Wood Siding: Installation, Repair and Painting

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(Last Updated On: February 22, 2017)
Wood siding
Wood siding in your home

Wood siding is a kind of exterior material which adds aesthetic appeal to a new home construction. Another benefit is that wood siding is very easy to install. There are plenty of options in siding like aluminum, metal, wood, cedar, clap board, synthetic or any composite material but among all wood siding option is the best one to opt for. When you are searching for wood siding options for home then cypress and red cedar are best suited. Wood siding textures are limitless and it looks truly amazing. You can also go for installation of wood siding shingles. On one side when wood has such beautiful looks, other side you also have to think about the price. Wood siding cost is bit expensive and so is wood siding repair. Thus, check whether you can afford it or not. If you want to cut on cost then you go for DIY (do-it-yourself) wood siding installation and save yourself some bucks. Here is a step wise method for wood siding installation which can help you save some bucks.

Wood siding installation process

  • Collect all the materials and make a plan

Wood siding installation at your home
Installing wood siding

Use hammer and a crowbar very carefully and start removing the section of your existing cladding to check what is behind your old material. Look carefully at the insulation, plywood sheathing and vapor barrier. If none of these are present then you probably have to buy all these materials when you pick all your wood siding products for getting started. If your wood siding products are too much and you don’t have a truck then you all these things can be delivered at your home just for little fees. Then measure the height and width of your walls where you want to install your siding. Multiply all those numbers together for getting the square footage of your job. Don’t forget to deduct the footage of doors and walls from the overall square footage of the job. This will give you the exact square footage of siding which you need to buy from the market.

  • Remove existing cladding

For wood siding installation, first of all you need to remove whole of existing cladding. You can use a crowbar or a hammer for removing all the exterior things from the house.

  • Check the walls for damage

Checking for damage is a very important step in wood siding installation. If the wall is damaged then your wood siding will not adhere properly and in short time only you will be in need of wood siding repair. Once you are done with the removal of old materials, you must see for moisture barrier on the top of the house sheathing. Remove the old moisture barrier along with the old nails and also remove old siding materials if there is any. Check whether there is any damaged plywood or sheathing. If you find any then replace it with the new one. When you remove any plywood then don’t forget to check the insulation behind it. If that is also damaged then replace it with a new insulation.

  • Install moisture barrier

Once you are done with replacement of damaged plywood sheathing or insulation, it’s time to install new moisture barrier. This is very important step in wood siding installation. Roll out the tar paper or moisture barrier on the ground and cut it down in the right length by using a utility knife. Then secure it with the plywood by using two wood siding nails. Ensure that you start it from the bottom of the wall and work you’re the way to the upside of the wall. Try and overlap the moisture barrier couple of inches each and every time. This will help to keep the water and wind out of the wall and prevent your wood siding from cavities.

  • Cut starter plank

A starter plank must be cut of appropriate size so that you can have a clean outward facing edge. For doing so, you need to mark one tongue and also the groove exterior plank to the required length and run it along the table saw with its groove facing towards the blade. Once the groove is cut from the plank, a smooth and clean edge is created and it will give a really nice finished look.  You can also prime the back of the planks for adding another level of moisture protection.

  • Install starter plank

Use a carpenters pencil and mark at a 6 inch level. Draw a straight vertical line directly through the exterior surface where outer edge of the starter plank will actually sit. Hold your starter plank up to the level line and secure it in the plywood backing by using a nail gun and 2 stainless steel nails.

  • Cut and attach vertical planks

vertical planks installation
Installation of vertical planks

First measure then mark and then cut each tongue and groove exterior plank to the exact size based upon the pitch of the roof and also the bottom edge of the wall. After that fit the groove edges into edges of tongue and then secure it into the plywood backing and to another by using nail gun to fit in the stainless steel nails. When you are nailing, nail into the blind part of the tongue and so you will not see the nail head once the next board has been installed. It is recommended that you should a power nailer or even a stapler, if it’s a soft wood siding installation. It is important as it should not split during the wood siding installing process. This will also save your time while wood siding installation and give your home a much cleaner look. Cut the plank to the bottom level for minimizing the water wicking up in the boards and also in the house.

