Level Up Your DIY Skills: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Perfectly Level Starter Row for Exterior Siding Installation with Dodge Hangers!


In the world of DIY, leveling is a crucial skill to master. Whether you're installing siding or building a deck, creating a level starter row is the foundation for a successful project. A level starter row ensures that the rest of your work will be straight, sturdy, and visually appealing. In this step-by-step guide, we'll walk you through the process of creating a perfectly level starter row for exteriors, from understanding its importance to troubleshooting common problems.


Understanding the Importance of a Level Starter Row

A level starter row serves as the base for your project, providing stability and alignment. It not only ensures the structural integrity of your work but also contributes to its aesthetic appeal. Here's why a level starter row matters:

  1. Structural integrity: A level starter row creates a solid foundation for the rest of your project, preventing future issues such as sagging or misalignment.
  2. Visual appeal: A level starter row sets the tone for the entire project. If it's crooked or uneven, the whole project will look unprofessional and unfinished.
  3. Easier installation: A level starter row makes the installation process smoother and more efficient because subsequent rows or panels will align perfectly.

Why a Level Starter Row Matters

When it comes to exteriors, a level starter row is particularly important. Exposed to the elements, the exterior of your home needs to withstand wind, rain, and other weather conditions. A level starter row ensures that your installation is secure and protects your home from moisture infiltration and other potential issues.

A level starter row not only provides a solid foundation but also acts as a barrier against water damage. By ensuring that the first row is level, you prevent water from seeping into the structure and causing rot or mold growth. This is especially crucial for areas with heavy rainfall or high humidity.

In addition to protecting against moisture, a level starter row also plays a role in energy efficiency. When the first row is properly aligned, it allows for a tighter seal between the panels or rows, reducing air leakage. This helps in maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature and can lead to energy savings in the long run.

Discover the key features of Dodge Hangers® and how they can elevate your construction projects, ensuring you achieve results that surpass what you could achieve alone.







Common Mistakes in Installing Starter Rows


Even though creating a level starter row may seem simple, there are some common mistakes to watch out for:

  • Not checking for level: Neglecting to check the levelness of your starter row can lead to a cascade of problems throughout your project. It's important to use a level and ensure that the first row is perfectly horizontal or vertical, depending on the project requirements.
  • Ignoring adjustments: If your starter row isn't level, it's important to make adjustments as needed. Ignoring the problem will only worsen the situation. Take the time to properly align the first row before proceeding with the rest of the installation.
  • Improper measurements: Accurate measurements are essential for precisely placing your starter strip. Failing to measure correctly can result in misalignment. Use a tape measure or other measuring tools to ensure that the starter row is positioned correctly, taking into account any necessary gaps or overlaps.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your level starter row serves its purpose effectively and sets the stage for a successful project. Remember, taking the time to properly install the starter row will save you headaches and potential issues down the line.


Troubleshooting Common Problems

Dealing with Uneven Ground or Walls

In some cases, the ground or wall may not be perfectly level, presenting a challenge when installing a starter row. To overcome this problem, consider using shims or adjusting the height of the starter strip at specific points to compensate for the unevenness.

Adjusting for Out-of-Level Conditions

If you encounter out-of-level conditions in your starter row, it's critical to address them promptly. Adjust the levelness at the earliest stage of the installation process to prevent further complications down the line.


Recommended Products


  • Install the starter row of siding 1” below the bottom edge of the sheathing to protect the water sensitive skin of the building.

Recommended Products:


Dodge Hangers Rear 15 Series

💁 It will hang your wall sheathing or siding material with a 1" drop.  Compatible with the Dodge Hanger Corner 15 (DHC15 series), which are for the outside corners of the building. 

✅ Dodge Hanger Top Leveler 15 Series

💁It will hang the material with a 1" drop and allow you to work on out of level foundations by popping a chaulk line and installing to the line.

They are compatible with the Dodge Hanger Corner 15 series (DHC15) outside corners for installing your wall sheathing and siding. 



    • Install the starter row of the siding even or flush with the bottom of the sheathing.
    • Install the starter row of the sheathing even or flush with the mudsill.

    Recommended Products:


    ✅ Dodge Hangers Bottom 25 Series 

    💁 It will hang the material flush with the mudsill for a no drop installation of your wall sheathing or siding.  It will hang your roof decking flush with the edge of the rafter tail end.


    💁 Compatible with the Dodge Hanger Corner 0 Series for outside corners.


    In conclusion, Dodge Hangers® are the affordable, high-quality proprietary hardware you've been waiting for to take your siding installation to the next level. With their precision-focused design, you can effortlessly create a perfectly level starter row, setting the stage for a flawless siding installation. Don't let a seemingly small detail undermine the beauty and durability of your building's exterior. Embrace the power of Dodge Hangers® and witness the remarkable difference they make in your DIY or professional siding project. Experience the ease and efficiency of siding installation like never before - it's time to elevate your game!



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