How to Install Plywood Siding

Plywood siding is made up of many sheets of veneer, pressed and glued together. The grain of each sheet runs opposite the next, providing structural stability.

Install Plywood Siding

The only difference between plywood siding and plywood sheets is that the siding product usually comes with decorative grooves to provide an architectural design aspect.

  1. Deciding on what thickness of plywood siding you will buy is extremely important. Many people want to go the cheaper route and buy a thinner plywood. But in the long run it will end up costing more, because thinner plywood buckles easily and is not a sturdy product. It will also weather and wear a lot faster than the thicker types, and it will need to be replaced a lot sooner than you'd like. Going with a 1/2-inch or 5/8-inch thick siding is a safer choice.

  2. Waterproof your plywood siding with sealant. Do this before installation. Seal all windows, doors and corners with caulk. If water gets behind your siding, the caulk will provide a second defense against water damage.

  3. Install Tyvek house wrap (paper) or foam insulation. Tyvek is a barrier that helps increase air and water resistance. Foam insulation, however, not only insulates but helps keep walls looking straight after the siding is installed. Walls are not always constructed straight, and over time they may adjust. Foam insulation can fill out the wall where needed. Some people choose to use both Tyvek wrap and foam insulation.
    Use staples, nails or construction adhesive to install foam insulation, and use staples to install Tyvek house wrap.

  4. Install the siding. Start from the bottom and work your way up. If you are using vertical grooved siding, try to nail in the grooves. This will help hide the nail heads. Be sure to nail into studs. If you nail between the studs, there won't be enough support and the nails will work their way out over time.
    Start installing the siding at one end of a wall about 6 inches from the ground. As you work your way down the wall horizontally, double check yourself so that it stays straight. Since landscaping is uneven, measure from the soffit overhang to the bottom of your siding or use a level. At about the middle of the wall, measure again to make sure the measurement is consistent and the siding is level. Repeat this process for each wall.

  5. Seal your house with caulk the same way you did before you installed the insulation. Caulk around every opening and at every corner. Once the caulk is dry you can paint your plywood siding.