It is not difficult to understand why cedar lap and gap siding is so popular on homes across Canada and North America. Although not a native tree to the North American continent it has been successfully cultivated here, especially in the northwest, for centuries.
Being a conifer and depending on the variety of cedar used the hardness can vary from less than 2 to around 3 on the Janka scale. However, Cedar is renowned for its durability and can last for decades as siding on a home. It’s resistance to decay is largely due to the cedar oil it secretes, which will also deter some pests. When freshly cut it has a warm and rich color, as well as a heady scent that will linger for many years, giving off a truly homely effect.
Cedar Siding Materials
The color and textured grain of cedar mean that by using different varieties of it and cutting it to different patterns it can be installed as siding to properties of many types and styles. Furthermore, cedar lap and gap siding can be treated with most preparatory stains, preservatives or even paint as required.
Not being a heavy timber, cedar is light and easy to work with ,and provides a satisfactory level of insulation to a home. Whilst not necessarily a cheap option to use as siding for a home, being a naturally occurring substance it is highly esthetically pleasing and is also environmentally friendly to use, especially as it has no disposal issues when it does eventually need replacing.
Cedar lap and gap siding is available in several sizes the most common of which are between 15mm and 25mm thick. You can get most thicknesses at widths of 150mm and 205mm, but the wider boards, 255mm, are usually only available the thinner thicknesses unless you have them custom made.
Installing Cedar Lap and Gap Siding
Depending on your preference cedar lap and gap siding can be milled for vertical or horizontal installation and, as the name implies, it is fitted so that one board overlaps the other.
If the climate in which your property is located is a wet and harsh one, then usually the cedar boards will be fitting horizontally. This allows rainfall or snow to fall down off the boards and, as they overlap, there is virtually no risk of moisture seeping through the over-lapping gap.
Cedar lap and gap siding is easily fixed to a building by nailing the boards to onto the structure’s stud work. To install horizontal cedar lap and gap siding boards start at the bottom of the building keeping the channels pointing upwards. For 150mm boards nail them at least 25mm above the gap and face nail 205mm boards with two nails.
Regardless of the boards width, when nailing them keep the nails about 70mm apart. If you’re fitting vertical boards the consensus of opinion is that the wider the board the better it will look. Positioning the battens is important here to create a good appearance and the battens themselves need to be wide enough to allow the cedar boards to overlap them.
As a rule of thumb, use 25mm by 75mm battens on 25mm by 255mm boards, ensuring the batten overlaps by at least 15mm. The cedar boards should be nailed horizontally to the battens using blocking lines as required.