An Introduction to Installing Siding

If you're building or remodeling your home's exterior, you know how important it is to pick the right siding. We'll show you all the options, plus explain how to install them yourself.

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Most types of siding are relatively easy to install. If you own a miter saw, you'll find it easy to make square cuts on most types of horizontal siding. Fastening is seldom difficult; the main challenge is finding the studs to nail to (unless your house has plywood or OSB sheathing). A successful siding job mainly requires careful layout and observance of a few simple guidelines as you work. Our how-tos provide you with all of this information—and more—so you can successfully side your home. We'll help you pick up a few key habits, then introduce a variety of siding options, such as wood, vinyl, and panel.

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Before Installing, Plan Layouts

Lay out the job when applying horizontal siding to avoid odd slivers of material above doors and above or below windows. Siding should progress up the wall with an even exposure, and courses should line up when they meet at a corner. For layout, the story pole is indispensable. It's a tool that will help you anticipate problem areas and figure out workable solutions. Often solving one problem will introduce another, forcing a compromise. Generally you should take the solution that looks best on the most visible side of the house.

Similar principles hold true for vertical siding like board-and-batten or tongue-and-groove—thin bits of siding look bad and are difficult to cut. Panel siding should be planned so joints hit studs and to avoid narrow pieces at the ends of walls.

Allow plenty of time for laying out the job; it will save you problems later on and result in a job that looks great.

Form Good Habits

A hallmark of an amateur siding job is horizontal siding that dips and rises with each course—a sign that someone wasn't checking for level. Similarly, vertical siding must be checked for plumb. It is good to do this not only as you hold the piece in place but also after you've begun applying it. Siding can slip as you apply those first few fasteners.

Sealing the edges of unprimed siding can be awkward—it is no fun reaching for the paintbrush after every cut—but rest assured you are saving yourself headaches down the road.

And drill those pilot holes. You've invested in good material; don't mess it up with cracks and splits.

How to Install Horizontal Wood Lap Siding

If you're going for a classic exterior, look no further than horizontal wood lap siding. This durable choice doesn't require a professional, either. With a little how-to knowledge, any determined homeowner can install wood lap siding themselves. Our thorough tutorial shows you exactly how to get the job done.

How to Install Fiber-Cement Lap Siding

Fiber-cement lap siding provides a natural, wood-like look, and it isn't prone to water, rot, or insect damage. This hardy material comes in 12-foot lengths with a variety of different widths. Installing fiber-cement lap siding is no more difficult to install than wood siding, and we'll walk you through the entire process.

How to Install Tongue-and-Groove Siding

Easy to install, tongue-and-groove siding is a smart choice for many region-specific projects. The siding fits together by means of tongues and grooves (hence the name) that over- and underlap one another. However, the overlap provides less protection from the elements than other types of siding, so make sure tongue-and-groove is suitable for your region before getting started.

How to Install Vinyl Siding

Compared to other sidings, vinyl is one of the easiest to install. It cuts easily, can be put up quickly, and requires no painting. Though the installation process is simple, prepping for the job requires more effort. Our expert guide gives you all the info you need to install vinyl siding on your home.

How to Install Siding Shingles

Amp up curb appeal with shingles on the front and sides of your home. This textured, rustic look will set your home apart from the neighbors. Plus, with three layers of shingles, your home will receive optimal protection from the elements. Learn how to prep your home and install siding shingles with our how-to.

How to Install Shingle Panels

Shingle panels are shingles attached to a piece of plywood or backerboard and then installed. Installing the panels takes roughly a day, depending on the size of your house, but the end result will last for years. Installation is easy, and we'll show you how to do it in just four steps.

How to Install Panel Siding

Need a budget-friendly siding option? Panel siding is perfect for smaller structures like a shed, but can also be used to side a home. The trick is to be extra careful when installing, and to choose your panels and fasteners carefully. Our how-to shows you the entire 21-step process.

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