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    It performs and protects, but most importantly, it preserves.

    RBP23-110 SEO_Blog_Template_Siding_InstallationMasteringtheartofaWorryFreeExterior

    Siding Installation: Mastering the Art of a Worry-Free Exterior

    When it comes to construction projects, siding installation is an essential part of the process that often takes the backseat. But the significance of proper siding installation cannot be overstated. It not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of a building, but also plays a pivotal role in protecting the structure from temperature swings, rainfall, snowfall and the salt-spray in coastal areas of the country.

    In this guide, we’ll examine key components of siding installation, discuss essential techniques to prevent common issues, highlight safety measures and explore the sustainable practices that are transforming the industry.

    Getting Started Right with Siding

    Research and Preparation

    Starting off on the right foot with your siding installation project requires thorough research and preparation. Before diving in, be sure to read the manufacturer’s manual to understand specific requirements for the chosen siding material. Familiarizing yourself with the process beforehand sets the stage for a successful installation.

    Of course you’re going research what siding material you should choose for your house, but consider what’s important for you over time. Durability? Absolutely. Aesthetics? Yes, please. Level of maintenance? Low to zero, please. But if you’re interested in investing in siding that hits all those marks, but is also made from 94% material that would otherwise go in a landfill, you should consider RISE trim and siding for your home.

    Key Components of Siding Installation

    Before You Install, Plan

    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, consider the ever-handy story pole. It’s a tool that will help you anticipate problem areas and figure out workable solutions. Also plan to install a starter strip before installing lap siding.

    Similar principles hold true for vertical siding, such as board and batten or tongue-and-groove, as you want to avoid tiny and errant bits of siding that look off-putting and are difficult to cut. Panel siding should be planned so joints hit studs and avoid narrow pieces at the ends of walls. Also, with vertical siding, most of the expansion is downward, so if you install the siding yourself, leave more space at the lower end for expansion.

    Prepping for Water Management

    Prepping the sheathing for water management is paramount before you embark on a siding installation project. The use of house wrap, flashing and an overall water management strategy are critical to safeguard against moisture infiltration.

    According to RISE, flash as needed to direct all incidental water that gets  behind the siding to drainage points away from the sheathing, preferably to the ground. Incorporate the house-wrap, flashing systems and wall penetrations into a continuous integrated building envelope that protects against liquid water and air penetration into the wall assembly.

    Effective water management, including flashing and house wrap, is vital to prevent moisture infiltration.

    “Flashing is a thin layer of waterproof material that keeps water from getting into places it doesn’t belong,” according to This Old House. “You can count on one thing—water flows unerringly toward the ground. And as it travels, flashing carries it safely over the inevitable crevices, cracks and gaps in the building’s exterior. If it’s going to work, flashing must be installed so no seams face uphill. It’s usually layered with other building materials. The upper edge of flashing, for instance, is protected by house wrap or tarpaper, not installed over it.”

    Proper water management ensures the longevity of the siding and prevents potential damage to the underlying structure.

    Accommodating Wall Openings

    Accommodating windows, doors, outlets and other wall openings is a challenge that demands precise execution. To ensure effective water management, these areas need special attention. Flashing and waterproofing around these openings are crucial to prevent water from seeping in and causing damage. For more information, go here.

    The Art of Proper Gapping

    One of the most common challenges faced by installers, especially newcomers and DIY enthusiasts, is creating proper gapping.

    Each type of siding material type has distinctive ways to join the laps on a wall. Vinyl needs to be overlapped, fiber cement must be lightly butted, most composites are gapped and some sidings have a built in hooking mechanism. To make sure you’re using the gapping that’s best for the type of siding you plan to use, always consult the manufacturer’s installation guide with a focus on proper gapping, such as this one from RISE.

    Precise execution around wall openings and proper gapping are critical to avoid issues like warping.

    Inadequate gaps, or sealing gaps that shouldn’t be sealed, can lead to warping, buckling and compromised insulation.

    As the British say at all subway Tube stops, “Mind the Gap!” Leave the proper amount of space between each piece so moisture that collects behind the siding has an option to escape. It’s the cardinal rule of siding installation: make sure water does not get entrapped behind the siding or trim.

    Trim Details Are Critical

    Install the border trim prior to the siding. Use the trim to create separations at roof lines and product intersections and borders around walls, windows and doors. Flash all openings, penetrations and other areas where water will collect or travel. All horizontal trim must be flashed. Do not caulk or dam water at drainage points.

    It’s not if, but when water does its damage, if you’ve forgotten to trim properly when installing siding.

    Permanent Consequences of Improper Installation

    Installing lap siding incorrectly can lead to permanent deformations, such as buckling, that are irreversible.

    “Homes will show signs of aging in different ways depending on what type of siding they have. Vinyl will experience solar wear, and wood can rot or warp. Older masonite-type composite siding may crack at the edges and start to deteriorate, allowing water in,” according to Angi, formerly home service site Angie’s List. “Signs of damage or aging on vinyl siding will appear in wavy, warped, and uneven spots. While some of these issues can pop up naturally over time, some are the result of improper installation and shifting.”

    Moisture is the enemy of almost all siding—particularly if the siding has been installed incorrectly. The associated rot from moisture in wood siding is widely known, but other damage can go unaddressed if you’re not attentive to it. If mold growth begins, moisture has gained a foothold from excessively wet ground around your exterior and a lack of sunlight on it. Mold isn’t permanent, but it can indicate deeper problems that must be addressed.

    Improper installation shows when cracked caulk is visible at any seams or joints that are crooked. If the siding show signs of holding unevenly and a conspicuous line exists in between two pieces of siding, your siding system could fail. 

    And buckling, warping and ripples in siding can indicate improper installation and growing water damage behind the cladding.

    Precision during installation is key to preventing such issues.

    Hiring Professional Installers

    When to Seek Professional Help

    While DIY projects can be rewarding, siding installation often requires professional expertise. Knowing when to hire a professional installer ensures a seamless and error-free process. (If you’ve unconvinced, consider re-reading the section on consequences of improper installation and follow manufacturer’s instructions, like these from RISE.)

    Knowing when to hire professional installers is important for a seamless and error-free process.

    Questions to Ask Contractors

    When selecting a contractor for your siding installation, ask questions about their experience, previous projects, and their approach to safety and quality.  It’s also a good idea to solicit their opinion on what siding material to select for the job as they tend to have a wider set of real-life experiences with siding.


    Mastering the art of siding installation involves a combination of precision, knowledge, and a commitment to quality. From prepping for water management to ensuring proper gaps, every step contributes to a successful outcome that enhances the aesthetics of your home or business and stands the test of time.


    What are the most common challenges faced during siding installation?

    Siding installation commonly faces challenges such as achieving proper gapping, managing water infiltration, and maintaining consistent reveals.

    Where can I find the manual for my siding?

    The manufacturer’s manual for your specific siding material can usually be obtained from the manufacturer’s website or your supplier.

    How can I ensure proper water management during siding installation?

    Proper water management involves using housewrap, flashing, and meticulous sealing around wall openings to prevent moisture infiltration.

    What should I do to prevent rot in siding materials?

    To prevent rot, ensure proper water management, choose rot-resistant materials, and follow manufacturer guidelines for installation.

    Should I hire a professional installer or do it myself?

    The complexity of siding installation makes professional expertise valuable. Consider hiring a professional for optimal results, especially for larger projects.


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