|Vinyl siding is relatively easy to
install yourself. The most common problem with a poor
installation is buckling of the siding, which is caused by
not allowing space for expansion, and nailing your siding
too tight to the wall. Well give you tips how to avoid this
Before you begin, here is a little info about the materials
you will need:
J channel: These are long strips shaped like a J that are
used as finishing pieces around doors, windows, outlets, and
under the soffit. The siding fits into the inverted J, which
covers rough edges.
Corner Pieces: These are also finishing pieces, but they
wrap around a corner and receive the unfinished edges of the
cut siding much like the J channel does.
Starting strips are pieces of metal placed at the bottom of
the wall. The first course of the siding snaps into place on
this strip, so it is very important that this piece is
This installation is for a home with aluminum soffits and
facia already in place.
1. Begin by nailing the J channel around all windows, doors,
and under the soffit of the roof. Use 1½ aluminum roofing
nails spaced 16 on center, nailing on the wall studs. J
channel does not need to be overlapped, it can be mounted
flush against the next piece. When covering windows and door
frames, the piece of J channel over the top should fit ½
over the edge on either side to allow the side pieces of J
channel to butt up against it. The side pieces should extend
½ below the window so the bottom piece can butt up against
it. The J channel on the bottom of a window will be exactly
the width of the window.
2. Corner pieces are hollow and flexible and must be
installed on a vertical level. The flexibility of the corner
piece is to allow for some room if the corner of your home
is not exactly square. Place the corner piece on the outside
corner and mark a vertical level line with a chalk line as a
guideline. Be sure the line is level on both sides of the
corner. Nail the piece in place, beginning at the top. Use
snips to cut back the flange where it abuts the soffit trim.
The top 2 nails on either side of the corner are placed at
the top edge and are set tightly. These nails lock the
corner piece is place so that it expands downward and not
into the soffit. Continue nailing at 12 spaces down the
length of the corner piece. It is important not to set the
nails too tight to allow for expansion. The nailheads should
be set about 1/16 off the wall so the vinyl can move
3. Set the starter strip. The horizontal measure of the
strip should be about 1 from the nailed edge of your corner
piece. You must determine where to place this strip by
measuring the width of your siding and factoring how many
courses you need to reach the soffits. Vinyl siding comes in
8, 9, or 10 clapboards. The starter strip can hang below
the wall a few inches or be placed at the bottom of the
wall, depending how much room you need. When determining
this measurement from top to bottom, keep in mind the very
top panel of siding will have its nail edge cut off so it
can be glued under the J channel to finish. Mark a level
chalkline and nail the strip with your roofing nails. It is
extremely important that this strip is exactly level or you
will slowly be off as you attach your courses of siding.
4. Before you begin, it is important to remember siding must
be overlapped to allow for expansion and contraction.
Overlap your siding about ½, so when measuring be sure to
allow for the overlap. Also, the siding should be hung
slightly short of the width of the wall to prevent buckling
from expansion. The amount of expansion space is determined
by the outside temperature at the time of installation. If
the temperature is about 90 degrees F., hang the siding
panel Ό short on each end of the wall to allow for
expansion. Below 30 degrees F., an expansion space of at
least ½ on each end is necessary; and for temperatures in
between, allow 3/8 on each end. The siding panels have
notched nailing hems to allow for overlap. In some cases,
you may come to a piece you have cut yourself that has no
nailing hem. You will have to notch out a hem yourself to
allow for overlap. An important point to remember when
overlapping is to stagger your joints. Avoid uniform stair
step patterns. These patterns actually draw your eye to them
instead of being inconspicuous.
5. Measure your first panel of siding allowing for overlap.
6. Snap the first course of your siding into the bottom of
the starter strip. The bottom of the siding has a lip that
fits up into the starter strip. You will actually hear it
snap into place. Start the first panel of each course at the
end opposite the most common viewing point so subsequent
overlaps face away. DO NOT NAIL THE SIDING TO THE WALL
TIGHTLY. Siding is hung, not nailed. Allow a 1/16 space
between the nail head and the wall to allow the siding to
move and expand freely. Nails imbedded too tightly will
cause your siding to buckle as the weather changes.
7. Check your first course of siding for to make sure it is
level. This sets the course for your entire wall.
8. The bottom of your siding has a lip that snaps into the
previous piece. Measure your piece and snap the next course
in place. Be sure the panel is secured to the previous piece
along the whole length. Nail loosely and make sure it is
level. Continue till you reach the top of the wall. Be sure
and check often with your level. You can cheat a little if
you are off with each panel, but if you wait too long, you
will never be able to get the panel level.
9. The last piece below the soffit fits under the J channel,
but you must cut off the nailing part of the panel to insert
it. Use a caulking gun to glue the upper edge of the panel
to the wall.
Home Tips &
Vinyl Installation Tools
|Ladders, measuring tape, snips, radial
arm saw with special blade for cutting vinyl (check at your
home store), level, chalk line tool, hammer, 1½ aluminum
roofing nails, caulking gun, industrial adhesive (Liquid
|Plasticized PVC or vinyl was invented in
1926 by Waldo Lonsbury Semon.