Rustic Curb Appeal: Polymer Shingle Installation Tips


CertainTeed’s Cedar Impressions® Individual 5″ Sawmill Shingles have many benefits – including a stunningly realistic aged cedar shingle look, longevity and relatively low maintenance needs. In order to achieve the homeowners desired look, there are several steps that installation contractors should follow.

Below are a few tips to simplify the installation process, however, always be sure to read the installation guide, review the installation video and ask questions before installing any product.

Prepare the wall surface

It’s essential for the wall to be smooth and flat before installation – the more even the wall surface, the better the finished installation will look. Install the shingles over a solid substrate, such as plywood or OSB, which must be weathertight.

Next, before the siding goes on, apply CertaWrap™ Weather Resistant Barrier, which provides an added layer of protection against air and moisture damage. Make sure the housewrap is fastened securely to the studs and provides a smooth, even surface. Use the appropriate recommended fasteners and fastening schedule for your application. When attaching CertaWrap on wood-base sheathing, such as 7/16″ OSB or 15/32″ plywood, apply plastic-capped staples or plastic-capped nails every 32″ vertically and horizontally. Then use CertaTape™ high-strength coated polypropylene film to easily seal seams and edges on window flanges, corners, joints, rips, punctures and tears.

Mix the shingles

The shingles come in three shades (light, medium, dark) and varying widths. To avoid installing the shingles in a definite color pattern (it should be random), place half of a box of each shade on end (upside down and upright) in a medium-sized plastic tote and then mix/shuffle the colors. The installer will still be able to see the widths of each shingle, but won’t need to worry about which color to use next. The more time spent focused on the color shade, the higher the chance of patterns emerging that will make the house look unnatural. Obsessing over which color to pick next will also add time to the installation process. As the installer gains experience with the product, he’ll develop an eye for which width to use next.

Use a ledger

How to install Cedar Impressions shingle siding like a pro

Tip: Repurpose an EZ shear tool to help with installation.

A ledger is a straight edge, usually a board, that is used to keep shingles level for proper installation.

There are two ways to use ledgers while installing polymer shingles:

  1. Temporarily fasten the ledger to the wall so the top of each shingle will butt up to it. This method can be used to install CertainTeed’s Cedar Impressions shingles because they are uniform in height.
  2. Use a hanging ledger that has uprights permanently secured to the ledger board. The uprights need to be tall enough so that when they are temporarily fastened to the wall above, the shingles will have enough room to fit under them. This method allows the installer to rest the row of shingles on it and view it for satisfaction before fastening.

Repurpose an EZ Shear

An EZ Shear is a cutting tool that is generally used for laminate flooring. However, it can also come in handy when installing polymer shingles. It’s lightweight and does not require any electricity, making it easy to have close by on the staging. Most importantly, it’s safer than using a high-speed moving blade that also comes with the possibility of an electric shock.

We have found that these tips work well to help ensure a successful installation and hope that you do as well.

For more information, contact your local territory manager or call 800-233-8990.

 Jay Sweeney is Product Application Specialist for CertainTeed.

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