Step 3: Nail on the first course

Image of a nail gun attaching cedar to the wall
Photo Kolin Smith
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Apply a zigzag bead of construction adhesive to the back of the board. Press it in place from center to edges to spread the adhesive evenly.

Using a pneumatic brad nailer, nail through the tongue at each stud location, angling the fasteners about 45 degrees down to keep them from getting in the way of the next board’s groove when you lock it over the tongue. Start at one end of the board and move evenly across the tongue, checking for level as you go.

If you can’t nail to a stud, shoot two nails next to each other at opposite angles to suck the board up tight to the wall while the adhesive dries.
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    Tools List

    • studfinder
      Stud finder
    • two-foot level
      2- or 4- foot level
    • pencil compass
      Compass or square
    • torpedo level
      Torpedo level
    • jigsaw
      Jigsaw to trim cedar planks
    • pneumatic brad nailer
      Pneumatic brad nailer and compressor (rents for about $55 a day)
    • caulk gun
      Caulk gun
    • miterbox with saw
      Miter box and handsaw to cut molding
    • coping saw
      Coping saw to fit molding at the corners

    Shopping List

    1. TONGUE-AND-GROOVE CEDAR PLANKING

    Order online or through home centers. Choose lengths that will eliminate the need for joints, or use smaller boards for a patterned look



    2. CEDAR MOLDING

    to cover gaps at the top, bottom, and corners of the closet. Most manufacturers make cove molding to act as crown and to cover gaps at the floor. Optional corner bead will hide seams between walls



    3. 18-GAUGE BRAD-POINT PIN NAILS

    for use with a pneumatic brad nailer



    4.CONSTRUCTION ADHESIVE

    to give additional wall adhesion and keep boards from bowing