Installing horizontal wood lap siding.
If you choose wood lap siding, it's well worth the extra money to get preprimed siding; otherwise paint the backs and edges of the boards before installing them.
Opinions vary regarding how to fasten clapboards to a wall. Some installers maintain that it's fine to drive nails into the sheathing only, as long as it's solid plywood or OSB (oriented strand board). However, driving nails into studs is a surer connection.
Face-nailing leaves exposed nailheads. Another method is to blind-nail, driving nails near the top of the board, where they'll be covered by the next board.
Some installers don't bother with the strips of felt, but these strips add extra protection from moisture infiltration and provide breathing room for condensation that can form behind the siding.
Working with a helper, about a day to install 600 square feet
Hammer or nail gun, miter saw or circular saw, jigsaw, tape measure, chalkline, drill, flat pry bar, level, caulking gun, utility knife, T-bevel, square, tin snips, staple gun, ladders and/or scaffolding
Measuring, laying out a job, driving nails, cutting with a power saw
Cover the sheathing with building wrap and install trim boards and flashings as needed.
Wood lap siding, board for story pole, felt strips, staples, board and flashing for water table, stainless-steel or galvanized siding nails, caulk, primer or sealer
Use tin snips to cut pieces of drip cap or Z-flashing and install them against the wall and over the top edge of the water table. Overlap any joints by at least 3 inches. Rip-cut 1-1/4-inch-wide pieces of siding to be placed on top of the water table. This piece will cause the bottom siding piece to slightly flare out from the wall at its bottom. Cut the ripped pieces to fit and nail them 1/4 inch above the flashing.
Apply a generous coat of primer or sealer to the board ends. This is especially important for ends you have cut, but even factory-cut ends will benefit from extra protection. If the siding is not prestained, it is a good idea to apply paint or sealer to the backs of the boards as well.
Measure from a corner to the center of a stud. Cut boards of succeeding courses so their joints are staggered by at least 16 inches. One efficient method of installation is to have one person cutting while two people measure and install siding pieces. This is especially helpful once you get up on a ladder or scaffolding.
Press the board into the caulk, check to be sure that the other end is aligned with a stud center or fits snugly against a trim piece, and drive nails into studs. Wherever you will drive a nail less than 1 inch from a board end, drill a pilot hole first, to avoid splitting the board.
For succeeding courses, drive nails about 1-1/2 inches above the bottom of the board so that they drive through the underlying board near its top. (Some installers prefer to drive the nails higher so they miss the underlying board, but that can lead to cracks.) At a butt joint apply caulk to the end of one board and push the boards together. Drill angled pilot holes before driving nails.
Notch cuts usually need to be precise because they will not be covered with trim. First make the two short cuts at either end of the notch. Make a plunge cut for the long cut. To make a plunge cut, retract the circular saw's guard, tilt the saw up, turn on the motor, and slowly lower the blade. Finish cutting the corners using a hand saw or jigsaw.