General Shingle Installation Guide

Mosaic Shingle Company Shingle Installation Guide

1) Cutting Shingles
The first task when installing siding is to cut shingles to a suitable size. Fortunately, most shingles are made from soft wood, so this task is relatively simple. To get the shingle to your desired dimensions, simply score it length ways with a utility knife and then snap it along the score line.

2) Applying Touch Up on Pre-Primed Shingles
Touch up should be applied before installation to all areas of bare wood, including cuts, damaged areas, or planed edges. Use a paint brush to apply touch up so that you achieve maximum precision.

3) Determining Exposure
To create an attractive shingle façade, it is vital to have evenly spaced courses. Use a wooden pole marked with guidelines at 5″ intervals (or the exposure length of your choice) as a guide.

4) Fasteners for Wood Shingles
To ensure that your wooden siding lasts for many years to come, it is important to use rust-resistant fasteners. Two fasters, either nails or staples, are needed per shingle, and they should be placed at least 3/4″ in from the each side and 1″ higher than bottom of the overlapping shingle.

5) Spacing Wood Shingles
When using Pre-Primed shingles, leave a gap (usually referred to as a keyway space) of 1/8″ between the shingles so that they are not touching. The keyway space on alternate rows should be offset from one another by at least 1 1/2″. When using bare cedar shingles, no gap is necessary.

6) The Starter Course
The first course of wooden shingles must consist of 2 layers on top of one another. You can either:
- Install 2 layers of the same length on the same course
- Or use a layer of shorter shingles underneath so that the starter course is the same thickness as all the others

In both cases the bottom edge of the first course should be 1″ below the house’s foundation to ensure that the entire wall is completely protected.

7) Installing Subsequent Courses
Wood shingles come in non-uniform sizes, and when subsequent rows are installed it is important that the joints between the shingles do not line up. To keep the lines neat and even, it is a good idea to draw a chalk line or attach a furring strip where the lower edge should sit, to guide you when installing each row.

8) How to Install Siding at Corners
For a traditional corner finish, the joint on alternate courses should be on different sides of the corner. The following method details how to install siding at corners:
- Select a shingle with a width that extends beyond the edge of the wall. Hold it flat and use a utility knife to trim any excess.
- Tack the first shingle in place and on the other side of the corner repeat the process using the first shingle as a cutting guide.
- Apply touch up to newly exposed wood, and fix shingles in place with fasteners.

9) Around Windows
Shingles directly underneath the window will require extra fastening, and the joint between them should line up with the window’s edge.
Above a window, water can build up and seep behind cladding, risking the protection of the entire siding. To prevent this from happening, it is vital that metal flashing is installed first, and wood shingles should be placed at least ¼” above the window top.

10) At the Top of Walls
Shingles should either butt up against a molding or have a fascia board applied over the top held in position by a wooden spacer. In either instance it is important to leave a ½” to 1″ gap between the final course and the roof to allow for airflow.

11) Under Gables
Shingles under sloping gables need careful consideration because they are more fragile and have visible nails. Cut shingles the same angle as the gable, glue the back of them, and space nails evenly for an attractive finish.

12) Roof/Dormer Junction
Wood shingles should be at least 2″ higher than any roof/dormer junction, so that water can drain away efficiently.

Some areas have specific rules regarding various aspects of wooden shingle cladding installation. If you want to know how to install siding, breather membranes, and caulking to meet regional requirement, it is a good idea to consult your local building code.