How to Install Cedar Shake Siding Part 1

What You'll Need
Table, skill or chop saw
Tape measure
Carpenters square
Chalk marking tools
# 1 wood shingles
Standard cedar shakes, 18 inches wide
Shake ridges
Nail gun
2.5 inch nail gun nails

Why would homeowners want to know how to install cedar shake siding? Aside from adding elegance and old world charm to a home, cedar shake siding is very attractive. It adds both warmth and authenticity to individual homes. The cost may be slightly more expensive than much of the traditional siding on the market today, but its beauty will far outweigh the higher cost.

(This is Part 1 of a 2 part series. To move ahead to Part 2, click here.)

Step 1, Inspect Existing Siding

Leaving existing siding on a home while adding cedar shake siding will provide greater climatic and noise insulation, however, existing siding should be closely inspected for wear. Check existing siding for bumps or uneven surfaces. These must be smoothed out before adding new siding.

Check to see that there is insulation under the existing siding. If a home does not have insulation, this would be a great time to remove old siding, insulate a home and add new siding.

Step 2, Measure Twice, Cut Once

As with almost all home projects requiring measuring and cutting, be sure to plan, measure and cut carefully to avoid unnecessary waste and to insure that the finished pieces will fit together accurately and tightly.

Have scrap wood handy as it may be necessary to make sacrificial cuts to insure that siding will fit precisely. Once the sacrificial pieces have been determined to fit well, use them as models for the final cuts of the actual cedar shake siding.

Step 3, Begin at the Bottom

Starting at the bottom of a wall, place the row of the starter strip of the #1 wood shingles in place. This will be the initial point of reference and will determine the placement of the rest of the shingles. Using the nail gun, attach this starter row securely to the existing siding and through the framing 2x4s of the wall structure.

Next, using a tape measure, level and the chalk box, snap a straight line across this bottom row of wood shingles. Using the nail gun, drive a single nail at one end of a cedar shake piece of siding, and then carefully align it along the snap line, attaching another nail at the opposite end. Go back and nail subsequent nails along the top edge of this cedar shake siding piece.

Step 4, Choices of Design

After the first row of cedar shake shingles has been firmly placed on the wall, the design choice can be made. Shingles can be made to run in even rows or produce a staggered effect. To keep the cedar shakes even, align the bottoms of each shingle flush. If a staggered effect is desired, lower the bottom the shingles to differing levels. This will make more sense as it is seen on the actual wall when mounting the cedar shake siding.

Step 5, Repeat the Process

Progressing up the side of the wall to the roof, repeat the process of measuring, leveling and snapping a chalk line to install the remaining cedar shake siding.