How to Hang Siding Like a Pro - Part 1

Hey everyone! We are finally on our last leg of our 10 month siding project! Turns out things take a little longer when you are unpacking, moving in and taking care of two kiddos. We bought our siding before we ever moved into the house because of the amazing deal we got on it. You can read all about that HERE

Now we've finally gotten our ducks in the row to start our tutorial series that passes what we've learned along to you. We won't lie to you - residing your whole house yourself is not for the feeble hearted, but it IS something you can do. So here we go. 


Prep the house for siding.

This assumes that you've already hung your house wrap and are ready to start installing siding. :) 

1. Create a straight line

You need to create a straight line all the way around the house. This is done with a transit like this one. There are alot of helpful videos and tutorials already out there on how exactly to do this :) 

2. Find your starter strip line:

  • Measure from your line created with a transit and find what the lowest point to the top of your foundation is.  
  • Go up an inch from that, and this is the top of your starter strip. 


3. Install your starter strip

  • Chalk the line from the measurement above and then put the starter strip on with the top matching your chalk line. 
  • You'll nail the starter strip in every 16 inches into the studs of the house


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4. Install any corners that you have.

Check back for a tutorial on how to install corners and specialized trim

Install your siding


1. Make sure your siding ends are straight

Our siding had staggered ends. Unless you are hanging shake siding like us you should not have this problem and you can skip to the next step. If you ARE working with shake siding, use a carpenter square and draw on edge and use a circular saw or cut it with a pair of tin snips. 

2. Clip in the siding to the starter strip

Each peice of siding has a ridge along the bottom that clips into the starter strip, or onto the piece of the siding below it. You want to use a hammer to really make a tight clip between the bottom ridge of the siding piece and the starter strip. 

Install siding 3
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3. Connect siding pieces together. 

  • On regular siding you need at least one inch of overlap. On the shake siding we were installing it has a measure that will show you how much overlap you need. Your siding should come with instructions in the box that will show you how much overlap you need between sections. 
  • Each piece of siding has clips that run along the side that slide in. Each brand is a little different in how they are designed to connect (of course, wouldn't want to make it too easy right!?) Again, double check with your instructions to see how. 
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You can see on our siding the tabs that slide into the other piece. 

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4. Nail the siding down

  • There is a place for nailing the siding across the top of each piece. You'll want to use ___________ nails. 
  • Drive a nail into every stud. The best way to find the stud is to find the seam of the backer board that's on the house. You can run your hand along the house and should be able to feel the seam. Where that piece meets will be a stud.
  • From that backer board seam measure with 16 inches, there's your next stud. Repeat until you run out of house :) Every 16 inches will be a new stud. 
  • Make sure not to drive the nail tight to the wall. Leave a little bit of room for natural expansion and contraction. 
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Siding 1.jpg

5. Stagger your siding

  • Once you run the first row you'll last piece will most likely be cut to fit. You'll want to take the leftover siding from that piece to start your new row. So if you have an 16 foot piece of siding and you cut 4 feet to finish a row, take the 12 foot piece to start your new row. 

6. Go get yourself some coffee before you start doing the angled roof parts of the house. 

This is where hanging siding can get a little more tricky - but don't worry - you've got this! We'll be back with part 2 soon that will walk you through the whole thing. 

Until next time! 


How we resided our entire house for under $1,000

How I resided my house for under 1k.jpg

We used to have a dreams! Dreams of statement area rugs, freshly mulched lawns, and movie nights together on the weekends. 

House before

Then, the siding fell off of our house. 

That's right! A few weeks into buying the house pieces started coming loose. We thought it was an easy fix. Until we signed the mortgage papers, headed over to fix the few loose pieces and realized, to our horror, that every time we touched a piece of the siding it crumbled underneath our hands like crusty bread. 



So we took a look at the budget and figured we had around $1,000 in savings that we could use to put towards residing the house. "No problem!"  said naive homeowner!

Then I actually looked up how much siding cost. For the cheap stuff we were talking $3,000-$4,000!!

"Ok, don't panic!" We said...( a little panicky) we'll just do it in sections as we have the finances. We settled on the fact that for the next few years, we would fondly call ourselves the patchwork quilt house. It would be...cute? 

 The neighbors would hate us, we'd depreciate the value of our neighborhood...but at least we wouldn't be in debt!

Then, something miraculous happened! The fairy god-mother of siding smiled on me. 

I was trolling my favorite internet site (craigslist!) for building materials when I stumbled across a post. 1,500 square feet of siding for $500!! Only 500 buckeroos!!

I contacted the seller and found out it was a small siding business liquidating their inventory before they moved. 

We knew that we needed around 1,900 square feet of siding, but decided to go ahead and get it. We could at least do most of it! When we went to pick it up, it turns out it was more like 1,800 square feet of siding for $500. Beautiful gray shake siding.  Thanks fairy god-mother of siding!!

So off the old siding went.



Even three year olds could rip the papery stuff down! 

We choose to get non brand name house wrap from Menards, and our house suddenly became a favorite among the neighborhood children because....


