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How to Build a Sidewall Flare Pattern

A sidewall flare is a common architectural detail on many period-style homes, particularly the shingle style. Follow these steps to build a sidewall flare pattern yourself.

A sidewall flare consists of a gradual wave-like roll off the sidewall that creates an aesthetically pleasing design element, and also can help move water slightly away from trim features directly below it.

Where Are Sidewall Flares Located?

It’s typically located at the bottom of the wall, near the foundation just above the water table trim and drip cap. On this 1879 Italianate remodel, the homeowner chose to add the flare detail higher up the wall, where the siding will transition from clapboards to shingles. To celebrate that transition, the homeowner chose to add a flare with crown molding below it.

Steps to Build a Sidewall Flare Pattern

There are a number of ways to create this flare detail, including running horizontal strapping at various depths in order to gradually build out its termination point.

General Contractor Tom Silva developed a different method, which helps take into account flashing details and drainage layers like rain screens. Here is his process:

Create a template for the flare

  • Once he determined the final length and depth of the flare, he cut a curved stud template out of 2x material.
  • The template includes a notch in the back to mount the cleat/stud onto plywood later as well as the proper spring angle for the crown that will be installed later.

Rough cut the curved studs

  • Trace the template onto a piece of 2x material and rough-cut it using a jigsaw.
  • Cut enough of these pieces to create a 16” on center (O.C.) layout along the length of the desired flare.

Fine-tune the rough cut

  • Using the template as a guide, and a bottom-bearing flush-cut bit on a router, trim the rough cuts.
  • Screw the template down, then screw the rough cut to the template.
  • Add 2x around the pieces to provide a flat base for the router to sit on. Be sure to hold the router firmly and move slowly.

Mount the curved studs to the plywood

  • Mount the studs to a piece of ¾” plywood, spacing them 16” O.C.
  • Add glue to the back of the studs the screw them in place from the back of the plywood.

Screw the pattern unit to the wall

  • Mount the unit to the wall using exterior-grade screws, then add a layer of ¼”-3/8” plywood on top to provide nailing for the shingles.