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Learn How to Install Vinyl Siding | Tools, Tips & Installation Guide

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Learn How To Install Vinyl Siding

Before you start installing your siding, you have to properly measure how many vinyl sinding panels you will need. Vinyl siding panels are 12'6" in length and have a nailing flange at the top. Along the bottom, there is an interlocking J-shaped flange. The lip of the nailing flange allows the panels to connect by hooking the bottom of each panel into the top of the panel below.

Vinyl Siding Trims

To trim the ends of vinyl siding panels in order to accommodate doors and windows, use J-channel. J-channel, which has an open loop and is available in a length of 10', can also be used to camouflage cut edges under eaves and near windows.

Another trimming option is under-sill or utility trim. A tight loop formed by this trim is useful under windows and eaves, where nailing flanges may be removed. A snap-lock punch is used to indent the panel's top edge to ease the snapping of the panel into the utility trim. Cover corner panel ends with inside and outside corner posts.

Tools Needed For Vinyl Siding Installation

The following are general tools needed to install your exterior house siding.

1. Nail hole punch, which will allow you to punch holes in cut panels.

2. Snap-lock punch, which indents panels for snapping into utility trim.

3. Unlocking tool, which will help separate panels.

Special Installation Considerations

Keep the expanding and contracting nature of PVC in mind when installing vinyl siding. These five rules will help you avoid problems with PVC expansion and contraction:

1. Be sure to place the nail in the center of the opening when nailing panels or other materials. This will give room for movement in either direction.

2. Give panels room by leaving a space of about 1/16" between the piece and the nail head. Make sure you have not nailed tightly by moving the piece back and forth.

3. If a nail opening cannot be found and a utility trim is not an option, make a new hole with a nail hole punch. Only place nails in slots and never through the vinyl.

4. Be sure to allow a clearance of 1/4" at panel ends when they meet corner posts or J-channel. Also allow a 1/4" clearance where corner posts meet the eaves. If installing in below-freezing temperatures, allow a clearance of 3/8".

5. Correctly installed siding panels will hang loose when locked. Avoid pulling panels tight.

Important Installation Tips

Ensure that potential interference is removed by tying back tree and shrub branches and removing lighting fixtures, shutters, downspouts, or other items that may be a nuisance. Prepare areas around windows and doors by scraping old caulk from the intersections between the old siding and these openings. This will allow a better fit for the new vinyl materials.

It is important to make a flat surface with which to work. Locate any unevenness of the walls (caused by lap siding or other). To prepare these areas, center 1x3 furring strips at 16" from the foundation and the eaves. Furring strips should also be placed around doors and windows.

Locate the house's lowest corner by using a mason's line and line level. From this corner, take the manufacturer-specified measurement and use chalk to draw a level line around the house.

Begin by nailing starter strip at the bottom of the house, using the chalk line as your guide. Wherever two pieces run into each other, be sure to allow 1/4" clearance.

When installing outside and inside corner posts, be sure to allow a clearance of 1/4" at the eaves. The post should also be 1/4" below the old siding.

Along the sides and tops of doors and windows install J-channel. Make a corner drip edge by placing an indention in the J-channel. Gable end walls and sloped eaves will also need J-channel.

Under-sill trim should be nailed at eaves that are horizontal and under windows.

Now you can begin installing the siding panels. Start at the starter strip and work up. Joints should be spread 4' from each other.

Panels should be overlapped 1" at joints. Be sure to keep overlay less visible in high-traffic areas and entryways. If panels meet J-channel or corner posts, allow a 1/4" space.

After every fifth or sixth line, ensure that your work is level. Remember that panels should loosely hang and not be forcibly pressed against the row below.

For under the window placement, you may need to make a cut. To do so, indicate the section that should be removed and use a tin snip to cut from the panel top. Use a utility knife to horizontally score the panel and break apart.

Use a snap-lock punch to indent the cut side 16" on center, making sure that the lugs are located on the exterior of the panel. Position the siding by pressing it into place.

Use a circular saw with a fine-toothed blade to

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cut the appropriate width at horizontal eaves. Use a snap-lock punch to indent the cut edge 16" on center before positioning the panel.


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