Installing their own vinyl siding can seem intimidating for many homeowners. The reality is that it’s fairly straightforward to install and work with. Most of the challenge comes in proper planning and frequent, accurate measuring. If you’re ready to tackle this project, just keep the following things in mind:
- The best case scenario would be to remove everything down to the sheathing, apply a vapor barrier, then a layer of foam insulation before putting up the siding. That being said, if the existing material is in good shape, it’s possible to put siding over it, though the result may not be as clean and neat.
- Make sure you that use the right nails for the job. Take into consideration the thickness of the material beneath.
- Don’t go it alone. Vinyl siding can tend to be wobbly and flimsy when unattached. Two ladders and two people are always better and safer.
- Measure often, and always use your level. A level chalk line around the perimeter is a great start, but you should check with a level every few pieces to keep things on track.
- Allow for expansion when cutting your siding. The siding will be covered by trim at the corners, so plan for a quarter inch less than your actual measurement so that the siding won’t buckle during the hot weather as it expands. It is also important to note that you should never drive a nail directly into the vinyl siding panel. This will prohibit movement during expansion.
- Professional installers always start at the back edge of the house and work towards the street. This is because siding is overlapped in one direction as it is installed. By starting at the back and moving towards the front, the seams will be hidden from the curb side view.
- Invest in the right tools. A vinyl siding blade for your circular saw or miter saw can keep the cuts looking professional. A vinyl siding zip tool is used to easily remove siding that’s already been installed. This is handy if a mistake was made and you need to remove a piece before you can continue.
- Like with painting, cut in and do all of the detail work first. The actual siding panels should go last.
For a few final tips, keep in mind that you still need to allow for airflow through your attic. Make sure the attic is properly vented by installing perforated soffit and gable vents when you are siding your house. Lastly, though vinyl siding is known to be maintenance free and resilient, it is not heatproof. Make sure that barbecue grills and other heat sources are an adequate distance from the siding, since it will easily melt or warp if too close to heat.