How to Install Vinyl Siding

4" Double Dutch Lap Vinyl Siding

Vinyl Siding Detail Picture Pages :

Leveling the starter strips

Leveling the Starter Strip

After all the hard work of tearing off the old siding, re framing for windows and installing new windows, I was finally ready to install the vinyl siding. Question was, where do I start? I had never installed vinyl siding before. This is where friends come in handy. Usually someone you know will know something about whatever you are doing. I ended going to a buddy's house and helping him install some siding. This was just what I needed to get trained enough for my project.
The starter strip, which is just a folded strip of metal, goes across the bottom edge where your siding will start. You can see the shiny metal strip at the bottom of the Tyvek wrap in the picture to the left. First, I figured out where I wanted the vinyl siding to start, all the way around the house. Once I found the lowest possible point for all sides of the house I began installing the starter strip. Using my four foot level I fastened the starter strip with 1-5/8" roofing nails. I recommend starting at one end then set a level on top of the starter strip and set a nail further down.
In the photo below, notice the 2X8 nailed the bottom front of the house. I had installed the 2X8 for a future front deck. Instead of using a starter strip I installed some flashing and will use same color "J" channel to start the siding. This way the siding will sit directly on top of the 2X8 (inside the "J" channel). It would be hard to use a starter strip as you would need a gap between the 2X8 and the starter strip to allow for siding installation.

vinyl siding corners and fixtures

Fixtures and Corner Pieces

Before hanging any vinyl siding you will need to have all of your inside and outside corner pieces installed. The corner pieces simply provide a channel for the siding to sit in. They also hide the cut edge of siding.
Again, I used 1-5/8" roofing nails. Care should be taken to keep the outside corner pieces square while nailing to the house.
At the peek of the gable you can see a vent is installed. Many different style vents are available and provide a channel for the vinyl siding to sit in giving a nice finished look. Don't forget to add fixtures for lights, outlets and dryer vent. There are also a variety adapters for lighting and outlets available to provide a nice clean finished look. By using these fixtures and adapters you will not have to use "J" channel around any lights or outlets. The fixtures have a built in channel.

Vinyl Siding Installation Notes

Hanging vinyl siding

Hanging the Vinyl Siding

Hanging the siding is really the fun part. The siding goes up really fast once you get the process down. I found that three people is ideal for hanging siding. With three people, one guy does all the cutting and the other two do all the hanging and measuring. On to the process.
The process is relatively simple. You start at the bottom and work your way up moving from end to end. I used 1-5/8" roofing nails to fasten the siding to the house. When you nail a piece of siding to the house use care to leave a space of at least a 1/4" of the nail head sticking out. This is a must for proper siding installation. If the siding were nailed tight against the house it would have NO room for expansion. This will cause multiple problems in the future.
The nail hole at the top edge of the vinyl siding is actually elongated. The elongated hole provides for movement due to expansion and contraction. Vinyl siding is made to expand and contract with temperature deviations. Fastening the siding in a manner that lets it "Float" against the house will ensure years of quality performance.

Cutting and overlapping siding

Cutting and Overlapping

To cut vinyl siding I used an ordinary circular saw with a common use blade. The only exception was I had the blade turned around backwards. If you try to cut vinyl siding with the blade on forward, it will shatter the siding and possibly cause personal injury, SO BE CAREFUL. Use the saw with the blade installed backwards and don't forget to return the blade to forward for normal use. Having the blade on backwards will give a nice smooth cut.
I had built a cutting jig / fixture that would hold the siding in place and provide for nice square and clean cuts. I also incorporated a guide to cut the gable angle for installing siding up in the gable ends. The jig / fixture worked great and would highly recommend taking the time to make one prior to starting a siding job.
As you install the siding take note of the siding ends. At each end there is a precut notch that allows for the next in line piece of siding to overlap. Always use this end to overlap siding. It provides for a uniform fit. Lap joints should overlap at least one inch. Leave somewhere between 1/8" to 1/4" inch gap at the siding ends of windows, doors and corners etc. This will leave room for expansion and contraction.

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