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In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva installs time-saving shingles.

Installing fiber-cement siding

  1. Transfer the wall stud locations to the exterior wall surface. Snap vertical chalk lines to represent the center of each stud.
  2. Apply a bead of exterior-grade caulk to the two lower corners of the front wall.
  3. Press a length of aluminum Z-channel flashing into the caulk, then fasten the flashing to the wall with 1¼-inch roofing nails.
  4. Nail ¼-inch-thick x 1½-inch-wide wood lath to the Z-channel flashing. The lath will bump out the first siding course, creating the proper angle.
  5. Cut a length of fiber-cement clapboard siding ¼ inch shorter than the width of the front wall. Score the cut line with a utility knife and snap the siding in two.
  6. Apply a vertical bead of caulk at each end of the wall.
  7. Set the fiber-cement clapboard siding into place, raise it ¼ inch above the Z-channel flashing, then nail the siding to the wall studs with 1¾-inch roofing nails. The siding acts as a filler strip.
  8. Run a vertical bead of caulk along both ends of the clapboard siding. And repeat for each subsequent course.
  9. Measure 12 inches up from the bottom edge of the clapboard filler strip, and snap a horizontal chalk line onto the wall.
  10. Cut a piece of fiber-cement shingle siding so that its end falls on the center of a wall stud.
  11. Hold the shingle siding flush with the chalk line, then fasten it to the wall studs with 1¾-inch roofing nails. Be sure to drive the nails through the filler strip behind the shingle siding.
  12. Continue cutting and installing shingle siding up the wall, making sure to overlap all end joints and slots between the shingles.
  13. Mark and notch siding to fit around window trim.
  14. If necessary, cut individual shingles from a siding panel to fill in beneath a window. Face-nail the shingle pieces with 1½-inch stainless steel nails.
  15. Protect the siding with a coat of acrylic latex exterior-grade paint.