Best way to cut steel siding

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Old 02-15-15, 08:09 AM
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Best way to cut steel siding

I have 8 inch painted galvanized steel siding on my house it is 30 years old. I am wanting to replace some windows. I need to cut an approximately 2 1/2 inch slot around the windows to access the storm flaps on the old windows and get them out. I have the old fiber style board under the siding. I was wondering if anyone would have an idea what would be the best tool to use to cut this siding without ripping up the siding to badly or causing enough friction to start a fire? I have cut this siding before when I installed it originally and used a fine tooth skilsaw blade turned backwards, causing a lot of sparks and heat. I think there must be a tool out there that will cut it leaving a nice edge and not scorche the paint from the siding. any ideas? thanks
 
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Old 02-15-15, 10:47 AM
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A grinder and 1/16" metal wheel.
 
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Old 02-15-15, 11:04 AM
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And if you cut it back how do you plan on adding J moulding, flashing, trim and not have it leak?
When I get stuck having to work around old aluminum or steel siding I remove it starting at the top to below the window.
That way it can be properly flashed and trimmed out then cut the siding to fit.
 
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Old 02-15-15, 11:29 AM
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Or a metal blade on a circ saw. Most saws, short side of the shoe is about 1 3/8 or so, I believe (kinda depends on the saw), so you could but a piece of wood ripped to 1 1/8 up to the window as a guide and then your cut would be at 2 1/2". You can even screw the wood in place if you don't have a helper, since where it will be attached is waste anyway and should be right over framing.

Easy to set the depth of the cut also, and I think less chance of a slip than a grinder. Just don't over run at the ends of the cut. Might need to use a pair of snips at the very end. Just keep a charged garden hose handy.
 
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Old 02-16-15, 06:02 AM
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I thought about removing the siding from the top down. have you done that? how tough is it to do? is there a special tool that you can use to pull the ends loose without damage to the siding? I plan on adding channel around the windows and flashing.
 
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Old 02-16-15, 06:14 AM
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How is the siding attached? If it's the same type of panels that are used on roofs it's probably just screwed in place - not a big deal to remove the screws and then the siding.
 
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Old 02-16-15, 07:25 AM
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I was imagining 8" steel lap siding.
 
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Old 02-16-15, 08:47 AM
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it is 8 inch horizontal lap siding. just like vinyl only a steel product and applied the same as vinyl. the only problem is that vinyl flexes easily and steel is quite rigid and would I think kink easily.
 
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Old 02-16-15, 09:01 AM
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Yes, you can remove it from the top down but if that means removing a huge area, that's not too practical.

The standard thing to do is generally to cut twice. Make a rough estimate, cut out the siding enough so that you can make the rough opening... then when you know the exact location the window will be, and how big the trim will be, then cut the siding back again, but this time it's a finish cut. New housewrap is incorporated to the existing by slipping it behind the cut siding, and the j-channels are typically just slipped behind the cut edge of the siding, on top of the WRB, and then they are secured to the window trim once it is installed with a couple sheet metal screws.

The unlock tool used with vinyl siding does not work as well with steel siding. You can't just zip out a piece of steel siding without bending it.

Like Joe, there have been instances where I have taken down the siding, and it's good to make a map and number it so that it goes back exactly where it was. But it's usually more work than it's worth if the area is huge. Last time I did it was because of a bay window we were putting on the side of a 2 story house. Hard to figure out exactly where the perimeter of a bay and roof will be before you put it in. Also hard to flash the roof unless you remove siding. For a single window I wouldn't remove siding.
 
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Old 02-16-15, 09:29 AM
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Couldn't you just take a reciprocating saw and cut through the nailing flange?
 
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Old 02-17-15, 05:47 AM
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the size of the house is 1500 sq ft. and I am going to replace 6 windows on 3 separate sides of the house. I can get andersend 400 series that are supposed to be an exact fit to the existing holes. the ends of the house are 30 ft and the sides are 50 ft. and it is a ranch so the biggest area would to remove would be 2 or 3 square.
 
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