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Siding Directly on Studs: Everything You Need to Know

Planning whether to build an unheated garage space or not? Probably, you’re inspired by some old houses. But should you use last century’s building practices today? We don’t think it’s a wise choice.

Now you must be wondering should you install siding directly on studs

No, you shouldn’t put siding directly on the studs. It can hamper the building’s strength. But if you’re willing to do this, you can only install metal siding. But don’t ever attempt it with vinyl ones.

Now that you’ve got the essence of the whole article, it’s time to go deeper. Just stick with us until the end. You’ll gain a complete idea about this topic by then.

Let’s jump right into the details!

Why You Shouldn’t Apply Siding on Studs

You shouldn’t put sidings directly on the studs. Mostly because, without a sheathing between, the structure will lose its strength. 

Direct siding can be found in some old houses. Since people didn’t have plywood at that time. 

Most builders suggest a layer of sheathing or plywood to strengthen the building. But using plywood isn’t as beneficial anyways, because it can rot easily

Some also suggest installing vinyl or plastic flashing for water prevention. It can also give sheer strength to the structure.

The thing is-

Some builders do think you can have direct siding on top of studs. But some sort of air and moisture barrier must be installed within. 

Most importantly, it should be installed inside jointed sidings. That’s because snow, rainwater, and foggy wind can blow through the joints.

Long story short, it’s better that you don’t install sidings directly on studs. 

What To Do Before Installing

You need to have some basic preparation before starting the installation process. So, here’s what to do before jumping into the main part. Here it goes- 

Choose the Right Siding

Only metal sidings can be used directly on the stud. But trust me, even this isn’t suggested by the builders.

This is correct considering the rule book. But experts usually recommend using a sheathing layer whatsoever.  

Another thing, vinyl siding can never be installed directly on studs. It’s strictly prohibited because vinyl siding needs a smooth surface. 

For installing it directly, use some other siding like metal siding. 

Keep an eye out for rotten plywood, if you’re using any plywood under your siding.

Find The Stud First!

Before you jump in, it’s important to know where the studs are. As you’re planning to put the sidings directly on them. 

For this, you can use a stud finder, but they’re not that effective. Another option is expensive X-Ray units, which can locate studs very easily. But if you use a cheaper way, that might not give you accurate results all the time. 

You also have to deal with the exterior cladding, thick drywall, and boxing. Ultimately, all these layers make it difficult to detect studs. 

In a word, finding a stud is tough especially when it’s behind the aluminum siding. 

To save your day, you can try out magnets. These can help you locate the stud by detecting the screw. However, this might also be ineffective. And if this doesn’t work for you, don’t lose hope. We’ve got another method for you.

According to building rules, one stud is placed 16 inches from the center of two respective studs. 

It’s a very professional way of detecting studs. Chances are only experts can locate it by feeling it with their hammer and using sound. 

Once you’ve found the studs, you can work with siding!

Select the Correct Nail

When installing the siding, the nails are indeed important. At the end of the day, these attach the siding. 

For siding installation, the ‘Blind nailing’ method is the most preferred method. The nails are placed between one inch to three-quarter inches. 

Now considering a perfect-sized nail for this. Its dimensions should be 5/16” diameter head, 1/8” diameter shaft, and 1-1/8” long.

Keep in mind that nails can get rusty. So, try using corrosion-resistant nails. Moreover, you might try using nails with extra grip for nailing into a thick stud. It can hold on to the stud more tightly. 

How To Install Siding on Studs 

Yeah, we’re gonna say it again. 

Putting siding directly on top of studs is almost like a taboo. 

To tackle this, you can try putting a layer of sheathing in between. Because it can give a smooth texture. Which is super important for installing siding. 

Some builders do suggest using metal sheet siding directly on studs. Especially if you’re working on your garage or detached shed. 

Still, if you’re really interested to do this, we’re here for you. Here’s the 4-step process for you!

Step 1: Gathering the Equipment

First of all, try to gather all the necessary pieces of equipment. For this project, you’ll need some common items. The list of necessary tools are:

  • Nails
  • Hammer 
  • Adhesives 
  • Measurement tape 
  • Mask
  • Goggles
  • Siding (of your choice)
  • Stud Finder/ Magnets
  • Paint and paintbrushes (optional)

You’re finally done with arranging your toolbox. Let’s move on to the next step.

Step 2: Taking Measurement 

Now that you’ve gathered all the tools, it’s time to get to the real business. 

First, take a measurement of the installation area. Based on this, you can calculate the size and amount of sidings needed. 

Measure the length and height of the wall. Then put them in the formula of the total area. It’s the multiplied result of the length and the height. 

Make a quick calculation about how many siding tiles you’ll need too. Then divide the total area by the siding tile area to get the number.

Use measuring tapes to take the measurement. Then mark the lines to make the whole task easier. 

Now let’s move on to the next part. 

Step 3: Nailing the Siding

Put the siding in its position and then use the hammer to nail it properly. Don’t forget to use your mask and goggles while doing this. Because all that hammering might get pretty dangerous. 

You might not have enough idea about goggles. So here are some of our best picks:

Product 1
Product 2

Hopefully, you’ll pick the perfect one for yourself. 

At this point, you’re not using any inner sheathing. So that your surface isn’t that rigid and good for nailing. For this reason, you should be extra careful on this part. 

Make sure the sidings are properly stuck with the stud. So they’ve no chance of falling off. 

Step 4: Painting the Siding

For a better outlook, you can paint and decorate the wall. This isn’t mandatory. However, you can do this for a smooth and good-looking finish. 

Voila, you’re done with the installation part. 


Question: Does siding need to be nailed into studs?
Answer: It’s better if you can apply siding on a smooth surface. Sheathing can be a very good option. For instance, vinyl siding should never be installed on top of a stud without a sheathing layer. 

Question: Does a stud finder work through siding?
Answer: By using cheaper approaches, it’s a bit hard to find a stud. The electronic stud finder that most homeowners use faces difficulty to find studs through the thick exterior cladding. 

Question: Are there studs on every wall?
Answer: Every house is different but theoretically they should have stud especially on windows and door sides. Most homes are built with 2×6 and 2×4 studs.

Final Words 

This all for you. Now you can decide if you want to install siding directly on studs

Best of luck to you. Hopefully, you’ll have a wonderful experience. Don’t forget to be careful when working with such tools.