Siding Installation and Connectors
Home Builder’s Guide to Coastal Construction
FEMA 499/June 2005
Technical Fact Sheet No. 25
Purpose: To provide basic installation tips for various types of siding.
--Always follow manufacturer’s installation instructions.
--Use products that are suitable for a coastal environment. Many manufacturers
do not rate their products in a way that makes it easy to determine whether the
product will be adequate for the coastal environment. Require suppliers to
provide information about product reliability in this environment.
--Use high-wind installation procedures if available. These may include spacing
nails closer together, using longer nails, or both.
--Use recommended fasteners to avoid staining. Avoid using dissimilar metals
--Coastal buildings require more maintenance than inland structures. This
maintenance requirement needs to be considered in both the selection and
installation of siding.
Vinyl siding can be used successfully in a coastal environment if properly
--Choose siding that has been rated for high winds. These products typically
have an enhanced nailing hem and are sometimes made from thicker vinyl. Thick,
rigid panels provide greater wind resistance, withstand dents, and lie flatter
and straighter against the wall. Optimum panel thickness should be 0.040 inch to
0.048 inch, depending on style and design. Thinner gauge vinyl works well for
stable climates; thicker gauge vinyl is recommended for areas with high winds
and extreme temperature changes.
--Position nails in the center of the nailing slot.
--Do not drive the head of the nail tight against the nail hem (unless the hem
has been specifically designed for this). Allow 1/32-inch clearance between the
fastener head and the siding panel.
--Drive nails straight and level to prevent distortion and buckling in the
--Do not caulk the panels where they meet the receiver of inside corners,
outside corners, or J-trim. Do not caulk the overlap joints.
--Do not face-nail or staple through siding.
--Use aluminum, galvanized steel, or other corrosion-resistant nails when
installing vinyl siding. Aluminum trim pieces require aluminum or stainless
--Nail heads should be 5/16 inch minimum in diameter. Shank should be 1/8 inch
Note: allow 1/32-inch clearance between the fastener head and the siding panel.
--Use naturally decay-resistant wood such as redwood, cedar, or cypress.
--Wood siding should be back-primed before installation.
--Carefully follow manufacturer’s detailing instructions to prevent excessive
--Use high-quality stainless steel nails to prevent siding damage (staining).
Fiber Cement Siding
Installation procedures are similar to those for wood siding, but require
specialized cutting blades and safety precautions because of the dust produced
during cutting with power tools. Manufacturer’s installation recommendations
should be strictly adhered to, and particular attention paid to the painting and
finishing recommendations for a high-quality installation.