We affectionately became known as the dino house! (Actually, I think I just called it that...)

Dinosaur themed wrapping paper, I mean house wrap, cost us around $100. Then add another $200 for nails, trim pieces and all new soffitt. At this point we are sitting at a pretty $800. 

Shake siding

Isn't it pretty! 

We blissfully thought to ourselves - we'll be done before winter, I mean, Christmas...I mean...*sigh* NEVER! Needless to say, we've run into a few snafus (pronounced sna-foos)  along the way. Squirrels, weird venting, miscolored trim and backordered jchannell are just to name a few. 

But let me tell you - there's no better way to meet your neighbors than working constantly outside on your house for months straight. I'm pretty sure the neighborhood has taken up a poll to bet on when we'll actually finish this beast. 


Now, if you are wanting to reside your house economically, here are a few tips I've gathered along the way.

  1. Check craigslist and ebay, often - like every few hours. I've downloaded the apps, set notifications to ring me, and even bought something while rocking my daughter to sleep at 2am. 
  2. Join local facebook groups in your area. Sometimes people are selling leftover siding. It might not be enough to do your whole house but it could do a large section. 
  3. Keep an open mind. When it comes to huge purchases like siding, if you find something like we did, it's better to work other design issues out around it, rather than forgoing it all together because it doesn't match the picture you had in your head. 
  4. Check out Build Direct . We didn't buy siding from them, but they were our backup plan. Their prices on building supplies are pretty amazing!
  5. Plan ahead. We could have probably done the siding project even more frugally if we had been shopping for house wrap, soffit and other materials months in advance. Every once in a while those pop up on craigslists for very inexpensive (sometimes even free!). 
  6. Get creative labor. Even if you didn't luck out and marry a contractor - it doesn't mean you have to pay full price for labor. You can do this project yourself. (In fact in the coming months we'll be putting together a tutorial to show you how!) If you're not quite up for that challenge, consider bartering. What skills do you have that you could offer? Do you have graphic design skills? Offer to build or design a website for a local siding company in exchange for some labor. Are you good at taxes or paperwork? Offer to do office work in exchange for labor. You never know until you ask


As far as our project goes - We are in the final stretch now! We now have to make a decision on what to do for the final areas of house that we don't have siding for. Do we buy more of the same (we found it at Menards) Do we use cute board and batten siding? Straight across siding? 

What do you think would look best? All opinions welcome! 


Our 2016 Renovation Resolutions

Happy 2016 everyone! I hope your celebrations with your loved ones was fabulous! We are winding down from our ever busy holiday season and turning a weary eye once again to the siding that will not end! 

So while John faithfully spends another weekend hanging siding, I turn my attention to thinking towards the future. For a matter of accountability and to think long term plans - here are our Renovation Resolutions for 2016!!

1. Finish that (darn) siding! This should not take too much longer and we can hopefully cross it off within the month
    Expected complete date: January


2. Convert Garage and Basement into livable apartment : This is the next huge formidable project that looms on the horizon. Our hope is that by transforming this space, we will be able to pay down our mortgage and build up a savings cushion to supplement our one person income. There are three phases to this goal

⦁    Phase 1: Converting the laundry area and finishing the bathroom.  This area of our house is without a doubt the weirdest quirk that we have encountered. That closet right there

Garage before

Garage before


... there's a toilet behind that doorway. We hope to knock down that creepy toilet in a closet, replace the laundry sink with a regular sink, and add a standing shower, and of course build walls around the whole shabang. That washer and dryer will jump through the wall and take residence in the "master bath." I've got glorious plans for that - but ....lets not get a head of ourselves. :)
        Expected Complete date: April

⦁    Phase 2: Transform our garage into upper level of the apartment. We'll replace the garage door with french doors, bringing in natural light. We'll build a separate hallways entrance for ourselves, install a small eat in kitchen and of course add flooring and drywall the whole area.  This space will be the apartment's living room and kitchen.
        Expected complete date: May


⦁    Phase 3: Transform that basement into bedrooms. The biggest part of this project will be changing out at least two windows into larger egress windows. I plan to craigslist the actual windows to save money. In addition we will need to frame, drywall, add flooring, doors, sound proof  and place wardrobes to transform this space into comfortable bedrooms. 
        Expected complete date: August (this is important as we will most likely rent to         students who come back to town in August) 

Basement Before. 

Basement Before. 

3. Downstairs(master) bathroom renovation : Remember that laundry room relocation? This is when it gets good. We hope to do a large rehaul/update of the master bathroom. This will include adding a walk in closet/laundry room that passes through into a master bathroom. We will be adding tiling, new bathtub, new toilet, new double sink and new lights. 
    Expected complete date: December

4. Other important details : In addition to these renovation plans, we will be rehauling the electrical (early Feb), installing a backyard fence (summer) staining exterior brick (summer), finish painting the stairs and adding runners (Jan.) and maybe....doing some updating to our cabinets


There it is! Writing all that out gets me so excited and so overwhelmed all at the same time! It'll be interesting to see how on point we are able to keep through this next year.
Have you made any 2016 Renovation Resolutions? Share them with me below!