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How to Install Cedar Siding: Your Guide to Installing Cedar Siding the Right Way

Updated: Mar 22


installing cedar siding

Cedar siding offers the perfect balance of durability and beauty, making it a preferred choice for homeowners looking to add both character and value to their properties.


However, while its aesthetic appeal is widely acknowledged, the cedar siding installation process can often seem daunting. While most individuals choose to leave this to the professionals, maybe you’ve decided to tackle the DIY project yourself.


The key to installing cedar siding successfully lies in understanding the materials, the tools, and the steps involved. Proper installation ensures that the siding not only looks its best but also stands up to the elements for years to come.


With this guide on how to install cedar siding, you can approach this task with confidence and avoid common pitfalls. We’ll walk you through the process step-by-step below. First things first - is installing cedar siding hard?


Quality Cedar Products can meet all your cedar board needs. This blog is informational only and not a replacement for expert advice. Please consult a professional before starting any building project as your needs and specifications may vary and it may not reflect the most current building codes, regulations, or industry standards.


Is Cedar Siding Easy to Install? Common Challenges of Cedar Siding Installation

Cedar siding, with its rich grains and natural hues, offers an undeniably beautiful facade to any home. But is cedar siding easy to install?


With the right knowledge and a little preparation, it certainly can be. Nevertheless, we want to help you set your expectations and talk about a few challenges you may face along the way.


Improper Nail Usage: The Risk of Splits and Cracks

Using improper nails is one of the most frequent mistakes when installing cedar siding. Cedar is a relatively softwood, which means using the wrong type of nail or incorrect nailing techniques can lead to splits and cracks.


It's essential to use stainless steel or hot-dipped galvanized nails which are designed specifically for cedar to ensure a tight fit without damaging the wood.


The nail placement is equally important: too close to the edge or driven in too deeply can compromise the wood's integrity. Don’t stress about it, though - we’ll cover all this and more in our guide to cedar siding installation!


Incorrect Overlapping: Ensuring Proper Water Drainage

Cedar siding must be overlapped correctly to prevent water intrusion, which can lead to mold, rot, and structural issues.


Many DIYers neglect this in an attempt to conserve material or hasten the process. This mistake can cause water to seep into the seams, bypassing the siding's natural water-resistant properties.


It's crucial to follow overlapping guidelines to a tee, ensuring that rainwater flows over the siding and away from the home's interior. After all, part of the appeal of cedar siding is durability - why would you want to compromise that?


Battling With Natural Elements: Weather, Insects, and More

While cedar has inherent properties that make it resistant to pests and decay, it's still vital to be vigilant. Cedar siding can be prone to moisture-related issues in areas with high humidity or frequent rain.


This begs the question - does cedar siding need to be treated? It’s not an absolute necessity like overlapping your siding is, but it may be beneficial nonetheless. Pre-treating the cedar with a sealant can help repel water and minimize the risks of insect infestation.

Furthermore, a pest-resistant finish or treatment might be necessary in regions known for wood-boring insects. We’ll offer insights into how to care for cedar siding to prevent the elements from causing problems later on.


All of This Can Be Avoided by Following Our Advice on How to Install Cedar Siding!

The challenges of cedar siding installation can be mitigated with a bit of research and a careful, thoughtful application process. And you’ve already set yourself up for success by finding our guide on how to install cedar siding!


So, take a deep breath and let’s walk through the cedar siding installation process so you can feel confident in your next steps.


How to Install Cedar Siding: Step-by-Step Guide to Cedar Siding Installation

Proper technique, paired with quality materials, can result in a stunning cedar facade that not only beautifies your home but stands the test of time. So, let’s get into the process of installing cedar siding below.


Removing the Old Siding: A Crucial Step Before Installing Cedar

If you’re building a new house from scratch or already have your old siding removed you can skip ahead to the next step. But if you came here to learn how to replace cedar siding, this is a pivotal first step:

  • Safety First: Ensure you're wearing protective gloves, safety goggles, and a dust mask. Depending on the type of old siding, there could be sharp edges, old nails, or dust and debris.

  • Inspect for Asbestos: There's a chance the old siding or insulation contains asbestos if your home was built before the 1980s. It's crucial to have it tested before removing it as you’ll need to hire professionals if asbestos is present.

  • Start at the Top: Begin removing the old siding from the top of the house, working your way downwards. This method allows the siding to come off more easily, often in larger sections.

  • Dispose of Old Siding Properly: Depending on the material of your old siding, there may be specific disposal methods or locations. Check with your local regulations to ensure you're disposing of the material correctly.

