Using splines, rather than caulk, results in tighter, less noticeable joints.
Using splines, rather than caulk, results in tighter, less noticeable joints.

Q. The clients on an upcoming project are interested in installing fiber-cement siding, but they're concerned about how the butt joints will look. While they don't expect the tight-fitting seams characteristic of wooden clapboards, they also don't like the look of wide caulked joints. Is there a better way to detail these joints?

A.Mark Parlee, a general contractor in Des Moines, Iowa, responds: In my experience, water that gets trapped against fiber-cement siding can be absorbed by the material, causing joints to swell and shrink during freeze/thaw cycles.

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