Justin Fink, Glastonbury, CT
Until recently, I thought everybody installed clapboards using stainless-steel ring-shank nails because of their holding power. Recently, I’ve heard people argue that smooth-shank nails are a better choice because they can be removed more easily to make repairs. Who is right?
Mike Guertin, a builder and remodeler in East Greenwich, R.I., replies:
Why would anyone care about future repairs unless they’re installing poor-quality clapboards to start with? Because clapboards are face-nailed, you can easily pop even ring-shank nails, which is what I recommend.
For repairs, I recommend using a Slate Ripper with the hooks ground razor sharp. Then, if the nails don’t pop out when you need to make a repair, slide the ripper in, hook the nail, and chop it off. Or use a reciprocating saw with a long, sharp blade.