Residing your home can be an exciting process whether you hire someone to do the work for your, or you do it yourself. If you’re doing the installation, or just trying to cut costs by doing some of the prep, make sure you that you’re ready for your new fiber cement siding.
Taking the time to prep can mean the difference between a successful installation that lasts for years, and one that’s filled with issues. Thankfully, fiber cement doesn’t require a lot of additional planning or work; just a few simple steps at the beginning of the installation that will help it turn out to be a success.
1. Prepare the Walls
This may sound obvious, but your first step to siding installation, should be to prepare the walls for receiving the new siding. Start by removing your shutters, and decorative moldings, and downspouts, then move onto the existing siding that is loose or not properly adhered to the walls. Unlike some types of roofing, siding should not be installed over existing material if at all possible; it’s best to start at a nice, clean substrate, unless you have very stable, existing material that should not be removed from some reason, such as asbestos siding. If the current siding is in good condition, but you’re ready for a change, you may be able to leave it in place as long as you check for loose boards, rot, mold, and insect activity. If you discover any of these issues with or without removing the old siding, address these before you begin the installation.
Preparation should also continue indoors. Banging or hammering on the exterior walls may dislodge things such as pictures, mirrors, or delicate items on shelves. Remove these items and pack them away safely until after the installation is complete to prevent any accidental damage.
2. Install Flashing
To create a watertight envelope for your home, install aluminum flashing or another non-absorbent material around any perforations or openings. This includes windows, doors, and vents. Install the flashing below the opening first, then on the sides, and finally above. This will help keep rain and moisture out of your home and will help prevent things like wood rot or mold growth over time.
3. Install Furring Strips
Siding requires a firm, stable, and even substrate to adhere to. Many homes have uneven walls that could cause warping. Furring strips installed vertically for horizontal lap siding and horizontally for vertical siding give your siding that even contact point.
Make sure the strips are no further than 16-inches apart on centers. You may need to shim some of the strips if they are too low or would cause an uneven siding installation. Furring strips can come in many different sizes; 1-inch by 3-inches or in this range will likely work best.
4. Wrap It Up
House wrap is an integral part of every siding installation. House wrap helps create a tight building envelope, keeps moisture and water out of your home, and can help facilitate air flow. There are many different types or wrap; choose one that will work well for your climate and with the fiber cement siding you are installing.
If you don’t intend to install the siding immediately, opt for a wrap that will be able to withstand the weather without breaking down and requiring reinstallation before the siding goes up. If you intend to install insulation beneath your fiber cement siding, now is the time to do that as well. Sheath siding installed between the furring strips or continuous siding installed over them will help keep your home more comfortable, helping to keep energy bills down.
5. Find Your Starting Point
Fiber cement siding is installed from the bottom row up, usually from the center of the wall, moving out evenly to each side. So, take the time to measure your starting wall, find the center point, and snap a chalk line about 3-inches off the ground to locate your starting point for the first row of siding. If necessary, plumb and shim to get an even, consistent base to work from.
Get Your Siding Project Off Right
Fiber cement siding makes a beautiful addition to any home. Make sure you’re installing it properly by taking the time to prep using these 5 easy steps and set your project up for success.