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Tips on Installing Vinyl Siding

Tips on Installing Vinyl Siding
Vinyl siding has become a very popular material for covering the exteriors of buildings. Here are a few tips on how to install vinyl siding.
Rita Putatunda
Vinyl siding has become the most popular material used to cover the exterior of buildings these days. Vast quantities of this are being used in the remodeling market, as more and more people are using it to cover their old wood siding or replacing their old aluminum siding with it. More than 2 billion square feet of vinyl is being produced in the USA each year.

It is expected that this number will increase substantially with the advent of the new solid core vinyl siding. People who used to dislike vinyl's looks are finding this product attractive. Also, the wide range of colors that vinyl siding is available in these days - from creams to browns to blues to greens to reds - is another factor for its increasing popularity. Moreover, the increasing cost of energy will also lead to more homeowners opting for it in order to make their houses more energy efficient.

Although vinyl siding is not particularly difficult to install, however, it does require some skill, correct equipment, and a certain amount of layout skills to get it fixed.

Required Tools

A few basic tools are required to install vinyl siding. In case you are a regular DIY-er, then you probably have most of these tools.
  • A fine bladed circular saw
  • Chalk line
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Hammer
  • Caulk and Gun
  • Framing square
  • Tinsnips
  • Utility knife
  • Sawing/Cutting table
  • Drill
  • Ladders
  • Other scaffolding equipment
You will also require some specialized tools like a nail slot punch and a snaplock punch. You could also find a zip unlock tool quite handy.

Preparing the Surface

The surface on which the siding will be installed should be solid as well as smooth. This is also the time to seal off any sources of energy leaks. Seal all the cracks around doors and windows with caulking.

This is also the time when you need to install foil covered foam sheathing in order to make the building energy efficient. This is particularly required when you install the siding on a wood sided or brick house. If it is a new building that you are installing vinyl siding on, then apart from the foam sheathing you also need to install a barrier against the infiltration of water and air.

Begin by Installing the Trim

The cornices of the front door, arches, dryer vent accessories, light block, J channels, corner posts, and so on have to be installed first. In fact, the siding is installed last. The J channels, corner posts, and the other pieces of trim have a channel inside which the vinyl siding's ends are put. This helps to conceal the cut end of the vinyl siding. The trim and siding are quite pliable if you work in warm weather. They can be cut easily with tinsnips.

Install an Aluminum Starter Strip

The pieces of vinyl siding interlock with each other. It is installed by starting at the bottom of the building and finishing at the top. The slots at the top part are used to blind nail the material. A piece of pre-bent starter strip made of aluminum has to be installed in order to prevent the first piece from flapping about in the breeze. This must be installed parallel or at the level of the line you want to maintain as the vinyl siding is installed.

Make sure to fix the first piece right up against the starter strip, and each of the following pieces of siding should be fixed tightly against the one below. Hence, if the starter strip is fixed crookedly, the rest of the vinyl siding will also be crooked.

Installing the Corner Posts

The trim and siding will contract and expand with the changes in the temperature. Hence, you need to work out a plan to counter this. The corner posts should be fixed at a ΒΌ inch distance from any horizontal stopping point on the top of each of the corners. Each corner post should be plumbed and then the first nail should be driven on the top of the slots meant for nails. Every nail should be fixed on the top of the slots. This will allow the corner posts to hang from the nails. The nail head should be kept at a distance of 1/32 inch from the vinyl siding. This is what will give room to the vinyl siding to contract and expand.

If two lengths of the corner post have to be spliced together, the upper piece will overlap the lower piece. This will allow the rainwater to be drained off.

Installing the Vinyl Siding

Before actually installing it, examine the full panel of the siding. Observe the lower and upper corners on the front side and back side. These notches have been made at the factory, and they are important. When you get a cut piece of siding you could even need to replicate them. These notches will help you to overlap the pieces of vinyl. Because of the notching, the pieces of siding will be able to be moved sideways independently from the other pieces.

Vinyl siding is prone to rattle in the wind. Also, the heat and sun make it expand and increase in size. These are the reasons that it is very important to nail the sheets properly. If they are nailed loose, they will flap and rattle in the wind. Conversely, if they are nailed in too tightly, they will bend and bubble when the weather is hot. The flange of the siding should be fixed tightly against the sheathing. The nail should be driven in so that its head is kept at a distance of 1/32 inch from the surface of the vinyl siding. This is the correct amount of space required to take care that the various weather conditions do not affect the vinyl siding.
Caulking Gun
Circular saw blade
Chalk Line Reel
wooden ladder
Yellow utility Knife
Table saw