How to Install Vinyl Siding

  • 16-24 hours
  • Advanced
  • 2,500-8,000
What You'll Need
Extension Ladder
Siding Tools
Eye Protection
A house ;c)

While many homeowners believe that replacing siding on a home is an impossible do-it-yourself project, it is surprisingly easy. Read this article for information on vinyl siding, estimating materials, and applying the siding to your walls.

Components of a vinyl siding system.

Click on the drawing above to view the animation.

Vinyl Siding

While this article will provide information to help you with your siding project, you must always follow the manufacturer's instructions.

One of the key benefits to vinyl siding is that it requires minimal care. Vinyl siding is also dyed while it's being manufactured; therefore, once it is installed, you do not need to subsequently paint it.

Vinyl is retailed in standard 12.5-foot panels which are manufactured with a design to look like real wood. You can accessorize to create a unique design for your home.

The panels are designed with a j-lock at the bottom and a nailing strip at the top which connect seamlessly to adjacent panels.

10-inch j-channels are needed to create spaces for doors and windows. You can use under-sill for the areas under the windows and eaves. You can purchase corner posts for the end panels.

While at the home improvement store, as a sales associate to help you find the additional tools and supplies as not only a nail hole punch and a snap-lock punch, but also an unlocking device.

Because PVC expands and contracts, you must nail in the center of the slots, leave space between the nail heads and the wall, avoid penetrating the vinyl, and leave space at the J-channels.

Estimating Materials

To plan the materials, measure the square footage of the exterior walls, gables, and the spaces for windows. Subtract the space for windows from the combined total of the walls and gables to determine the amount of material you will need to purchase.

Measure all of the corners and divide their combined length by 10 to determine how many exterior corners you need. Repeat the process inside. Calculate how many lengths are required by equating the dividend of the perimeter and the starter strip length.

Do the same with the total feet of doors and windows and the length of a single J-channel to determine their quantity.

Find the sum of all horizontal dimensions to find the perimeter, then multiply by the height to find the square footage.

Vinyl Siding Installation

Remove all obstructions, gutter systems, and light fixtures. Remove the old siding by first scraping the caulk, then removing the nails which hold it in place. If the walls are uneven, correct the problem with furring strips. Then locate the lowest corner of the house.

Attach a starter strip along the bottom perimeter of your home. Always leave a space of .25-inches between butted ends to allow for expansion and contraction between the seasons.

Next install the corner posts, followed by the J-channels. As you begin to install the siding, staggering the panels by 4-inches while allowing them to overlap by one-inch at the joints.

As you move along, inspect your work to make sure that it is level. Measure, mark, cut the panels to surround spaces for doors and windows.

Dimple the edges so that that are 16-inches on center using a snap-lock before as you install them.

Cut the eve panels with a fine-too saw and put them into place in the same manner as the edges.

Information and illustrations for this brochure were taken from the "Rigid Vinyl Siding Application" by the Vinyl Siding Institute.

Take extra care to make sure your baseline is level, then install the starter strip. Leave a 1/4 inch gap wherever the ends meet.

 Cut a tab in the end of the J-channel over a door or window, then bend it into the side channel to form a rain drip.

Panel ends should be overlapped away from prevailing traffic, either 1 inch or according to the manufacturer's specifications.

Information in this article has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors.