Vinyl siding is the most easily damaged of all siding materials. It can be dented by hailstones or by a rock thrown by a lawn mower, or it can be melted by the heat of a fire pit or a grill that is placed too close to it. However, with basic carpentry skills, an extra piece of siding material, and a few tools, you can make simple repairs yourself.
In addition to an extra piece of siding, you will need the following tools:
- A zip tool or vinyl siding removal tool
- Spacers (optional)
- A pry bar
- Tin snips
- A claw hammer
- A utility knife with a new blade
- A carpenter’s square
- Galvanized nails
The zip tool or vinyl siding removal tool has a sturdy handle and a specially shaped, wide, flat steel blade that curves into a narrow hook at the end, according to How To Do It Yourself. You should be able to find one at your local home improvement store for less than five dollars.
Matching Your Siding
If you don’t have a piece of matching vinyl siding, take a sample of your siding to a dealer for replacements. If you can’t find a match from your dealer or at a local building store, try salvage yards and building contractors. If an exact match is still not available, remove a replacement piece from a less visible area, such as the back of your garage, and use that as the replacement piece in the more visible area. Put the newly purchased near match in the less visible area.
Removing the Siding
This Old House offers a helpful video demonstration featuring general contractor Tom Silva.
Work with the panel above the damaged one, and start at the seam nearest the damaged area. You need to pull the panel above the damaged one up so that you can get to the nailed edge of the damaged panel. However, the bottom edge of the panel above the damaged one interlocks with the upper edge of the damaged panel. The zip tool unlocks the two panels.
Slide the zip tool under the seam edge of the panel above the damaged one. As you move from one end of the panel to the other, pull the zip tool toward you and down at the same time. The interlocked panels should pop free from each other. You can place spacers between the panels to give you more room to work.
Next, use either the pry bar or the end of the claw hammer to remove the nails that are directly above the damaged area. The nails will be more difficult to remove if the siding has been in place for a long time.
Once the nails are removed, use the tin snips to cut out the damaged section. Examine the area underneath the damaged panel, especially if more than one panel has been damaged. If there is damage to the wall underneath the siding, contact a home repair expert.
Installing the Replacement Panel
If only the siding is damaged, carefully measure the damaged section that you have removed. Make sure your replacement piece is at least three inches longer than the section that you are replacing to allow the replacement piece to overlap by an inch and a half on each end. If the replacement piece is too long, measure carefully, transfer the measurement to the replacement piece, and use the carpenter’s square to mark the cut so that it forms an exact 90-degree angle. Use the utility knife to cut the replacement piece to the correct length.
To ensure that the replacement panel can be installed easily, use the utility knife to trim the nail hem back from each end by two inches. Slide the replacement panel into place and nail it down. You can use the old nail holes as a guide. The nails should be about 12 inches apart and penetrate the framing or furring strip by at least a quarter of an inch. However, do not drive the nails in all of the way. Finally slide the zip tool under the panel above the replacement panel and pull downward to interlock the upper panel and the lower, replacement panel once again.
Related Resource: Choosing the Right Windows For a Room
By following these step-by-step instructions, you should be able to repair your dented or melted vinyl siding simply and easily.