Use Gecko Gauges For Easy Installation of James Hardie Siding

Gecko Gauges makes installing James Hardie siding a breeze!

If you have ever struggled to install any kind fiber cement product, you know the problem is how awkward & heavy it can be. 

Each 8- ¼ wide board of James Hardie siding weighs about 2.3 lbs per linear foot.  Boards commonly come in 12 foot lengths. So that means (after some quick sider math) you are lifting roughly 19 pounds of sand & cement!  That can become very exhausting; quite quickly as you attempt to hold the board level against the wall, then attach it. (no wonder why my shoulders hurt!)

Thankfully someone created a light weigh, power lifting tool that gives you the helping hand you need to install your siding.

Gecko Gauges or Gecko Clips are designed hold the board at just the right height, while freeing up your hands to installed the necessary back flashings & nail on the fiber cement board course.

Are Gecko Gauges adjustable?

Yes, definitely!  These handy little tools can be adjusted and set anywhere between 4 inches and 8- ¼  inches, in steady 1/4 inch increments. This allows you set the gauges for all the different reveals.  

Won’t Gecko Gauges damage my Hardie Siding?

Most of the Gecko clips are made from a hard dense plastic, except for the for the metal lip that tucks behind the siding.  (Although, they come in a heavy-duty aluminum style as well.) The locking grip is made with a strong rubber type material that will not damage the front face of the siding.

When fiber cement board first hit the market place it had a sharp bottom drip edge that could easily be chipped or damaged.   But as Hardie continued to evolve, the manufacturers realized that a rounded drip edge is more durable and cleaner in appearance.  The Gecko gauges evolved alongside the siding boards and won’t scar or damage the front surface of the siding boards. If you notice any scuffing, you may be tightening down the gauges too far.  Back out of it a bit there Popeye, no spinach needed for these little clips.

How to use the Gecko Gauges.

First – set the gauge to the reveal you want. (the part of the board you want to show or reveal to the world.)  To do this, simply remove the bolt holding the 2 parts of the gecko gauge together. Then adjust it to the proper position or height selection and tighten it back up. The most common reveal that we use is a 7 inch reveal.

Next, slide the Gecko clip underneath the last installed row of siding.  Being sure the gauge is square to the last board. Push the cam handle up, until the gauge tightens to the bottom board. If you have 2 gauges try to space them out to help distribute the weight of the board evenly between the two clips.

Place the Hardie board you would like to install onto the two rails of the Gecko gauge.  Be sure to check that the Hardie board is resting on the rails and is square or perpendicular to the plank. 

When sliding the board into the gauge, be caution to not bump it.  A forceful bump can shift the gauge downward, causing and error to your reference line.

Once securely seated, nail the board to the wall, nailing at each stud. After you have finished nailing board on, remove the gauges by pulling down on the cam-over lever and releasing the gauge.   Gentle slip the gauge out from behind the board and move the clip over to your next section. And repeat.

Check every 3 to 5 rows that you have not developed an error in the course or line of siding being installed.  To do this we install our first row of siding, measure up in increments of 7 inches (as high as we can reach), then we install 3 rows using the Gecko Gauges.  Before installing the 4th row, we snap a chalk line at the next row’s measurement.   From there we simply use the caulk line as reference measurement. Double checking the distance from the caulk line, to the top of the last row installed.  You should be at 7 inches. If not, do a course correction on the next row. And continue until the product is completely installed.

Benefits of the Gecko Gauge

Installing a fiber cement product can be back breaking work.  The main benefit of using the gauges is to help hold the weight of the product while you do the installation.   The second benefit is that each row will be set to the perfect height.

I find that am not as tired at the end of the day when I don’t have to hold the Hardie board up against the wall, fumble to find my Hardie Nailer and hopefully get one nail in the board before my arms power out.

Before we got the geckos, we would chalk line every row on the wall; hold the board up to the line and nail it on. We now we only chalk line every 3 to 5 row to check to see if we are coming up the wall at the same rate. 

The Gecko Gauges make a one-person Installation incredibly easy.

Conclusion

These light weight, durable little clips are a must have for any siding installers/ do it yourselfer’s tool belt. 

Not only will they save you time and energy, but they really are like an extra pair of hands helping you install your beautiful new siding. 

The gauges assist the installer with accuracy and turns a two man job into a one person installation.  We highly recommend them!