Setup & Layout

The cutting station should be centrally located on the jobsite. Ours consists of a simple cutting table with a 2x4 frame ...

... and a fence.

We do most of our crosscutting with 7 1/4-inch circular saws fitted with 40-tooth carbide blades.

The engineered wood we typically use (LP SmartSide) is strong and light enough that we can gang-cut multiple pieces to the same length.

A coil siding nailer is a must for fastening denser siding or trim products, and a must-have feature is an adjustable depth of drive.

Most engineered siding needs to be fastened to the framing, so we mark the location of every framing member on the WRB using a permanent marker. This way, we don’t need to search for studs during the installation, which saves us time.

Here are four gauges for installing siding. From left to right: a framing square cut to the siding reveal; a top-mount gauge preset to the size of the overlap; a top-mount adjustable gauge; a bottom-mount adjustable gauge.

I lay out the ideal (target) exposure for the courses along my story pole, squaring the lines across the face and onto the edges.

I bring the story pole to one side of an area that I need to divide, and place the bottom of the pole at the level of an element that has already been installed (such as a window sill) or on one of our lower reference lines. I rotate the pole diagonally until one of the story-pole lines intersects with an upper element such as window trim or a reference line.

Holding the diagonal story pole in place, I transfer the marks for each course from the pole onto the WRB.

I repeat the process for the other side of the area, then connect the marks on the WRB.

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