How Do I Finish Tongue and Groove Home Siding?

Answered by Jeffrey ~ September 23, 2011 ~ No Comments » | Respond to this question

I am installing tongue and groove siding for the first time. When I'm done, how do I hide the uneven tongue and groove piece at the start and the end of where I am installing it?

Dave D. ~ Grand Rapids, MI

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Dave. In my opinion, wood tongue and groove is some of the most attractive siding available to install on a home and with proper maintenance it should last many years. There are several options available to deal with the situation you describe. Many people place a piece of trim at the band board as they start their wood siding. This serves a couple of purposes: if you are planning an intricate exterior paint scheme such as for a Victorian "painted lady," it provides a trim piece that can provide a color contrast to the main body of your home's siding. The trim also offers a good base to begin your siding replacement. I have seen trim as small as 4 inches used, but in most cases homeowners use 6 or 8 inch material.

When you install your first piece of tongue and groove siding over this trim board, just rip the groove part off the initial siding board with a circular or table saw. You will probably get a better edge using a table saw with a fence, but with a steady hand and a guide, the circular saw works pretty well, too. You don't have to cut off much as the groove section normally isn't very deep. Make sure to prime the bottom of the wood siding before installing it and you may also want to install some metal flashing or a wood drip edge between this initial piece of wood siding and the trim board as well.

When you reach the top of the wall during your siding replacement, there may be a frieze board directly under the soffit or perhaps your old siding just ran up to the bottom of the soffit and fascia. If you don't have a frieze board, you may want to install one at this time for the same reasons the trim at the bottom of the wall was installed, but it's just a matter of personal preference and not required. The frieze board on my old house is 10 inches, but I have seen 4 to 12 inches used -- the architectural style of your home can determine what might look best.

It's very rare that your last piece of tongue and groove siding fits perfectly without being trimmed -- if it does, you may want to purchase a lottery ticket that evening. The more likely scenario is that the top of the siding board will need to be ripped down to fit and that should take care of removing the tongue at the top. Prime the ripped section before installing it on your home.

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