How to Install Tongue and Groove Siding Part 1

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What You'll Need
Protective goggles
Nails (hot-dipped galvanized, aluminum or stainless steel)
Tape measure
Circular saw
Earplugs (for saw usage)
Exterior sealant
Paint or Stain
Chalk and ruler for marking lines
Caulk gun and caulk

Installing tongue and groove siding is an excellent do-it-yourself project to spruce up your home. Siding can be used on sheds, garages, or homes, depending on your time and budget. Tongue and groove siding, in particular, refers to a type of siding that has under and overlapping edges that interlock to form a durable, weather-resistant surface. The siding can be made of many different types of wood, and generally give a rustic, cabin-like appearance to a wall. Below is a simple, comprehensive guide to installing tongue and groove siding from finish to end.

Step 1—Determine the Amount of Siding Needed

Before beginning a siding project, you must first ascertain how much siding you will need to purchase. This will depend on the size of siding you use—so to begin, you must measure the surface area of the walls you intend to cover with siding. Remember, square footage is determined by the calculation: length x height = square feet. Subtract for openings such as windows and doors, but order a little more than you calculated for in order to cover trim and cutting waste. Wood paneling is normally sold by the linear foot rather than a square foot, however, so you must multiply the square foot needed by the factor for lineal feet. Most companies will list such calculations for you, and employees at stores will also be able to assist in determining the accurate amount of siding needed for your project.

Step 2—Prep Wall Surface

Once all the supplies are obtained, siding included, you still aren’t quite ready to begin the installation. You must first make sure that the wall is prepared for a new covering. The surface should be clean, and studs should be marked for stable areas to nail during installation. It is often recommended that building paper be adhered to the wall prior to siding to make it more weather-resistant.

Step 3—Determine Your Style of Installation

The great thing about tongue and groove siding is the variety of options available. It can be applied horizontally, vertically, or even diagonally. The most standard is horizontal installation, working from the bottom up (which will be the choice for the following instructions).

Step 4—Install the First Piece

To install the first piece of siding, line it up with the bottom of the wall against an edge, such as a doorframe. The tongue section of the board should be at the top, with the groove section at the bottom. If the siding is up to 6 inches wide, it can be nailed with one siding nail per bearing, but siding any wider should use two nails per bearing. Nails should penetrate 1-1/4 inch into solid wood behind the siding.

(This is Part 1 of a 3 part series. To move ahead to Part 2, click here.)