How to Install T 11 Siding

Curious how to install T 11 siding (or T1-11, as it's properly known)? If you're determined to do it yourself, you'll need a helper and the right tools to get the job done.

Consider hiring a professional.
T1-11 siding, or plywood siding, is a wood-based siding product. It comes in two varieties: plywood and OSB (oriented strand board). Plywood is more durable than OSB in the long term, but neither product lasts very long if it's improperly installed. Since these are wood products, it's vital that you install and seal them properly to avoid water damage.

If you're using T1-11 siding, you should seriously consider hiring a professional before you choose to do it yourself. If you don't, you could find yourself replacing your siding in a year or two because you didn't install it properly and water damaged it.

Plywood versus OSB.
Plywood is a better T1-11 siding product than OSB. Plywood is more expensive, but it lasts longer, and you can stain it. OSB is a manufactured wood product, and it disintegrates in water, which means it doesn't last as long as plywood-based T1-11. Also, you can't stain OSB; you can only paint it. Plywood is a better choice than OSB unless your budget absolutely can't afford it. Keep in mind that you'll spend more in the long run with OSB because you'll have to replace it more frequently than plywood.

Start with the bottom piece.
Start your T1-11 siding installation with the bottom piece. Create a level guide line with a chalk line all the way around the building at least six inches from the ground. Line up the bottom of the panel with the chalk line, and make sure you have studs to secure the edges of the panel. Use galvanized nails, and drive nails every six inches on the edges. Leave a 3/8-inch gap around windows or openings for caulking.

Install the rest of your siding.
You'll want to install the siding with pieces overlapping by about an inch. Make sure to apply an architectural sealant under the joins to prevent water damage and seepage. Leave 1/8 inch for swelling around any gaps and openings. Also make sure to install flashing properly so you eliminate the possibility of water damage.

Seal the joints, and paint your siding.
Water-tightness is important to preserve the integrity of your T1-11 siding, so make sure you caulk between the joints to prevent any water damage or seepage. When you paint or stain your T1-11 siding, make sure you paint inside the grooves and cover all exposed wood, even the bottom edge and underside, to prevent water damage.

Paint your T1-11 siding as quickly as possible after you install it to prevent water damage. You'll need roughly twice the coverage that paint charts recommend for wood siding because T1-11 soaks up paint. Again, make sure to paint or stain all exposed wood to prevent water damage, and inspect the siding regularly to find and eliminate water damage before it can spread. 

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