How Do You Install Vinyl Siding?

Installing Vinyl SidingIf you have put off a home improvement project before, because you weren’t quite sure how to install vinyl siding, wait no more. When you have the right tools and realize how simple the process of installation is, you’ll wonder why you’ve been avoiding the project for so long anyway. Installing vinyl siding yourself can save a ton of money, and you’ll still get the same professional-looking results. Learn everything you need to know about removing and installing vinyl siding, so you can get out there and do it yourself.

Preparing for Your Vinyl Siding Project

Like most home projects, removal and installation of vinyl siding requires a bit of knowhow as well as some specialized tools to make the process easier and faster. Additionally, be sure to request the complete instructions for your vinyl from the product’s manufacturer. The manufacturer typically provides instructions that are unique to the brand, and it’s important that you know this information as well.

You don’t have to have any special skill to work with vinyl siding; however, you do need one important tool – an unlocking tool also known as a zip tool, according to Family Handyman. Additionally, if you plan on covering new areas with siding, you’ll need a snap-lock punch. You should also invest in some new trim pieces to go around any windows. You’ll likely want to types – J-channel to place around your windows and undersill trim.

In addition to these items, you’ll also need a few other common tools and materials. Collect these items before you begin your project to avoid later frustration.

  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Stud finder
  • Level
  • Stepladder
  • Pry bar
  • Sawhorses
  • Speed square
  • Utility knife
  • Tool belt
  • Tin snips
  • Zip tool
  • Siding
  • J-channel
  • Undersill
  • Aluminum flashing
  • Building paper

Important Considerations Before You Begin

You need to allow your siding room to expand and contract. For that reason, you need to be sure to avoid driving nails in too tightly. There should be approximately 1/16 in. between the nail head and the vinyl. Also, be sure to cut the siding in lengths that allows for expansion. Provide for a ¼ in. gap for expansion anywhere siding butts accessories. The gap will be covered by trim pieces.

Also, take special care when nailing siding. Use corrosion-resistant galvanized, stainless steel or aluminum roofing nails. Center nails in the slots, driving them straight and level to avoid buckling of the panel. Pay attention to nail spacing as well, as the panels should be nailed 12 in. to 16 in. on center.

Removing Siding

Before you begin installation, you need to remove the old siding, assuming you’re simply replacing siding. You can remove a panel from anywhere on the wall. Just locate the piece you plan to remove and unlock the panel above it with the zip tool. If you’re having difficulty, try an end or look for a loose spot. Once you have it unlocked, place a flat bar behind the nail heads to loosen them. Bow the piece of vinyl to release it from the trip pieces, or slide the piece up or down to move it past the window and J-channel.

Preparing the Surface

After you’ve removed the siding as necessary, prepare the surface for installation. Secure any loose boards and trip, and scrape away any old caulking from around the windows and doors. Take down any downspouts, lighting fixtures, and moulding. Also, be sure to tie back any shrubbery or trees that are close to the work area.

If furring is necessary, install it next. This component helps even out walls in some older homes where this may be an issue. Depending on the surface of your home, you’ll need different styles, typically either lath strips, wood strips, or horizontal strips.

Installing the Siding

Once you have prepared the surface, it’s time to actually begin installation. Start by measuring and cutting a corner post. Be sure to leave a ½ in. gap between the top of the post and the eave of the house. Once you’ve measured for the post, measure the length of siding you need. Then mark and cut the piece you need. Snips work well for cutting. Install the corner post, nailing at the top of the post and every 12 inches. Be sure to check for plumb prior to nailing all the way down.

Make a horizontal chalk line to line up the first horizontal piece, lay the top strip along the line, and check that it is level. Nail this starter strip in place every 10 inches.

If the wall has a window, trim the ends of a J-channel trim piece to fit two channel widths wider than the window itself. Install the trim under the window. Measure and cut the trim pieces, and install them on either side. Nail the upper trim piece in place on top of the window.

Measure and cut the first piece of siding, and install it over the starter strip. Nail the piece in place and continue with the additional layers of siding. If you are overlapping the siding, consider overlapping it so that is overlapped away from the house to provide a more seamless look, according to the DIY Network. Finish the job with the remaining siding and nail everything in place.

Installing vinyl siding isn’t a difficult job, it just takes a bit of time and patience. Use these tips to complete your next installation process and quit using the excuse that you don’t know how to install vinyl siding to avoid improving your home.

Related Resource: How To Install Vented Skylights