As lumber quality has worsened over the years, manufacturers have developed siding made from synthetic, composite, or engineered materials. Though durable, they also tend to be less tolerant of installation errors. Each siding product has a unique set of installation guidelines that the installer must follow to avoid failure.
The proprietary nature of these products means it would be impractical to cover all the nuances here. However there are some general techniques and best practices that should apply to all products.
Fasteners are critical to the longevity of any siding job. Cheap nails often rust prematurely, leaving unsightly streaks or rusting away completely. For a quality installation:
Always use nails, not staples.
When blind nailing, use double-hot-dipped galvanized ring-shank nails.
For exposed fasteners, use stainless-steel ring-shank nails.
Nails should be long enough to penetrate the framing by at least 1 1/2 in:
Nail from the center the ends of the board or from one side to the other. Do not start at the ends and work towards the middle.
Nails should seat firmly against the siding. DO NOT overdrive nails.
A must-have feature for engineered siding is an adjustable depth of drive on a pneumatic nailer; many nailers have a thumb wheel for this purpose. This practically eliminates the need to leave the work area to adjust your compressor’s regulator. Use no-mar rubber or plastic nosepieces to reduce the risk of damaging prefinished material.