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In the past, the North American clapboards were made of split oak, pine and spruce wood. Now, modern clapboards are available in red cedar wood and pine wood.
Often times, Clapboards were traditionally left as raw wood, relying upon good air circulation and the use of ‘semi-hardwoods’ to keep the boards from rotting. These boards eventually go grey as the tannins are washed out from the wood.
More recently clapboard has been tarred or painted—traditionally black or white due to locally occurring minerals or pigments.
In modern clapboard these colors remain popular, but with a hugely wider variety due to chemical pigments and stains.