  • Install around windows and doors

When the vertical planks come in contact with windows and doors, cut every single plank in a size for proper fit on the top of the flashing. Continue doing this installation from left to right. Secure all the planks in their own place by using the same method as you used above.

  • Wrap edges

For getting a clean and finished look, don’t forget to miter the edges of boards which will meet at the corner of the house. Fit all the planks together and attach them by using the method as you used above for other planks.

  • Add trim

First of all measure, then mark and then cut them into 1*2 wood trims to size by using a table saw. After that place them along the surface of the exterior of the home and then secure them in place with stainless steel nails and a nail gun. For giving a clean and finished look, you will have to fill the nail holes with wood filler even before you decide to apply your sealer.

  • Caulk, stain and seal

Wipe the surface of wood with a damp cloth and then allow it to dry. After that, caulk at the point where the vertical blinds meet up the brick. After that apply sealant and stain by using a rag or a staining pad.

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Now, your home is ready with a gorgeous looking wood siding. Wood is durable material for siding and it last long but it doesn’t mean it will last for the life time. After some years have passed, there will definitely emerge a need of wood siding repair. If your wood siding is old and it looks dull, you must consider wood siding repair. If you are a handy person and comfortable using normal tools then you must consider wood siding repair yourself instead of opting for a professional and paying him some extra bucks. Here is an easy and simple stepwise method for wood siding repair.

Wood siding repair

  • Expose the board

wood siding repair
repairing wood siding

First of all, you should drive the small wedges of scrap wood under the damaged board. Now wedge a scrap board piece into the gap for protecting the board below the one which are repairing from the saw. Take a backsaw and cut through the exposed portion of the siding on every single side of the damaged area. If you are repairing overlapping wood siding, then you might have to work from top of the wall to the bottom of the wall.

  • Complete the cut

Make use of two wedges and then raise the siding which is overlapping the damaged section. Reach to the under part of the overlapping board by using a keyhole saw for finishing the cut. Make sure to hold the saw with pointed out blades teeth. Now remove the wedges.

  • Take out exposed nails

Pry the damaged board by using pry bar or pinch by resting on a piece of scrap board. After that remove the scrap board again by making use of pinch or pry bar and tap the cladding gently back down and leave the nails from old board exposed. Pry the nails out.

  • Remove hidden nails

Insert two wedges under the board which is overlapping the damaged board and then slip a hawk saw blade in between the boards and then cut it through any of the hidden nails. Remove the damaged sections of the wood siding. Then cut the replacement board and then drill the necessary nail holes. Make sure to treat sawn edges of new board with preservative.

  • Replace the board

While you are replacing overlapping wood siding, make sure to work from the bottom to the upwards of the walls. Drive the new board into the place by using a scrap block of wood and also use a hammer. Secure that with the nails for matching up with the surrounding wood siding. Put the nail holes and also apply a gap sealant in between the seams in between the old and new wood siding. The last step is to prime and paint your wood siding to finish up the job.

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If your wood siding is damaged then repair is the step you need to take but if it is just looking old and unattractive then one of the easiest way to bring back the charm of your wood siding is to paint it. Wood siding looks aesthetically appealing only when it is well maintained. When time and elements gets the upper hand then wood siding loses its charm. A paint job will increase the beauty of your wood siding and will also save you high costs of extensive repairs. Here is a DIY (do-it-yourself) method for wood siding paint.

Wood siding painting

  • Evaluate

painting wood siding
Man painting wood siding

Check out the overall surface of your home and look for the issues like open seams or joints, peeling paint, mildew and wet or rotted wood. You must check this issues and resolve them before you even pick up the job of paint. Flaking of paint will occur if the moisture gets collected under the painted surface. Moisture will enter into the wood siding through the unpainted side, and then it gets absorbed and then dries. This will cause swelling and shrinking of the wood on repeated basis. This makes the wood pull away from the wooden surface and it will leave cracks and peeling. Find the sources of moisture by checking its areas of leakage from the eaves and gutters of the home. If this flaking point is near your kitchen or bathroom, the pipes might leak or sweat and the excess heat can cause the condensation. Use a ladder for getting close look at certain areas. You can also use binoculars to see the condition of your wood siding from the ground. Follow the ladder safety procedures while working on it. Take care of the bee and wasp nests when you are working on the ladder. Be extremely careful when you are working around overhead electrical wires that too when moving ladders around or painting around service lines attached to the home. Follow directions properly given on the chemicals, paints or cleaners.

