If you are a do-it-yourself person, then you have probably dabbled in every home project you could ever imagine. You may have watched the DIY shows, watched online videos and even read a few manuals to get a general idea on how to muddle through each renovation project. So when the time comes to replace your old siding with cement board, you never consider hiring an experienced contractor to perform the cement board installation.
Yet the work to install cement board siding should not be taken lightly, or be done by the inexperienced. If placed on incorrectly, you could allow moisture to get back behind the siding. This can warp the wood on your home, cause boards to rot and create serious mold problems. You also have a multitude of steps to do before you even place on the first piece of cement board.
First, you must attach either a felt or house wrap around your home as a moisture barrier. If your home needs extra insulation, this is the perfect time to add a layer of foam insulation before nailing down the house wrap. Next, you will have to add chalk lines to know where you will place each piece of cement board siding and to also mark where the wall studs are to place in the nails. After making the chalk lines, you will need to rip a piece of siding as a starter strip and nail it along the bottom to create a drip edge. The drip edge allows the siding boards to be placed on at an angle and overlap each other.
Cement board is a harder material than aluminum siding. You will need to pre-drill holes at the edges if you plan to hand-nail each board. You could purchase a siding gun, but it will put a huge dent in your budget, price-wise. Never drive nails into the siding at an angle, as fastener heads should be snug up against the siding without being driven into the surface. You can cut the cement board using shears or a circular saw using the manufacturer's specified blade so as not to damage the boards. This is not an indoor cutting process because of the amount of dust created when cutting the boards.
Cement board installation is not a one-person project. For it to be done correctly and as quickly as possible, one person should hold the siding boards in place while the other person fastens on the boards. Depending on how big your home is, you will have to climb up ladders and scaffolding to reach the top of the house to add the siding. Don't forget you will need to add window and door drip caps and trim while placing on the siding.
Some home renovations simply are not DIY projects, and cement board installation is one of them. To ensure the work is done correctly and will meet all building codes, you should hire an experienced cement board siding contractor. They will do the job the right way as the siding will be installed weather tight to protect your home.