A Professional Cedar Siding Installation & Guide
Natural Cedar is a building material not used for exterior applications as widely as it once was. Today, Cedar is mainly used as minor accent touches such as posts or columns on porches and rough-cut cedar shutters in modern designs.
Some see Cedar siding in particular as a very complicated and tedious natural material. Although cedar siding may take longer than a few other forms of siding, cedar siding installations are not as distinctive as one may think.
Due to lack of use, many cedar siding styles and sizes are no longer available. So, if you have a cedar home or considering Cedar as a siding replacement, be mindful that one, Cedar is expensive, and two, Cedar is not readily available.
Here, we will cover installation procedures and offer some beneficial tips on cedar styles, species, and much more! Let’s dive into the world of Cedar together!
Nature always gives us what we need! In this case, we are talking about long-term building solutions. All that we have to do is tap into them responsibly! Understanding that may be a confusing statement let us explain.
Most of the leading siding materials today consist of some form of composite. While these materials check a lot of boxes, there is always some form of a drawback. Although, as we know, nothing lasts forever, mother nature has provided natural wood materials such as Cedar and bamboo that have natural characteristics that are ideal for long-term building solutions.
This article is not angled to uncover the benefits of Cedar. But here is a link if you are unfamiliar with the strengths of using cedar siding. The average audience wouldn’t know that Cedar is considered a naturally fast-growth tree. This factor alone, paired with other natural resistance to bugs and rot, makes Cedar one of the most resilient and sustainably premium exterior wood materials.
Cedarwood is available in several species and offers a unique look more than any other material, and is not easily replicated.
Cedar Siding Types & Styles
The natural cedar wood pattern is replicated in several modern siding materials here today. Although, nothing looks like the real thing! In many cases, Cedar paved the way for many other siding materials to emulate.
Lap versions of Cedar are the most common. Lap siding merely refers to slightly overlapping pieces, typically found in a horizontal application, although there are a few exceptions. Lap siding ranges from the Beveled, Regular lap, Shiplap, Channel Rustic, and Dutch.
There are other forms of siding, including tongue & groove and cedar shake. Some of the rarest profiles of siding include rough-cut mountainous log cabin style siding, referred to as Wavey Edge cedar siding.
Professional Siding Installers
There are several obsolete versions of cedar siding that remain on homes today. When manufacturers discontinue siding cuts and sizes, lack of availability deems issues for future replacements.
If you have a cedar home, it is best to hire a siding company that has experience with cedar siding installations. By doing so, you gain the certainty of knowing if your particular siding type is available or discontinued.
For example, if you have Certainteed 6 over 6 cedar siding, it has been discontinued.
A professional siding company can adequately access your siding damages and have business relationships with suppliers that stock or special-order rare siding. When possible, experienced and certified installers can modify the available siding to match your existing siding closely.
Hiring a company with limited experience could lead to misinformation that could cause unnecessary expenses or improper installations.
Cedar Siding Installation
Installing cedar siding has its advantages over other materials. Outside of Cedar having a beautiful smell, it is also lightweight, making it easy to handle. Most Cedar is rough-cut, but don’t erroneously handle Cedar without gloves as cedar splinters are irritating.
Cedar siding is softer and less dense than fiber cement but offers the same level of nail holding power if the siding is fastened in the correct place. Siding such as beveled siding should be nailed one inch from the bottom of the thickest edge.
Also, keep in mind that Cedar is more prone to split. So, a 15-gauge hot-dipped galvanized finish nail is best for production-based applications.
Pre-drilling and hand nailing with stainless steel nails is another viable yet costly and tedious application. Although the advantages of this type of fastening are minimal, stainless steel nail installation is undoubtedly the best practice. Electrogalvanized and iron nails will rust prematurely and discolor the wood.
If you are looking for the best wood siding, Redwood siding is a notable mention. Redwood is among the most fortified species and comes with a healthy price tag to match.
Best Practices & Maintaining Cedar Siding
Like most recommendations in the building and home maintenance space, there are a lot of misconceptions. We are going to uncover just a few of the most critical falsehoods.
Gaps, Cutting, & Fastening
The first is how the wood expands and contracts. Lumber primarily expands and contracts laterally. Therefore, a small 1/8 gap at the end of each side of the lap siding is beneficial, but the gap should not be more significant.
For optimal strength and holding power, fasteners are applied at the thickest edge of the board and no closer than one inch from all edges. Nailing in the center of cedar lap siding will not mitigate splitting from expansion and contraction. This installation method is incorrect and reduces nail holding power, especially true for beveled siding.
Sealing, Caulking, & Maintaining
Staining your cedar siding every 3 – 7 years with a premium stain like TWP is the single most important form of maintenance. Yet, another misconception is staining Cedar both front and back before installation.
The most extreme weathering happens on the outside face that is exposed to the elements. Staining the backside will offer little to no additional protection and could cause moisture transfer issues resulting in premature wood rot.
Instead, for best practices, seal cedar siding on all cut edges before installation.
Here is a shortlist of additional best practices.
- Do not stain wood surfaces before caulking. Staining before caulking will prohibit the caulk from adequately adhering to an uncontaminated surface.
- Do not caulk expansion joints. Instead, use flashing behind the joint.
- Do not blast the siding when washing. Rinse the home with a bleach solution.
- Overlap siding at a minimum of 1.25 inches.
- Do not caulk siding laps. Caulking areas where the siding overlaps can cause moisture to condense within and outside the wall cavity resulting in wood rot.
- Cedar is an aromatic wood that likes to breathe. Therefore, solid color or semi-transparent stain is sometimes better suited than paint.
Local Cedar Siding Experts
Cedar siding is a timeless material that can endure several climates. Cedar has a few advantages over composites, and like composite siding, Cedar resists rot and decay.
But Cedar doesn’t come cheap. If your home consists of Cedar and you have a few areas that need attention, we are here to help! We are a full-service cedar installer. If you need a complete siding replacement, minor repairs, or a combination of restoration and replacement, we are your local professional exterior cedar installers.