Installation Procedure for Tongue and Groove Wood Siding (Top Down-Installation):
The top-down approach to tongue and groove wood siding installation is about the same as the normal bottom-up approach. After a tongue and groove wood siding piece was cut to the desired length, you place the tongue into the groove of the board above. Then you gently tap the bottom of the board with a hammer, just to get the boards to stay together. There are lots of tongue-and-groove products that are machine-made and very precise, so they fit together easily. But wood tongue and groove 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. Tongue and Groove Wood Siding Products from Brown and Rutherford make installation much easier since they have been checked for consistency and quality. You'll have a lot less problems with those.
Note: The board above this new piece has not been completely nailed yet. we leave out all the nails along the bottom portion, so the board can be tilted outward, making it easier to get the new piece started. Once the tongue is definitely started in the groove, you place a scrap of siding in the groove below and hammer the new board upwards. You clip off the groove on this scrap, so it doesn't get mangled so fast. Then check the board with a level. This can be a slow process for a picky perfectionist. We drive 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. They usually pull out through the bottom of the board without damage in case you have to remove the boards.
Then you nail the lower portion of the board above. Nail into the studs where possible, giving you a 16 inch spacing between nails. Snap chalk lines over the stud locations prior to installing the siding. We also recommend using a nail set to sink the nail heads just below the surface of the wood.
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 this 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). We used this odd-ball method because we needed to work with the existing siding over a garage door.