Installing Fiber Cement Siding

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    The installation instructions say there should be a minimum of 1-1/4” of penetration into the studs. I’m going over the old siding. The old siding and sheathing around probably about 1-3/8” thick. The new fiber cement siding is 5/16” thick. That’s about 1-11/16” of thickness that the nail has to travel through before it reaches the stud. I have a couple of questions about this.

    1. The instructions say 1-1/4” of penetration into the stud. Since I’m going over the old siding and sheathing would that old siding and sheathing be considered part of the structure / framing? In other words, would the nail penetration into the old siding and sheathing be just as good as penetration into the studs? Or do I have to get at least 1-1/4 nail penetration into the studs?

    2. If I have to get at least 1-1/4” nail penetration into the stud than I basically need a 3 inch long nail. I don’t see any 3 inch long roofing nails (pneumatic). The longest pneumatic roofing nails I can find are 1-3/4” if I have to get the 1-1/4” stud penetration what are some other 3 inch long nails I can use? I would assume the head of the nail needs to sit proud of the surface. If it countersinks it won’t do a good job of holding the 5/16” thick fiber cement siding.


    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    Hitachi makes a coil siding nail gun that is the preferred method for installing the James Hardy siding. I know you can get 2 1/2″ and possibly 3″ in their coils. Hardy went away from a roofing mail installation many years ago.

    Is your sheathing that you are going over wood boards, plywood< OSB or a fiber product?

    Rogers, Ohio

    Like Kurt said, you should be able to get siding nails in the length you need…

    By the pic you posted, it looks like you will be going over T-111 siding…You say that is over top of sheathing?


    A Working Pro since 1993

    Member since 12/07/2013


    I appreciate the recommendations.

    I see hitachi sells 2-1/2” siding nails on Amazon. I’ll get a box and rent a siding nail gun.

    The sheathing appears to be boards. See photo.

    Yes. The current wood siding is over the sheathing.

    I want to do board and batten for the design. I purchased trim boards to cover the seams between the fiber cement panels. What type of nail should I use for the trim / batten boards? Siding nail? Something else?

    Finally, I can use the 2-1/2” siding nails for the areas that get nailed to the studs. I believe I have to use a shorter nail for the areas that don’t get nailed to stud. Such as the outside perimeter, to avoid hitting a wire or something like that. Am I being too cautious or is this the correct approach?

    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    With board sheeting and T – 111, you should get plenty of grip with the 2 1/2″ nail. Even with the 2 1/2″ nail with the T – 111 and board sheeting you will only penetrate into the stud about 1″. Your wires should be further away from the face of the sheeting than that. If your studs are laid out at 16″ O?C, you should be able to lay everything out on studs or framing of some sort.

    They also make a 2″ hardy nail that would penetrate less.

    You can nail your battens with the same nails as the panels.

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