General Guidelines for Installing Western Red Cedar Siding

Like all natural materials, Western Red Cedar responds to the environment; Cedar siding can swell or shrink to reach equilibrium with the surrounding air’s moisture content. By acclimating your Cedar siding prior to installation and by following these essential installation tips, your Western Red Cedar siding will provide many years of service ~ naturally!

Kiln Dried “Clears” have been dried (to approximately 12% moisture content) at the mill and are the most “ready to use” of all Western Red Cedar siding products and may be installed upon arrival, except in very hot and dry environments, or if wet. If the siding has gotten wet, it should be separated and allowed to dry completely before installation. In hot and dry environments, we recommend allowing the siding to acclimate for a good 3 to 5 days before installing.

Dry “Knotty” Sidings should be allowed to acclimate in most environments for 7 to 10 days before installation. In damp or high humidity environments, more time may be required for acclimation.

To acclimate your Western Red Cedar (or Alaskan Yellow Cedar) siding, stack pieces individually on evenly spaced vertically aligned “stickers” in a dry storage area, off the ground, and under cover. Air should be circulating all around the pieces of Cedar siding.  Unseasoned or “green” Cedar sidings that have not been dried with a moisture content exceeding 12% prior to delivery will require much longer to acclimate to their surrounding environment.

Narrower widths of channel, bevel, and board and batten sidings allow for shrinkage when supplied without prior drying. Acclimation of green siding products can take 30 days or longer depending on the environment. Store the stack by separating the pieces with vertically aligned stickers in a well ventilated, dry location off the ground by at least 4”. If it is to be stored over damp ground or new concrete, place a moisture barrier under the siding.

After your Western Red Cedar Siding has acclimated, a coating of primer, stain or oil should be applied to all surfaces, including the ends. The type of coating will vary depending on the final finish desired. If a solid color stain or paint will be used, an alkyd oil stain-blocking primer should be used as the first coat, applied on all four sides. Always follow the manufacturers’ recommendations to ensure the product you have selected is for use on Western Red (or Alaskan Yellow) Cedar and compatible with the intended finish coat.

To save money and time on the job site, we can arrange to have your Western Red Cedar siding coated with a product of your choice. Your siding will be completely covered on all four sides with a flood coat in a temperature-controlled environment, free of dust and debris, then back brushed to ensure even absorption and coverage. This quality of pre-finish is impossible to duplicate using on-site installation methods. Read more about the process HERE

Custom Milled Western Red Cedar Log Cabin Siding Pre-stained with Penetrating Oil

Stud walls generally require no special preparation when installing horizontal siding. The Cedar siding should be nailed into the studs at a maximum of 24-inch centers when applied over a wood-based, solid sheathing.  When installing vertical siding over stud walls, horizontal blockers are needed and should be spaced not exceeding 24 inches on center.

Walls made of masonry will require furring strips that are thick enough for nail penetration of 1-1/4” into sold wood with a ring shank nail.  Using rigid foam sheathing as a nailing base for Western Red Cedar Siding is generally not recommended and should only be done in compliance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.  Proper wall construction includes the use of gas permeable building paper and vapor barriers.  Always check your local code to verify all building requirements.

Stainless steel nails are the best choice for installing Western Red Cedar siding, especially if the siding is to be finished with transparent or semi-transparent stain. No. 304 grade is fine for general siding applications, while No. 316 grade stainless should be used when installing near saltwater. Alternatively, hot-dipped galvanized nails that are corrosion resistant can be used.  Other types of fasteners are not recommended.

Prior to installing your Western Red Cedar Siding, make sure that corrosion-resistant flashing is properly installed to prevent moisture from entering wall and roof spaces above doors and windows, at the junctions of dormer walls and roof surfaces, and along the transition of siding materials such as cedar to brick or stucco.

Keep the lowest edge of your Western Red Cedar Siding at least 6” off the ground, and treat the end grain of the bottom of vertical siding with a water repellent preservative or primer.  Caulking is to be used where the ends of your siding contact vertical openings or trim. Use only non-hardening caulks such as polyurethane, polysulfide, terpolymer rubber, acrylic, or acrylic silicone.  Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

For tips on installing specific siding profiles, please visit our friends at the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association by clicking HERE

How to Install Western Red Cedar Siding

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