How to Install Vertical Siding

When the exterior walls of your home begin to look worn and shabby, it may be time to install vertical siding. Although installing this siding can require a considerable amount of time and care, with the right tools and instruction it will be possible for you to completely install new siding for your home. Refer to the information you'll find below.

Things you'll need:

  • Siding material
  • Hammer
  • Fine-tooth saw
  • Square
  • Chalk line
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Safety glasses
  • Power saw
  • Utility knife
  • Tin snips

Tip 1 - Planning

You'll need to measure the surface of your exterior walls on which you plan to install your siding. In measuring the height and width of your house you should include window areas. This will give you allowances for waste factors. Exceptions to this rule can be made if your windows are unusually large.

Tip 2 – Inspection

Inspect surfaces in advance of attaching panels. Surfaces should be straight, level, and uniform as you inspect them from various angles. Always install a weatherproof barrier beneath your panels. These barriers should include flashing installed around interfacing with materials like stucco and brick and at penetrations.

Tip 3 – Expansion and Contraction Factors

In higher temperatures, vinyl siding can expand up to 3/8 inch. This expansion can result in unattractive bucking of your siding. To avoid it, observe the following 6 guidelines:

  1. Store siding in a location where temperatures are no more than 130 degrees F.
  2. When installing panels, see that they are able to move from side to side without hindrance.
  3. Avoid forcing panels upward or downward when you attach them into position.
  4. Avoiding nailing at the end of a panel slot will prevent damage to the panel.
  5. Always leave a clearance of 1/32 inch between siding surface and nail head when nailing.
  6. To avoid warping, use only cured lumber for your underlayment

Tip 4 – Choice of Fasteners

When installing vinyl siding, always use corrosion resistant fasteners such as staples, nails, or screws. The exception may be when you use fasteners to attach aluminum trim. Then, use stainless steel fasteners. Be sure all fasteners penetrate framing or furring at least ¾ inch.

Tip 5 – Cutting Your Panels

If you use a circular saw to cut panels, be sure you use a blade that has fine teeth and that you install the blade backwards. This will give you a cleaner cut. Be sure to run the panels through the saw very slowly. When using tin snips, you'll get a smoother cut if at the end of each cut, you avoid closing the blades all the way. You can also cut panels with a utility knife, but you do not need to cut completely through the panel. Instead, turn the vinyl face up, score the surface, then snap it in half at the score mark.

Tip 6 – Using Fasteners

In using nails as fasteners, choose only those with a head diameter of at least 5/16 inch and shank diameter of 1/8 inch. Screws, when used, will need to penetrate at least ¾ inch, and should be corrosion-resistant and self-tapping. In using staples, be sure their crown width allows for the siding to move freely.