Attaching Siding the Correct Way to Studs

There’s actually quite a lot to know about what goes on behind siding. First, there’s a network of 2×4 or 2×6 timber ‘studs’ forming a frame, and this is where the siding should attach.

Next, there’s insulation material between the studs to keep the house warm. Many homes have a layer of sheathing added over that. The siding must nail through this into the studs to ensure proper attachment.

Locating the Studs to Drive Siding Nails In

A full length of siding is unwieldy requiring two pairs of hands to put it into position. Moreover, James Hardie style fibre cement panels are surprisingly heavy to some. Hence it’s important to ensure the nails drive into the hard timber studs, and not the thinner, softer sheathing with fresh air behind.

Builders are supposed to position the studs sixteen inches from the centre of one stud to the centre of the next one. There are also additional frames around windows and doors. Some builders use twenty-four-inch centres to save on materials. Older homes may have irregularly placed stud frames.

Our skilled installers know how to determine where the studs are behind the sheathing. They hammer the nails through into the heart of the studs behind. A skilled hand can feel it on the hammer, and hear the solid sound of a nail driving home.

The Nail That Does the Job Must Pass the Test

We prefer to attach siding by the ‘blind nailing’ method, whereby the nails are between one-inch and three-quarter inches from the top edge, so the above strip conceals them. However, we may have to ‘pin back’ at the bottom if the underlying structure in uneven.

We don’t use interior-grade nails, screws, and other fasteners that can rust and cause unsightly stains. We size our corrosion-resistant nails according to the thickness of the studs. That’s because we don’t want them to burst through at the back and encourage dry rot.

The design of the nail is very important. Galvanized or stainless steel flat-head nails must have thin shanks and blunt points so they drive through without splitting. Depending on circumstances we may use ring-threaded or spiral threaded nails for extra gripping power, especially with heavier, fibre cement planks.

There’s a great deal more to fitting siding that appears at first sight. When you return home from work to a completed siding job, you have to trust the contractor used the right nails, and drove them in properly.

You can trust us to do a proper job of this of this because our livelihood depends on it. We don’t follow ‘book knowledge’ blindly. We know what we are doing and we love doing our work properly.

More Reading

Correctly Replacing James Hardie Siding

Winter Time Can Be Good for Exterior Work

Image: A Typical Arrangement of Studs: Ahp378 BY CC 3.0