Repairing Vinyl Siding

man on ladder facing vinyl siding of house
  • 2-3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-50
What You'll Need
Zip tool to unlock panels
Pry bar
Claw hammer
Utility knife
Carpenter’s square
Galvanized nails
Tin snips

Vinyl siding is the most fragile of all siding materials. In extreme heat, it can melt, and in freezing temperatures it is prone to impact damage because it becomes brittle. To save yourself a lot of money by hiring a technician to do repairs, we discuss in this article ways to repair siding vinyl on your own.

Step 1 - Remove the Damaged Siding

Vinyl siding installs with an interlocking system, and was originally installed with nails driven through elongated holes in the nail hem. On installation, the nails should have been driven with a 1/32" gap between the nail head and the siding. A zip tool, a device with a specially shaped curved blade, is used to remove the damaged siding.

Wedge the curved end of the tool underneath the overlapping panel, and hook onto the buttlock, which is the portion that curves under. Look for a loose spot in the panel to get the tool positioned properly. With the tool, pull downward to expose the nail row in the siding you wish to replace. With a pry bar, remove the nails from the siding directly above the damaged area, which should now be floating free of the house and nail hem exposed.

Step 2 - Make the Repair

man hammering nails into siding support

With the tin snips, cut out the damaged area of the vinyl siding. Take care here so you don’t damage the upper and lower edges of the siding adjacent to the piece you are working on. Measure the area that needs to be replaced. When you make your measurement on the replacement siding, you want to allow at least three extra inches to insure that the siding overlaps at least 1 ½ inches. After the measurement is made, transfer it to the new siding panel. Using the carpenter’s square to insure a straight 90 degree angle, mark the cut.

Make the cut with a utility knife, using a new blade to insure a clean cut. Trim back the nail hem on the replacement panel about two inches each end, again using the utility knife. Doing so will insure that the panel will fit correctly in the space removed from the old siding. Next, slide the replacement panel into place, making sure to snap the buttlock and top lock snap into place. Push into place.

Put the nail replacement panel in place, locating the nails about 12 inches apart, and insuring that they are not driven all the way in. Nails should penetrate the framing or furring strip by at least ¾ inch. With the zip tool, insure that the replacement panel is locked into place.

Replacing damaged siding is relatively easy. Save money by doing the repairs yourself.

Alden Smith is an award winning author and regular contributor to He writes on a variety of subjects, and excels in research.