Does Nailing Siding to Studs Make Any Difference? (Solved!)

There’s nothing more disastrous than an improperly nailed or wrongly secured siding. It leaves a home vulnerable to weather damages and pest intrusions and can cost considerably to rectify or repair if not detected early.

As you can infer from the previous point, how you secure your siding in place is of great significance. Siding can be nailed into studs directly or through an exterior sheathing.

They can also be fastened to sheathing without penetrating a building’s framing or studs, but this method of installation is pretty uncommon.

In this article, we will address all the misgivings you might have about nailing siding into studs and share all there is to know about the materials you’d be working with.

Here’s if Siding Needs to Be Nailed Into Studs:

In most cases, it is required that you nail siding into studs through exterior sheathing. Few situations permit siding to be nailed directly into studs or only exterior sheathing. The method of installation you use depends on the manufacturer’s recommendations and your local building code.

Where Should You Nail Your Siding?

When installing siding, you must nail it in spots that allow your nails to penetrate a stud. A general rule of thumb is to nail every 16 inches of your siding, as most wall studs are spaced 16 inches apart. 

It’s best you use a stud finder to locate the framing of your home before nailing on your siding. This tool will ensure that you easily get the job done. It is inexpensive and super easy to use. 

A common mistake most DIYers or builders make when installing siding is nailing it on too tight; this can cause warping, bulges, or cracks. 

Siding should be loosely nailed into studs to provide an allowance for it to contract or expand when temperature changes inevitably occur. 

Experts recommend that every nail used to secure siding to studs or any underlying structure should be at least 1/32 inches loose.

Avoid nailing overlapping pieces of siding together if you want to be able to replace these finishes with ease and minimal damage.  

You don’t want a case whereby you’d have to take out an entire row of siding boards to replace one damaged finish. 

Homeowners with siding boards nailed in place with facing nails are very familiar with the scenario painted above.

Here’s why facing nails are not the best fasteners for siding,

  1. Renders Warranties Void

Most professional contractors steer clear of face-nailed siding board repairs because they are not straightforward to carry out.

They’d rather persuade or convince you to replace an entire row of siding than attempt to repair a damaged face-nailed siding board.

Before using facing nails to install siding boards, find out if the manufacturer recommends them. If they don’t, do not use them, as they would most likely void your warranty.

  1. Makes Siding Hard to Replace

As I hinted at earlier, a siding board nailed in place with facing nails is not easy to replace.

Facing nails go through two boards instead of one, so when a damaged siding board needs a replacement, you’d have to take out the damaged board and the one above it.

Since the board above the damaged board is also nailed to another board above it, you’d also have to remove the siding board above that board.

You pretty much get why these nails make siding boards hard to replace.

  1. Can Cause Damage

Siding boards are often made or designed with designated spots for nails. Failure to nail your facing nails into these spots can cause significant damage.

Additionally, you mustn’t hammer on these nails too hard. Each nail should be loosely nailed into the siding and substrate.

Deeply nailed facing-nails will cause siding boards to splinter or warp as time goes by.

  1. Exposes Buildings to Moisture

Securing siding boards with facing nails increases the chances of leaks developing in the substrate.

Once leaks develop behind your siding, your home’s insulation becomes susceptible to water damage. This problem is quite hard to fix.  

The best way to fasten siding boards to a substrate is through the blind nailing technique.

It entails nailing a siding board independently, overlapping the nailed part of the board with another siding board, and then nailing the new board.

Blind nailing is very safe and protects siding boards from cracks and warping.

Can You Nail Siding on OSB?

Oriented strand board (OSB) is an engineered wood that can be used on the exterior and interior of a building or structure. 

It can withstand water and fares better than many building products when exposed to the sun.

OSB is often used in place of common wood plank or plywood because it’s super affordable and performs just as well as the woods mentioned previously. 

If you’re not too sure whether this building product can be used as a nail base for your siding, the following point will provide some clarification. 

You can nail siding on OSB. It is recommended by both national and international building codes for wall sheathing and has considerable holding power. 

Aside from being water resistant, OSB is long-lasting, so you can’t go wrong with it as a substrate.

Can You Nail Siding on Plywood?

Before OSB became a widely accepted nail base for siding, plywood was what most builders used underneath these exterior finishes. So, it is very much possible to nail siding into this composite.

What makes plywood a great nail base for siding is its strength and stiffness. Plywood is made of cross-laminated layers of full wood veneers; this composition causes it to expand and contract less frequently.

There isn’t much difference between a plywood and OSB nail base, both options can hold fasteners quite well, but the first product is more expensive than the latter.

Sometimes there are weak spots in plywood that cause core voids, so if you choose to work with this material, you should buy it in person to properly assess it.

Why Shouldn’t You Nail the Siding to Studs?

At some point in time, nailing siding directly to studs was standard practice. It was later discovered that this approach to installing these finishes gradually deteriorates the strength of a building. 

Although a safe approach to installing these wall claddings was devised, modern structures can be found today with siding directly nailed to studs. 

These structures have a specific type of siding on their exterior called metal siding. Metal siding panels are the only types of siding permitted to be nailed directly to studs. 

Now that we’ve gotten this out of the way let’s take a look at the best way to install these exterior finishes. 

  • The first step to properly and safely installing siding is covering your building’s framing or studs with a sheathing material like plywood, OSB, or a wafer-board. 
  • If your building already has a substrate, you may proceed to do the following, nail your siding into the studs of your building through the sheathing. 

Nailing siding to only sheathing is also a safe approach, but check in with the manufacturers of your finish and your local building code to find out which method is best for your siding type.  


Whether you’re a DIY’er or builder, it’s important to adopt practices that are functional and contribute to the overall safety and durability of your building project.

The two best ways to fasten siding are into studs through the exterior sheathing and only the sheathing.

Do not nail siding directly to studs if the manufacturer does not recommend it.

Also, ensure the type of sheathing you have is compatible with your siding. Plywood and OSB are generally great sheathing materials for siding.