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How to Install a Vertical Tongue & Groove

Matt Brown

Tongue and groove siding, made of cedar or other wood products, is popular for its versatility, durability and attractive appearance. It can be installed horizontally, vertically or even diagonally to create different looks. Vertical installation is somewhat more complicated than horizontal. When installed horizontally, the siding is typically nailed to the wall studs, but with vertical or diagonal installation, it is nailed to blocking of furring strips, which usually need to be added.

Properly installed tongue and groove siding creates a weatherproof barrier.
  1. Inspect and prepare the existing wall for installation of siding. On stud walls, vertical installation of tongue and groove siding requires horizontal blocking or furring strips to which the siding will be nailed. Masonry walls require furring strips. Refer to your siding's literature for recommended size and distances between blocking of firing strips. All window, door and fascia flashing should also be in place before installing siding.

  2. Place the first row of siding against the wall with the grooved side facing the adjacent wall. Because some walls may be less than exactly vertical, you'll need a plumb line or level to ensure the first row of boards is precisely vertical. You may also need to trim the groove edged to create a tight fit with the adjacent wall.

  3. Drive nails at an angle through the tongue of each board at each blocking or furring strip. The angle of the nail should be such that the groove of the next row slides over the tongue of the first row without meeting resistance from the nail. Take care not to split the wood while nailing.

  4. Continue the process on each additional row of siding. Where the siding meets an inside corner, outside corner or edge, cut the last row using a table saw so it fits flush. Cut the tongue side of the board off and face nail the last row. Countersink the nails and fill the holes with exterior-grade wood putty. On inside and outside corners, install corner boards to cover the edges. Where the siding meets an angled roof, cut it with a miter box or miter saw.