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Types of Damage Specific to Siding

Click on one of the following siding types to view information and photos on woodpecker damage:

Aluminum/Vinyl Siding | Cedar Clapboards | Composite Wood
Type 111/Grooved Plywood | Resawn Cedar Shakes | Cedar Shakes/Shingles
Board-and-Batten | Tongue-and-Groove


Aluminum/Vinyl Siding
  • Houses with aluminum or vinyl siding are not typically prone to woodpecker damage. However, if the fascia boards of the house are made of wood, they may sustain damage from woodpeckers drumming on the wood in which case there will be very small holes in clusters at specific points on the fascia boards. The fascia boards may also become infested with carpenter bees.
  • If the siding of the house is completely aluminum or vinyl, the primary aggravation may be the sound of a woodpecker drumming on a gutter or chimney. Drumming behavior is probably to establish a territory or attract a mate and will most likely stop once breeding has begun in the spring. Drumming damage is often minimal.
Cedar Clapboards
  • If the house has stained cedar clapboards and is located in a wooded region or woodpecker "hot spot" (an area of high woodpecker population and activity), the house is particularly susceptible to damage, especially if the stain is an earth tone such as brown, dark red, or dark green. There can be a few different types of damage:

    1.   Holes larger then two inches in diameter may be drilled by the woodpecker into the siding, usually between the seam of the two clapboards (Figure 1). Often these holes go through the siding and into the insulation. These are most likely the beginnings of roosting or nesting holes. Smaller, unfinished holes as well as scrapings along the upper board usually surround larger holes.

    2.   Scrapes and holes on the corner siding or corner boards of the house may be due to drumming or nesting/roosting behavior. Such damage is less often a case of foraging for insects.

    3.   Holes in the fascia boards may be either the result of drumming, in which case there are usually very small holes in clusters at specific points on the fascia boards, or the result of woodpeckers foraging for carpenter bee larvae.
  • If the house has painted cedar clapboards, unless the house is in a woodpecker hot spot, there is often no damage to the siding, especially if the house is painted in shades of white, pastels, or other bright colors. Damage to the fascia boards could be the result of woodpeckers drumming, evidenced by very small holes in clusters at specific points on the fascia boards, or the result of woodpeckers foraging for carpenter bee larvae. Damage may be similar to that described for stained cedar clapboards.

    claps

    Figure 1. Woodpecker nesting/roosting attempts on cedar clapboards
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Wood Composite
  • Woodpeckers do not seem to be attracted to this type of siding, so damage is usually minimal. There may be drumming damage, in which case there are very small holes in clusters at specific points on the fascia boards, or carpenter bee damage to the fascia and/or corner boards. Occasionally a woodpecker will try to excavate roosting or nesting cavities into the hardboards. See Figure 2.

    composite

    Figure 2. Woodpecker nesting/roosting attempts into hardwood siding
Type 111/ Grooved Plywood
  • If the house is made of stained plywood that mimics the look of boards backed by battens (also known as Type 111) and if there are woodpeckers in the area, the house is very susceptible to damage. There is less damage when the plywood is painted. (Type 111 is made from sheets of plywood into which vertical grooves are cut.) These grooves expose core gaps in the middle layers of the plywood. The wood may sustain a few different types of damage:

    1. Larger and smaller holes along the corner boards or on the siding of the house, resulting from nesting or roosting attempts, drumming, or insect foraging.
    2. Almost perfectly horizontal rows of small holes across the boards. These holes are the result of woodpeckers foraging for insects, such as the leafcutter bee, which use these gaps as egg-laying chambers. (Figure 3)
    3. Damage to the fascia boards may be the result of drumming, in which case there are very small holes in clusters at specific points on the fascia boards, or it could be carpenter bee damage.

    grooved

    Figure 3. Woodpecker foraging holes in vertically grooved plywood siding
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Resawn Cedar Shakes
  • If the house is made of stained resawn cedar shakes, especially if the stain or paint is an earth tone, it is susceptible to damage, particularly in a woodpecker hot spot. The damage is usually characterized by large and small holes along the corners of the house, between the bottom of one shake and the top of the next (Figure 4). The damage may be clustered around wires, which are used as perches, attached along the house. These holes look as though they could be roosting or nesting attempts. Smaller holes along the corners could be the result of drumming.
  • Holes on the fascia boards could be the result of drumming or woodpeckers foraging for carpenter bees.

    resawn

    Figure 4. Possible roosting/nesting attempts along with drumming damage on cedar shakes
Cedar Shakes/Shingles
  • If the house is made of stained cedar shakes or shingles, the house is particularly susceptible to damage, especially in a woodpecker hot spot. (Painted houses often have damage to a lesser extent than stained houses.) Damage is usually characterized by vertical rows of small holes that follow the crack between two bottom shingles up into the overlapping top shingle (Figure 5). This is the result of woodpeckers foraging for insects such as leafcutter bees, which may use these cracks for egg-laying or shelter.
  • The damage may also be characterized by large and small holes along the corners of the house, between the bottom of one shake and the top of the next (Figure 6). The damage may be clustered around wires, which are used as perches, attached along the house. These holes look as though they could be roosting or nesting attempts.
  • Damage may also be in the form of very small holes along the corners of the house possibly resulting from drumming behavior.
  • Holes on the wood fascia boards may be a result of drumming, evidenced by very small holes in clusters at specific points on the fascia boards, or foraging for carpenter bees.

    shakes

    Figure 5. Damage due to woodpecker foraging for insects on cedar shingles

    shakes

    Figure 6. Possible nesting/roosting excavations on cedar shingles
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Tongue-and-Groove/Board-and-Batten
  • If the house is made of stained tongue-and-groove or board-and-batten cedar siding there may be damage to the house, especially if the house is located in woods or in a woodpecker hot spot. (Damage is often to a lesser extent if the house is sided with painted hardboard.) Large, medium, or small holes at the seams of the boards usually characterize damage to these siding types (Figures 7 and 8). There might also be scrapes between the boards. These holes and scrapes may be the result of roosting and nesting attempts.
  • There may be smaller holes along the corner boards or fascia boards. These may either be the results of drumming behavior, evidenced by very small holes in clusters at specific points along the boards, or the result of searching for carpenter bee larvae.

    cedar

    Figure 7. Nesting/Roosting cavity along with very small drumming
    holes on cedar tongue-and-groove

    cedar

    Figure 8. Nesting/Roosting cavity on stained cedar board-and-batten