Step-By-Step Wood Siding Installation

What You'll Need
Wood siding
Corner boards
Circular saw
Measuring square
Siding nails

Wood siding is a type of exterior finish material that adds an authentic quality to new home construction and is easy to install. Siding is available in wood, aluminum, clapboard and synthetic or composite materials. Among the wood types, unfinished red cedar and cypress are favorites for residential applications. This article will tell you all you need to know about installing wood siding in 4 easy steps.

Siding is applied in overlapping horizontal boards ranging from 4 to 12 inches in width including an overlap of ½ to 2 inches. There are many types of horizontal joints through which siding is fastened to the wall frame including a plain bevel, a rabbeted bevel, a V shiplap, a cove shiplap and tongue and groove.

Step 1 - Before the Siding is Installed

Take a layer of plywood sheathing covered with felt building paper and install it onto the exterior surface of a your house's wood frame. The felt paper acts as a water and air barrier, but allows water vapor to pass through so as not to accumulate in the wall assembly.

Step 2 - Cutting Wood Siding

Use a circular saw to cut the siding boards to length, making sure that each joint falls on a stud. Use a measuring square to ensure that each board is cut exactly square. Otherwise, uneven gaps will appear at the joints on the finished wall. Cut slowly to guard against splintered or jagged edges. If possible, install the siding so that the joints align vertically in alternating courses.

Step 3 - Installing Wood Siding

The siding is installed from the bottom up and typically requires scaffolding to complete even a one story structure. The lowest siding board is installed onto the bottom of the plywood sheathing so that it projects about an inch below the top of the foundation wall. Siding is nailed into each wood stud through the bottom of the upper board and through the beveled edge of the lower board.

Step 4 – Border and Edge Treatment

The topmost siding board is “ripped” along its length (its width is shortened) so that it butts up against the soffit. The ripped edge is often covered with a frieze board nailed through the siding and sheathing and into the wood studs. Siding installed onto gable ends is cut at the angle of the roof pitch where the wall meets the rake or the fascia. For accuracy, measure the dimensions of each board when making angled cuts. Do this by measuring along the bottom edge of the board to the long point, and along the top edge to the short point. Vertical corner boards are generally installed before the wood siding so that the siding butts snugly against its edge. The siding is fitted against door and window casings in the same way. If corner boards are not used, the siding boards of adjacent walls extend to meet in a mitered joint at the corner.