Step 2: Hang the starter course

hanging the starter course
Photo: David Carmack
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Using a table saw, rip 1 1/2 inches off the top of a clapboard for a starter strip. Prop its thickest edge 1/8 inch above the water table; secure it to every other stud with one 7d nail.

Line up the lower edge ? or butt edge ? of the first full-width clapboard so that it covers the starter strip and lies a hair above the water table. This is the starter course.

Apply sealant along the corner boards. Bed clapboard ends into it, leaving 1/16 inch space along the corner board.

An inch above the siding's butt edge, drive in one 7d nail into each stud.

If clapboard isn't long enough to span a wall, splice two together with a 45-degree scarf joint. Apply sealant to the ends, fit them together, and drive one nail through the overlapping board ½ inch to the side of the joint.

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    Tools List

    • speed square
      Speed Square,
      for marking story pole and swing stick
    • chalk line
      Chalk line.
      for premarking courses and for finding and marking plumb lines at stud locations
    • utility knife
      Utility knife,
      for notching clapboard and cutting felt, flashing, and waterproofing membrane
    • tacker hammer
      Hammer tacker and staples,
      for attaching builder's felt to sheathing alternative: staple gun
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • caulk gun
      Caulk gun with paintable, synthetic-rubber sealant,
      for sealing ends of clapboard at casings, frieze, and corner boards
    • ladder
      Ladder or scaffolding,
      for reaching high spots
    • miter saw
      Miter saw,
      for cutting clapboards to length
    • hammer
      Hammer
    • table saw
      Table saw,
      for ripping down the starter strip

    Shopping List

    1. PRIMED RED-CEDAR CLAPBOARD

    2. BUILDER'S FELT: 15-POUND, 12-INCH-WIDE ROLL

    for protecting sheathing at water table, corner boards, and around window and door casings



    3. BUILDER'S FELT: 2-INCH-WIDE ROLL

    for covering the wall at stud locations



    4. METAL FLASHING

    for covering the top edge of the water table and window casings



    5. WATERPROOF MEMBRANE

    for protecting the tops of windows and doors



    6. 4D AND 7D STAINLESS STEEL RING-SHANK NAILS

    for attaching clapboard and flashing