How To Replace a Wood Shingle

As the iconic shingles for American homes, wood is the standard by which other materials are measured. Most non-wood shingles products aspire to imitate wood's natural beauty, but there is nothing like the real thing. It's got a look you just can't match with anything else.

To replace a wood shingle, it must be applied carefully and meticulously maintained. It should be protected from sun and rain damage. The siding must be sealed and stained, or primed and painted, every four to eight years. Though expensive, premium redwood and cedar heartwoods have a natural resistance to decay and insects; and because they are stable products, aren't prone to splitting and will paint well.

Wood shingle siding is a classic material, suited to architectural styles such as Craftsman, shingle style, Victorian, and Cape Cod. In general, wood shingles have the same key attributes and drawbacks as wood siding, with a couple of exceptions. Foremost, wood shingles can easily cover walls that are curved, irregularly shaped, or slightly bumpy. They can be applied over existing siding. Also, some wood shingles have been factory treated with preservative or a flame retardant that makes them less combustible.

Though wood shingles can be applied over a somewhat irregular surface, the flatter the base, the better they will look. The best backing is 1/2-inch plywood, oriented strand board, or wafer board wall sheathing. Waterproofing membrane should be applied over the sheathing before shingling.

Shingles make a wall impervious to water because they are nailed so that they overlap. When done right, there are always three layers of shingles at any one spot.

The method used to replace the wood shingles is to join shingles at exterior and interior corners. This will affect the look of the finished job and the difficulty of doing the work. The easiest method is to butt shingles up against a corner board and caulk the joint.

Another method is to trim the corner shingles so they meet at a miter joint; this is very attractive, but the miters need to be caulked and may open up over time. Weaving the shingles is elegantly simple, relatively easy to do, and doesn't require caulking. With this method, the corner shingles are alternately overlapped and the overlapping shingles are planed flush.

The biggest challenge to replace a wood shingle is its installation. The installation is evenly spacing the rows of shingles and working out their positions so that shingles align at the tops of windows and doors.


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