• In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shares his secrets for working with fiber-cement siding.

    Steps:
    1. When cutting fiber-cement siding with circular saw, use a blade that has only four or six teeth.
    2. To keep dust to a minimum, use a circular saw that's equipped with either a dust-collection bag or electric fan that blows dust into a bucket.
    3. For a slow, but virtually dustless way to cut siding, use power shears. Shears are available as a dedicated tool or as an attachment for a drill/driver.
    4. When installing fiber-cement siding, always leave a gap at the ends of each length of siding.
    5. Apply caulk to the joint before and after installing the siding.
    6. Install flashing at all end joints where two pieces of siding butt together. Be sure the flashing overlaps the siding course below.
    7. Leave a small gap at butt joints and fill with caulk.
    8. If hand-nailing fiber-cement siding, use hot-dipped galvanized nails and drive the nails into the wall studs.
    9. Drive the nail heads flush to the siding, not below the surface.
    10. If using a pneumatic nailer, choose ring-shank stainless-steel nails and adjust the depth setting to drive the nails flush with the surface.
    • 4 to 8 seconds per crosscut, 20 to 40 seconds to nail up an 8-foot-long piece of siding
    • $20 to over $200, depending on the cutting tool
    • Difficulty: Easy
      must follow safe-cutting practices, but none of the tools or techniques is difficult to master
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    Video Directory

    Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • circular saw
        Circular saw fitted with 4- or 6-tooth blade
      • Rafter Square
        Layout square
      • power shears
        Power shears
      • circular saw with dust-collection
        Circular saw with dust-collection
      • caulk gun
        Caulk gun
      • hammer
        Hammer or pneumatic nailer with air compressor
      • utility knife
        Utility knife

      Shopping List

      Exterior-grade caulk

      Builders paper

      Galvanized siding nails

      Ring-shank stainless-steel nails

      Dust mask or dual-cartridge respirator

      Eye goggles