM on May 23

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