Step 21c – Install the Lap Siding
One of the great things about using pre-painted siding is the feeling you get when you finish installing a couple rows and stand back to admire your work. You immediately get to see the finished exterior come to life. I was a little worried about the color because there are 4 other blue houses in my small neighborhood, but the color looks much different than all the others. I was extremely pleased with the selection.
Lap siding is a cinch to install. The first step is to rip a few pieces into 1.25 inch strips. These are used at the base of the wall to angle the first row. Each of the following rows are angled by the row below. There are really only three difficult parts to the installation of the siding, the first of which is getting the bottom layer straight. I used my transit to ensure it was straight and level all the way across each wall.
Once this first level is complete, the rest becomes a cinch with the aid of Gecko siding gauges. These cheap tools perform dual functions of holding the siding while you screw it in and ensuring each row is installed an equal distance from the previous one.
I used # 8 x 1-1/4″ fiber cement board screws to attach the siding to the furring strips. I was a bit leary of the phillips drive, but found that they hardly ever stripped, which was a welcome change from the trim screws. The screws are driven all the way through until the head is flush. The twelve foot long boards are butted together tightly, without gaps. I slipped a square of blue flashing behind each butt joint to direct water in front of the row underneath.
The second difficult part is cutting out holes for windows, pipes, and trim. I paid the price for my elaborate window trim as it was extremely difficult to match up each piece of siding just right. Luckily you do have a little room for error because all of the gaps between the siding and trim will receive a bead of color matched caulk.
The last difficult part comes when you have to start using a ladder. The siding isn’t that heavy, so I was able to wrap my arms around the ladder and hold the board as I climbed up, using my elbows to grip the rails. Once I screwed it in I had to go down the ladder, move the ladder, and back up to screw in the ends.