DIY Vinyl Siding Installation Tips

Vinyl siding installation isn't hard for a seasoned do-it-yourselfer. With the right tools and these handy tips, you can probably save a bundle.

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Handy Tools for Vinyl Siding Installation

You'll need the following special tools in addition to more commonly-owned tools like hammers.

  • Nail hole punch, for punching slots in cut panels
  • Snap-lock punch, for dimpling your panels where they will be pressed into the utility trim
  • Unlocking tool, for separating panels

Special Tips to Keep in Mind

Because PVC expands and contracts more than other building materials, you'll need to follow these rules:

  • When nailing panels or accessories, place the nail in the center of the slot, allowing the piece to move in both directions.
  • Never nail any piece in too tightly. Drive nails straight but leave about 1/16" space between the head of the nail and the panel. If you can't slide the panels or accessories back and forth, you have nailed them on too tightly.
  • Never nail through the vinyl itself or you'll weaken it. If the slot has been removed and you can't use an under-sill trim, create a slot with your special nail hole punch.
  • Leave 1/4" clearance at the ends of panels where they butt into corner posts or J-channels and at the ends of corner posts where they butt up against the eaves. Make that 3/8" if you're installing when the temperature is below freezing.
  • Never pull the siding panels up tightly during installation. Once they are locked, they must be allowed to hang loosely.

Vinyl is one of the most popular maintenance-free siding materials for new construction, and it's also one of the most manageable siding materials for do-it-yourselfers to install.


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