4 Steps to Install Lap Siding

wood siding
  • 16-40 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 2,000-25,000
What You'll Need
Building paper or roofing felt
Spirit level
Radial-arm saw or a miter saw

If you are looking for a popular and effective method of covering the side of a house, you can go ahead and install lap siding. Sometimes called clapboard or horizontal siding, lap siding is a very good way of covering the side of a house. Panels are beveled, which means that they are wedge-shaped and that the bottom edge is thicker than the top. This allows the top of each panel to be covered by the one above it. In this way, nails can be used to attach the top of each board to the wall without being visible. Alternatively, nails may be positioned at the base of each board and driven through the upper part of boards beneath.

Step 1 - Prepare Boards

Prime boards on all sides prior to installation. In this way, the backs of each board will be protected as well as the fronts after they have been attached.

Step 2 - Prepare the Wall

Walls need to be free of any previous coverings and coated with building paper or roofing felt that’s code approved. The surface of the walls to be covered must be relatively smooth, although siding is versatile in that it can be made to cover surfaces with contours. Fit the paper or felt, being careful to ensure that the entire surface is covered. Wherever possible, it should go beneath any trim that’s present. Flashing that’s self-adhesive and metal flashing should be applied to trim to ensure that water does not get in. There is the option of then installing strips of roofing felt vertically on top of studs. These help you to locate studs at later stages of the installation process and allow you to seal nail shanks to prevent moisture from entering. It’s a good idea to consult professionals in your area, or even the local building department to check the methods they use for optimum results.

Step 3 - Layout

When it comes to layout, first decide how you want boards to look at the place where they meet the eave of the house at the very top. Depending on what you decide, you’ll need to think about installing a trim piece later or else make certain that the boards fit very precisely.

Decide how much of each board you want to be made visible. Classic designs reveal less of each board. Bear in mind that boards need to be measured when applied to ensure uniformity. Mark level lines around the house using a spirit level or a similar tool. Decide on any special features you want to include. You might, for example, decide to have some boards that feature more visibly at the top or the bottom.

Step 4 - Cutting and Attaching

Use a radial-arm saw or a miter saw for this job. Drive nails into sheathing with caution. Remember that for plywood sheathing you are free to drive nails in wherever you wish, but that gypsum, fiberboard and other soft materials are not so versatile. Choose nails according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make use of shanks, and drill pilot holes.