How to Install 4x8 Plywood Sheets

What You'll Need
Chalk line
Line level
Carpenters square
Tape measure
6-foot step ladder

Typical 4x8 plywood sheeting can be used for a variety of applications. Many of them are related to construction. One of the most common applications is installing them as siding, because plywood is less expensive than other materials, easy to install, and of uniform size that will consistently fit stud spacing. But as simple as it is to install, there are specific things you will want to know about installing it. You will find some of these things in the information below.

Step 1 – Determine Your Plywood Sheet Thickness

In using your plywood for siding you can use sheets with 4 inch grooved stud spacing or spacing that is 8 inches. If your siding studs are spaced 16 inches, you will be better off using 3/8 inch plywood. For 24-inch stud spacing, use 1/2 inch sheets. Exposed edges are another consideration. If your sheet edges are going to be exposed to weather, you'll need them to be trimmed.

Step 2 – Arrange for a Helper

Plywood panels, even those that are only 1/2 inch thick are too heavy and too awkward for one man to maneuver, especially since you'll need to be shifting them in small degrees for a better fit. So, get yourself a helper who can help you hoist the sheets into place and move those that you will need to shift.

Step 3 - Create a Bottom Edge Guide

To create straight and level siding it is important that your bottom panel be level. Use a line level to level your chalk line, then snap a line on all four sides of your building where you'll be installing your the bottom edge of your bottom panel.

Step 4 – Fit Your First Panel

Begin at one corner of your building. With help from your helper, position the first sheet vertically at the corner, with the bottom edge aligned with your chalk line. Check to be sure both side edges of the panel are on center with a stud and that the panel is plumbed. While the panel is held in place by your helper, use your pencil and mark the top edge of the panel to identify where it will need to be notched to fit around the rafters. Leave an extra 1/8 inch on each side of the notch to allow you to adjust the rafter cut-outs to fit the rafters. If the panel is too long, cut a strip off its bottom edge.

Step 5 – Attach the Panels

Nail the first panel in place, using galvanized nails so your wood won't become stained by rusting nails. Be sure the nails are long enough to penetrate a minimum of 1 ½ inches into the studs. Space the nails 6 inches apart on the panel edges and 12 inches on inside studs. When you add additional panels, leave a 1/8 inch gap between panels to allow for expansion and swelling. Attach the rest of your panels, using this same procedure, except where you need to cut openings for doors and windows.