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6 Steps On How To Install Tongue And Groove Siding

You want to create a wooden wall or you might be building a wooden home. That’s why you want to use the tongue and groove siding for the walls or flooring.

How to install tongue and groove siding? 

It is a super simple task. You’ll only need to follow six easy steps. But you have to first pick how you want to install them, horizontally or vertically. Once you’ve picked one, plan the layout. You must protect the wooden boards then. Make a preacher in the next step. Cut the boards perfectly afterward. Use flashing, a stain, or sealer on the wooden boards in the end.

Is this enough for you? No, you need to know more. Therefore just read the article. It’s only going to take 6 minutes of your precious time.

Let’s not waste any time here and move to the main sections!

Two Methods of Installing Tongue and Groove

The tongue and groove method is very popular with carpenters. It can be installed in 2 ways. The installation process can be in a vertical way or in a horizontal way. 

We’ve explained both ways below:


In a horizontal method, you have to start with the bottom and gradually go up. Let us explain it better- 

You have to put the woodblock horizontally. The tongue should be facing downward and the groove should be facing upward. Use blind nails or screws to connect the wood boards. 

By the way, you can choose any wood board. It can be MDF or HDF

If your sliding is up to 6 inches, use blind nails. We are suggesting two of the best blind nails kits available in the market. 

Product 1
Product 2

You can pick any of the kits. Choose wisely before implementing any of them.

You can use one siding nail per toe nailed through the base of every tongue. And for wider sliding, you should be using two nails per piece of wood. The nails will penetrate the wood approximately 1-1/4 inches.


In the vertical method start at the corner and work toward the next wall using the grooved edge. To flush fit the wood board the first board groove edge must be trimmed.  

Ensure it is installed correctly by using a pump line or a level. Siding must be nailed into the horizontal blocking lines now. These lines are installed between furring or to stud strips. 

Again in vertical installation, you should use blind nails for boards that are 6 inches. And wider pieces of wood boards should be face nailed.

These are the two methods of installing tongue and groove siding:

Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Tongue & Groove Siding

Before we move on to installation. You need to pick how you want it: horizontal or vertical. 

Both horizontal and vertical installation is quite the same. There is little to no difference between them. We have clarified them earlier in the horizontal and vertical portions. Just select your preferred option and start the installation process. 

Follow the below steps to install the tongue and groove siding!

Step 1: Plan Your LayOut

This is the first step. As needed, use building paper, self-stick flashings at corners, and metal flashings around windows. Draw vertical chalk lines indicating stud centers. 

Layout the courses using a story pole. As there is no water table, you have to elevate or lower the bottom piece. A couple of inches will be enough to get the desired course layout.

By the way, if you want to install cabinets on your wall, you have to plan it in this step. It’s easier this way. Furthermore, check that the bottom course is at least 6 inches above grade. 

Step 2: Protect the Wooden Pieces 

In this step take extra precautions to safeguard the backs, cut ends, and edges. Using a roller or a sprayer, apply several applications of sealant. 

Alternatively, construct a long trough lined with plastic sheeting. Soak each board in sealant for a few minutes.

Step 3: Make a Preacher

Create a “Preacher” now out of a spare piece of timber. Moreover, you can also do paneling to help you mark the boards for cutting. The preacher should be 8 inches longer than the siding boards’ width. 

Remember the notches should be cut properly. This way your preacher will fit tightly around the marked board.

Step 4: Cut Your Boards to Fit Properly

This step is very crucial. Cut the wooden boards so that they fit snugly. Cut it against the abutting or trim siding pieces. To do this, attach a radial arm or miter saw to your saw table. 

You might want to use a wet saw. This is usually used for cutting marble tiles to avoid chipping. But the ones we mentioned will be the right fit. 

Provide support for the siding boards on either side. Set up a comfortable cutting station if you’re going to use a circular saw.

Step 5: Use Flashing

This will protect the wood. Apply waterproof shingle underlayment or strips of self-stick flashing behind each butt joint. 

When installing shiplap, flexible flashing is a wonderful choice. Because it can mold around the lap while still efficiently sealing off moisture.

Step 6: Use A Stain or Sealer

This is the last and most important step. Apply a sealer/stain that has been recommended for usage in your location. 

Here are the suggestions regarding sealer/sealant-

Product 1
Product 2

Once you get the sealer, use a paintbrush to apply it to all the joints. Pay careful attention to the undersides of the boards. 

Apply multiple layers of sealant. Inspect to ensure that all joints are adequately coated afterward. All joints should be caulked with high-quality exterior caulk. You can also apply multiple coats of primer as an alternative option. 

This is how to install the tongue and groove siding. These are very simple steps for installing the tongue and groove siding at once. 


Question: Is shiplap identical with tongue and groove?

Answer: People frequently ask us to compare shiplap to tongue and groove. This is incorrect shiplap is a tongue and groove itself. Shiplap is a type of tongue and groove. Instead of shiplap, you might consider a half-lap. Which does not have a tongue and groove fit.

Question: Are tongue and groove appropriate for decking?

Answer: Yes, it’s appropriate for decking. The tongue and groove design for wooden boards make them perfect for numerous uses. And it is notably popular in the flooring business. It can be used for decking. It is more commonly found on small outdoor patios and covered porches. But you can use it for decking as well.

Question: Should the tongue and groove be painted before or after installation?

Answer: Before installing tongue and groove boards, make sure they’re finished. Then the tongues will be totally painted and no unfinished stripes will show afterward. You could also use paint to finish your boards if you want a white shiplap ceiling.


We hope you now understand how to install tongue and groove siding. If not, we are ready to help you anytime. You can also take professional help if you need assistance.

See you soon!