Garage Remodel:

Installing Tongue-and-Groove
Pine Siding

In This Article:

Tongue-and-groove siding is installed to cover two short new wall sections.

Related Articles:
Skill Level: 2-3 Time Taken: A Couple Of Hours

By , Editor


This garage originally had two sliding wood doors. They were miserable. They didn't keep much weather out. They let critters get into the building. They were very hard to move. They looked awful.

Over several weeks I helped the homeowners make some repairs to the garage, such as rebuilding the structure of the wall that faced the alley. This garage went from being an unusable "2-car" garage to being a very usable one-car garage. At only 18 feet wide, there just wasn't enough room to park two cars inside.

After I had built two short walls at the sides of the new garage door opening, I covered the plywood sheathing with tar paper. Even though the original garage had been built with the redwood tongue-and-groove siding nailed directly to the studs, I wanted the extra rigidity of plywood sheathing. Garage wall with siding removed.

In fact, it occurred to me that the primary reason the garage developed such a drastic lean over the years was the lack of some form of diagonal bracing, either let-in bracing or wide solid sheathing boards.

A close-up of the ends of the original sheathing. Of course I couldn't locate a supplier for this shape of wood siding, but I was able to find T&G siding almost the exact same width, without the "scalloped" grove.


The original siding on the gable was in good condition, except for the lowest piece, which had several splits along the bottom edge.

I decided to remove this piece of siding. It took a couple of minutes with a reciprocating saw and some pry bars to undo the nails.


Replacing wood siding above garage door opening. I installed the first rows of siding, working from the top down.

Note how there is siding missing above the garage door.

I barely bought enough siding, even though I bought 20 per cent extra. I kept discovering more badly damaged boards, like the one above.

Instead of discarding that old piece of siding with the bad edge, I ripped it narrower on the table saw.

I needed a slightly narrower piece of siding above the garage door, and it didn't make sense to slice up a perfectly good piece of new siding when this old one was mostly intact.

I stripped the paint with the Metabo power paint remover. A heat gun and scraper also work well for paint removal, but not as quickly.

Then I sanded the visible face of the siding with a random orbital sander. This removes the coarse marks left by the rotating cutting knives.

The edge of the sander worked well for getting into the curved "scalloped" part of the siding


In fact, I sanded all of the siding with the random orbital sander, using 60 grit paper. 

Coarse sandpaper leaves a surprisingly smooth (almost satin-like) surface when used on a random orbit sander.


Tongue and groove wood siding, end view. The profile of the new siding. It's almost identical to the original siding, except the lower edge is rounded instead of square. This is a small flaw that the homeowners decided they could live with.


Installation Procedure:

The top-down approach to siding installation is about the same as the normal bottom-up approach.

After a siding piece was cut to the desired length, I placed the tongue into the groove of the board above. Then I gently tapped the bottom of the board with a hammer, just to get the boards to stay together.


Installing t&g siding from top down.

There are lots of tongue-and-groove products that are machine-made and very precise, so they fit together easily. But wood siding isn't so easy. Not many boards are straight, so there is always the challenge of  fitting boards together. Just getting the tongue started in the groove can be a challenge.

Note: The board above this new piece has not been completely nailed yet. I left out all the nails along the bottom portion, so the board could be tilted outward, making it easier to get the new piece started.

Tapping siding board in place. Once the tongue was definitely started in the groove, I placed a scrap of siding in the groove below and hammered the new board upwards.

I clipped off the groove on this scrap, so it wouldn't get mangled so fast.


I checked the board with a level. This can be a slow process for picky perfectionist people like me.


I drove in 2 inch Maze Split-less siding nails, but only along the top portion of the board. 

These are hot-dipped galvanized ring-shank skinny little nails that are almost impossible to remove. Their small size reduces the chances of splitting the wood. 


Then I nailed the lower portion of the board above.

I nailed into the studs where possible, giving me a 16 inch spacing between nails. I snapped chalk lines over the stud locations prior to installing the siding. You can see the blue lines in some of the above photos.

I also used a nail set to sink the nail heads just below the surface of the wood.


The completed wall. Note the different color board above the garage door. That's the old piece that I salvaged.


When installing siding on two sides of an opening, one has to make sure that each side is spaced exactly the same, or else one side could end up at a taller height than the other, causing alignment problems with boards above the opening. 

Remember that my top-down approach is not the normal method of installing siding. This only works when the siding is face-nailed (nailed through the visible face, as opposed to nailing at the tongue). I used this odd-ball method because I had to work with the existing siding over the garage door. This method won't work for vinyl siding, but vinyl is so easy to remove that re-doing an entire wall is quite simple.

New custom-milled tongue-and-groove siding installed next to the garage door opening. The completed siding project. I also installed 1x4 trim around the opening.


Later I removed the paint from the gable.

I spot-primed the knots on the pine siding with Zinsser's BIN Sealer, which is a shellac-based coating that stops the sap in the knots from bleeding through later. 

The original redwood siding only had one or two knots on the entire structure.


The finished project.



Tools Used:

  • Basic Carpentry Tools
  • Router Table
  • Panel Raiser Router Bit
  • Miter Saw
  • Table Saw


Materials Used:

  • 1x6 Tongue-and-Groove Carsiding
  • 2" Maze Siding Nails


Back To Top Of Page 

 Read our Disclaimer.

Search Page

Home  What's New  Project Archives  H.I. World

 Rants  Contact Us










Copyright © 2003

Written February 7, 2003