Retrofit Improvements: Improve Exterior Siding Attachment

Wood and fiber cement lap siding can be installed to withstand hurricane wind and rain. Siding’s hardiness is in the flashing, caulking, fastening, and painting details, so it is never too late to bring siding up to the specifications that will withstand adverse weather conditions without damage.

Siding should be fastened directly to studs at 16” spacing with a minimum of 2” stainless steel siding nails. If inspection of the siding indicates no nails are visible, then it is likely that the siding was installed with blind nails, or fastened at the top of each lap of siding and then covered by the lap that was installed above it. Blind nailing is an acceptable installation method for siding, but if the siding feels loose, it can be reinforced by face nailing at the bottom of the panel. Installing additional fasteners will assure that the wind will not get under the siding and tear it off.

The location of the face nail varies with whether the siding is wood or fiber cement. With wood, the face nail only secures the top lap panel and the tension of that panel holds the top edge of the panel lapped below it in place. This allows for expansion and contraction of both pieces of wood siding. Fiber cement is more dimensionally stable than wood and should be face nailed through both of the panels at the overlap. These techniques are shown in the illustrations below.

Stainless steel siding nails cost about $50 for a 5 lb. box of 250 nails, which could be enough to securely fasten any loose siding. If a homeowner opted to hire a carpenter to locate and fasten to the studs, the cost would depend on the size and style of the house. This is because a large part of the labor could be spent on ladder or scaffolding set up.

An alternative would be to add fastening to the painter’s scope because there is an economy of scale in performing the paint preparation work at the same time that the re-fastening takes place. Dependent on house size, the added task of re-fastening siding might range between $300 and $500.

Retrofit Improvements: Improve Exterior Siding Attachment
(1 Mb)