  • Inspect for Damage: With the old siding removed, now's the perfect time to inspect the exterior of your home for damage. As mentioned earlier, check for signs of rot, damage, or any other issues that need addressing before installing the new cedar siding.


Preparing Your Surface: Ensuring a Clean and Level Base

Preparing your home's exterior is crucial before diving into the installation of cedar siding. A well-prepared surface is the foundation of a successful siding project, and missing this step could result in uneven siding, water leakage, or premature wear.

  • Inspect and Repair: Begin by examining your home's exterior. Look for any signs of damage, rot, or old nails that could interfere with the new siding. It's essential to repair any damaged areas to ensure a solid base for your cedar siding. Replacing rotted sheathing or patching holes ensures your siding will lie flat and secure.

  • Clean the Surface: Remove any dirt, mold, or mildew from the surface. A pressure washer can be useful for this step, but be careful not to damage the underlying material. Clean surfaces ensure that any water-resistant barriers you install will adhere properly.

  • Install a Water-Resistant Barrier: Even though cedar is naturally resistant to moisture, a water-resistant barrier like house wrap provides an extra layer of protection. This barrier prevents any water that gets past the siding from reaching the structure of your home. Make sure to overlap the seams by at least 6 inches and tape them securely.

  • Level the Surface: Consider using furring strips if your exterior wall has any noticeable bumps or dips. These thin wooden strips can help create a level surface for your cedar siding, ensuring that each board lies flat against the house.

  • Mark Your Studs: Knowing where your home's studs are will make it easier to nail your siding securely. Using a chalk line or painter's tape, mark vertical lines indicating each stud's location. This ensures every nail goes into solid wood, providing the best hold for your cedar siding.


Step 1: Starting with the Starter Strip

The starter strip is an essential component that ensures your first board is level and serves as the base for the rest of the installation.


Choose a straight, knot-free strip, and secure it horizontally at the base of the wall. Use a level to ensure it's perfectly straight as any deviation here can result in crooked siding throughout.


This strip should be placed where the bottom of your first board will rest, ensuring the cedar siding gets the required ground clearance, typically a minimum of 6 inches from the soil level.


Step 2: Installing the First Board

It's time to hang the first cedar board with the starter strip as your guide. Position the board so it rests snugly on the strip, ensuring it sits straight.


Using the appropriate nails (remember, stainless steel or hot-dipped galvanized), secure the board at regular intervals, being careful not to nail too close to the edges.


Keep the nails about 1 inch from the top of the board to provide space for the next overlapping board, ensuring that each nail goes into a solid backing like a stud.


Step 3: Working Your Way Up: Overlapping Techniques

Overlapping becomes essential as you progress vertically to maintain water resistance and achieve that classic cedar siding look.


Each subsequent board should overlap the one below by at least 1 inch. This overlapping diverts water away from the structure, utilizing cedar's natural water-resistant properties.


Always ensure the nails of the new board are positioned above the overlap to remain hidden and to secure both boards effectively.


Step 4: Cutting and Fitting Around Windows, Doors, and Corners

Crafting cedar siding around architectural details is where precision becomes paramount. A misstep can compromise both the aesthetic and function of your siding.


Always measure twice before cutting your boards for placement near windows and doors to ensure a seamless fit. Using a fine-toothed saw can help you achieve cleaner cuts.


A jigsaw may be handy for tight spaces. Leave a slight gap around windows and doors to account for wood expansion during humid conditions.


You’ll also have to navigate the challenges of corners. There are two popular methods - mitered and butt joints. Mitered joints offer a sleek appearance, while butt joints are simpler and just as effective. Remember, the key is ensuring a tight fit while allowing for natural wood movement.


Step 5: The Importance of Proper Nailing

We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again - you cannot overlook the importance of proper nailing. You already know that you need to use stainless steel or hot-dipped galvanized nails to prevent rusting. But, we also need to talk nail placement.


Place nails about 1 inch from the edge of the board and ensure they penetrate at least 1 inch into the studs or sheathing. Always nail into the studs, never just the sheathing.


Be careful to avoid overnailing. Driving the nail too deep can crush the wood fibers, reducing the cedar's ability to hold the nail securely. The nail head should sit just above the wood's surface.


Step 6: Applying Finishes: Stains, Paints, and Sealers

At this point, the hard work is done. If you love the rustic beauty of natural cedar you can call it a day and bask in the stunning appearance of your siding.


Otherwise, it’s now time to apply finishes - not required, but certainly beneficial for extending the life of your siding. There are three choices here:

  • Stains: These enhance the natural beauty of cedar. Use a semi-transparent stain to let the grain show or a solid stain for a more uniform appearance.

