Skill and Life Training are Part of the YouthBuild USA Experience

Little did I know that when I accepted the invitation to participate in theYouthBuild USA sponsorship launch in Worcester, Massachusetts that I would actually be put to work! 

My first professional job when I finished college was in Worcester and it was nice to return, especially to take part in an event bringing student skills training and neighborhood rebuilding together.

CertainTeed’s parent company Saint-Gobain recently launched a three-year partnership to support YouthBuild USA projects in Philadelphia, PA; Worcester, MA; Schenectady, NY and Akron, OH. The sponsorship is not just financial but includes product donations, technical expertise and training.

While it is always nice to be part of a check presentation supporting an organization providing valuable service and training to youth, this particular event brought in a new and personally gratifying dimension for me – the opportunity to work along side the teachers and the students from YouthBuild.

I was assigned to a team installing a CertainTeed Evernew® deck and railing on the back portion of the building. Other groups were working on installing CertaWrap™ house wrap and our Weatherboards™ fiber cement siding product.

I don’t usually have the opportunity to get ‘hands on’ with building materials and had forgotten how important math skills and teamwork are in the building trades.  The YouthBuild teacher would ask the students questions about the measurements and checking on the accuracy before cutting product. It was obvious this had recently been part of the classroom instruction for these apprentices.

I also realized that what makes YouthBuild special is that not just the teaching of building skills but the development of life skills that these students experience by showing up every day.  For example, the importance of listening to the instructor or foreman on a worksite, the attention to detail, applying knowledge learned, working well with others, the commitment to completing the job, and the pride in seeing the finished product.

We should all be reminded of the value in an honest day’s work.  I could see it in the accomplishments of these students in Worcester.

Eric Nilsson

Eric Nilsson is Vice President, Corporate Marketing for CertainTeed Corporation

Tips for Quality Installation of Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement siding is gaining traction in the marketplace for exterior cladding because it is extremely durable, resistant to everyday “dings” and can not be penetrated by wood-boring pests. As more consumers choose fiber cement siding when residing their homes it is important to be aware of the best installation methods.

Improper installation is the number one reason for callbacks, repairs, and warranty claims.  To minimize problems and keep customers satisfied, contractors need to be sure they understand and implement proper fiber cement siding installation techniques.

The following are some helpful tips to keep in mind when installing fiber cement siding:

1. Nail Placement 

  • Use non-corrosive double hot-dipped galvanized or stainless steel siding nails.
  • Do not use D-head nails, staples, finishing nails and/or construction adhesives to install fiber cement siding.
  • When fastening, nails must penetrate a minimum of 1-1/4″ into structural framing.
  • Structural rated sheathing must be a minimum of 7/16″ Oriented-Strand Board (OSB) or 1/2″ plywood.
  • Nails must be flush to the surface of material.
  • When blind nailing place nail 1″ down from the top of the board and when face nailing place nail 3/4″ up from the bottom.

2. Do not over drive or angle nails

  • Improper fastening can affect the performance of the siding.
  • Overdriving the nails can weaken the holding power, can cause moisture management issues and can cause hairline fractures in the siding. 

3. Leave room for expansion and contraction

  • Allow 1/8” at all trim locations.
  • Butt end/joints should be installed with factory-sealed or factory-prefinished ends butted together in moderate contact.

For more information on proper installation techniques, consult the current CertainTeed Fiber Cement Siding Installation Manual on certainteed.com, or call 800-233-8990 for a copy.