  • Remove loose paint

Cover your ground with damp clothes to catch the paint chips. Remove all the flaking and peeling paint by using a scraper and then sand the surface. You can purchase or rent a disc sander of 60, 80 and 120 grit sanding disc. For limited areas, you can make use of random orbit sander, disc sander drill attachment or hand sander. Start sanding with a coarse abrasive and then finish it with a fine one. Pay special focus on smoothing the edges in between scraped areas and painted areas. This is known as feathering. Paint will look more prominent and it will hide any edges and ridges you leave. If you sand, scrape or remove old paint, you might release lead dust and it is a toxic element. Lead dust exposure can cause serious illness specifically in children’s. Pregnant women should also try to avoid such exposure. Clean all the paint properly vacuum and a wet mop. Either sharpen or replace paint scraper blade often. A dull blade will not only make your work tougher and increase the chances of damaging your wood. A dull blade will need more pressure and you will have less control. When you are using the disc sander, make sure to keep it moving constantly. This will reduce the chances of heat caused by the friction which will make the paint soft and also gum up the paper. Don’t forget to wear tight fitting dust mask and eye protection when sanding or scraping painted wood.

  • Prepare and prime the wood

If there are any small issues then fix it with exterior spackling compound. For large problem areas, make use of two part polyester resin filler to repair any of the holes or damaged wood. Mix the fillers as per the directions and apply it with a plastic squeegee. Use a hand sander to sand the cured filler and make it smooth and level it with the surrounding wood. Paint generally tend to flake or peel near the joints in between dissimilar materials like trim and siding, glass and window frames. These are the spots where water seeps into the cracks and soaks in the wood and cause the paint to peel. Take an old screwdriver or any similar tool for scraping out any failed caulk from the cracks and joints. After that, use stiff brush for cleaning the joint. Allow any of the moisture to dry totally before applying any exterior paintable caulk with a caulking gun. Power washer can also be considered very helpful for removing loose paint. If you are using it in early preparation stages, then you will have to use it. After that also you need to wash the sanding dust at this stage. Clean and wash the surface of your wood siding properly before you start to paint. Either rent or purchase pressure washer to deeply clean the exterior of your home. If there is any sign of mildew then you will have to remove it first by washing the surface with a mixture of trisodium phosphate and bleach and scrub it with a stiff brush. You should wash it from the bottom to the top. This method will avoid staining on your wood siding. Let the surface dry for minimum two to three days before painting. TSP is very much corrosive and hence take extra care while working with it. Follow every single manufacturer’s instruction carefully and don’t forget to wear protective clothing. Remove all the light fixtures and any other hardware with a screwdriver for avoiding any paint around them. Store all this hardware in your garage for temporary base and save them from getting dirty by paint. Don’t mask till the last minute and remove the masking tape just after you complete painting an area.

  • Paint

Apply paint to your wood siding with roller, brush or spray applicator. Before paint, you must apply primer to the surface so that paint adheres properly to your siding. Start from the top and work downwards. First do the housework and then start to trim. Follow all the manufacturers’ instruction relating to weather, damp surfaces and temperature. If it is possible avoid painting your wood siding in direct sunlight. It is true that rough surfaces absorb more paint as compared to smoother ones but ensure that you are applying it in even manner. Apply paint so it covers the area described on the paint container label. Try and avoid lap marks on the exterior siding and for that paint each section evenly so it also dries evenly. You will have to move the ladder more often while painting on the higher sections. Start working on the boards which have already started just as you finish adjusting the ladder.

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Wood is a beautiful material for your siding but a costly one. If you have decided to go for it and want some cost cutting then you can try DIY methods for wood siding installation, wood siding repair and wood siding painting which are discussed above.

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