  • Paints: If you prefer paint, start with a high-quality primer formulated for cedar. Then, apply an acrylic latex paint for best results.

  • Sealers: A clear sealer helps lock in the wood's natural beauty while offering protection against moisture and UV rays.

You can learn how to prep cedar siding for paint and gain tips on painting cedar siding in our blog. But before we draw this guide on cedar siding installation to a close, let’s talk about maintenance.


Maintenance Tips: Keeping Your Cedar Siding Looking Fresh and Durable

Is cedar siding hard to maintain? Not at all, actually. It doesn’t require much maintenance. But, there are a few things you can do to keep it looking stunning for as long as possible while protecting your hard work:

  • Regular Cleaning: Gently wash your siding annually with a mix of mild detergent and water to remove dirt and mildew. Avoid pressure washing cedar siding as this can damage the wood's surface. Learn more about how to clean cedar siding in our blog.

  • Reapply Finishes: Reapply stains, paints, or sealers every 3-5 years depending on your climate and the product used.

  • Check for Damage: At least once a year, inspect your siding for any signs of damage, rot, or insect infestation. Catching problems early can save you money and prolong the life of your siding.

There you have it - everything you need to know about how to install cedar siding and keep it looking pristine long after the cedar installation project is complete.


But, installing cedar siding starts with quality materials. And that’s exactly what we offer at Quality Cedar Products.


Installing Cedar Siding Starts With Quality Materials - Get Yours at Quality Cedar Products!

Your cedar siding project's success hinges on the quality of materials you use. Why compromise? At Quality Cedar Products, we understand the essence of perfection and seek to attain it as the most trusted cedar supplier around.


Each cedar siding plank we offer is meticulously sourced, ensuring optimal grain quality, durability, and aesthetic appeal. We grade these by hand ourselves to ensure they’re up to our standards. And if not, we don’t send them to your site - it’s really that simple.


We stand behind our products with a satisfaction guarantee, too, so you can rest assured you’re going to get the quality you deserve. If not? Just let us know what the issue is and we’ll make it right, even if that means turning our delivery vehicle around after you inspect the lumber. YOu won’t pay a cent.


Our commitment isn't just to sell cedar - it's about partnering with you on a journey to beautify your home, or helping you get your clients the results they deserve as a contractor.


We pride ourselves on providing cedar that's resistant to warping, rotting, and insects. With Quality Cedar Products, you're not just getting wood - you're investing in years of unmatched exterior elegance.


You can expect the same commitment to quality across our cedar deck boards, cedar soffit, cedar fence boards, and everything else we have to offer. So, what are you waiting for? If you don’t have your materials sourced yet, request a quote today so you can start off on the right foot when installing cedar siding.


Bringing Our Conversation on Installing Cedar Siding to a Close

From the intricacies of preparing your surface to the final touches of maintenance, installing cedar siding is both an art and a science. And now that you know how to install cedar siding you can feel confident getting this project underway.


We've journeyed through the essential steps, underscoring the pivotal role that quality materials play in achieving a flawless finish. Remember, with the right cedar, your home isn't just protected - it's transformed.


Learn more about cedar siding in our blog where we have resources on the cedar siding cost, cedar vs pine siding, is cedar siding a good insulator, how long does cedar siding last, and a whole lot more.


At Quality Cedar Products, our mission goes beyond selling cedar. We aim to be your partners in creating timeless exteriors. If you're poised to embark on this transformative journey, don't settle for anything less than the best.


Request a quote today and set yourself up for success in your cedar siding installation project!


G&B Wholesale Lumber Incorporated does not assume any liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the information provided in this blog post. The reader is solely responsible for any actions taken based on the information presented. Any reliance on the information is at the reader's own risk.

G&B Wholesale Lumber Incorporated is not responsible for any loss, injury, or damage that may occur as a result of following the suggestions, tips, or recommendations provided in this blog post. Building projects involve inherent risks, and it is essential to exercise caution, obtain proper permits, and engage qualified professionals to ensure safety and compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. The inclusion of external links, references, or recommendations in this blog post does not constitute endorsement or guarantee the quality, reliability, or suitability of the linked sources. The reader should independently verify the information and assess its relevance to their specific circumstances. The author reserves the right to modify, update, or remove the content of this blog post at any time without prior notice. It is recommended to check for the most recent updates or consult with professionals to ensure the information is current and applicable. By reading this blog post, the reader acknowledges and accepts the above disclaimer and agrees to use the information provided responsibly and at their own discretion.

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