Tips for Your Vinyl Siding Installation

Many factors can explain why vinyl is the most popular siding material amongst homeowners today.

For one, vinyl siding offers many color options, meaning homeowners can find the ideal style for their house’s exterior, increasing curb appeal. Most models and makes last a long time due to durability, require minimal maintenance, offer abundant value, are energy efficient, eco-friendly, and high quality, and the benefits go on.

Upfront, paying someone to install vinyl siding is exceptionally cost-efficient relative to other siding materials. However, that doesn’t mean it’s cheap.

A Charlotte home with windows and vinyl siding.

How Much Does It Cost For A Contractor To Install Vinyl Siding?

Having vinyl siding installed by a contractor will–on average–cost between $2.50 to $10.75 per square foot, depending on what type you purchase. 

A 1,000-square-foot home will cost between $2,500 and $10,750 for vinyl siding. Increase the home size to 4,000-square-foot, and the price skyrockets to between $10,000 and $43,000.

There’s plenty of flexibility here. Still, those looking to save a few (thousand) bucks might not love some of those numbers above.

We assure you that your upfront investment in vinyl siding will almost always pay off.

Nevertheless, DIYing the installation is one way to significantly cut the initial cost. One caveat exists, though–you must have basic carpentry skills.

DIYing your vinyl siding installation stands to save you 50% of the total cost. This gives you more budgetary freedom with your choices–you can invest in higher-end vinyl siding without breaking the bank.

With all this said, we’ll delve into some helpful tips about how to install vinyl siding.

Helpful Tips For Installing Vinyl Siding.

Follow these tips, and your DIY vinyl siding installation will go smoothly, leaving you with a home exterior and handiwork you’re proud of.

Opt For The Wider Starting Strip.

The bottom panel of vinyl siding hooks to the starter strip.

Typically, vinyl should be installed as low as possible. The starter strip should be at least 1 inch beneath the top of the foundation. This way, you protect your sheathing from precipitation like snow and rain. Following this tip will also stave off pests.

Starter strips are generally sold in two sizes–2.5  inches and 3.5 inches. Opt for the wider choice to start the siding lower.

Apply Upward Pressure While Nailing.

Want to know why most vinyl sidings fail? Because the panels unlock and get blown off by strong gusts of wind, flying into the middle of the street or your neighbor’s garden.

Mitigate this potential pitfall by applying some upward pressure while nailing the pieces. Doing so ensures panels stay locked.

Note how “power-lifting” each piece will apply too much pressure to the nail flange, breaking it.

Protect Your Vinyl Corner Posts From Pests.

Vinyl siding is great for any home. It also has the potential to offer a home to mice, bees, and other critters who’ll merrily inhabit your vinyl corner posts.

Cap each post before installing them to prevent these pests from nesting in your space. Here’s a breakdown of how to do just that:

●       Cut a few inches off the post’s J-channel portion.

●       After folding back the remaining flaps, lightly tap them with your hammer until there’s a crease.

●       Ensure the flaps are notched, making the post fit snugly against the wall.

●       Note how posts crack in the cold. So, lay them in the sun or bring them inside your home before partaking in this process if the temperatures are low.

Top J-Channels Should Overlap Side Ones.

The J-channel atop windows and doors can’t prevent rainwater from getting inside it. However, the side J-channels don’t need to suffer the same fate. Protect your side J-channels by overlapping them with a flap you construct from the top J-channel.

Nail Down Your Fundamentals.

Unless your sheathing is foam-based–which needs longer nails–your vinyl siding requires 2-inch galvanized roofing nails.

Nails shouldn’t be driven in too tight. Panels must be able to shift back and forth. Otherwise, hot temperatures will cause the siding to bubble. Ensure you hit each stud because the siding will expand and contract, loosening nails fastened solely to the sheathing.

Invest In A Vinyl-Siding Blade.

Specific jobs require specific tools.

On the above note, you’ll need a vinyl siding blade during your DIY vinyl siding installation. Circular saws with a standard wood blade will shatter the siding, wasting your money and leaving you vulnerable to various dangers.

Vinyl siding blades are cost-efficient and easily found at any home improvement store.

The siding might still chip if you’re using a siding miter saw, in which case, try slowly pulsing the saw backward through the siding.

Window Bottoms Should Be Flashed.

Before installing the side J-channels, install a piece of flashing (cut from felt paper) at the bottom window corners.

The flashing should overlap the row of siding right below the window.

When you flash window bottoms, water inside the J-channels will exit from the top of the siding and through the weep holes it’s meant to leave through.

Be Conscious Of Overlaps.

Generally, at minimum, vinyl siding panels should overlap each other by an inch. An extra ⅜ inch for hot days will combat contractions when the temperature drops.

Start each row at the back corner on the sides of the house. This way, the seams won’t be visible from the street.

Conversely, incorrectly lapping will create an aesthetic nightmare that ruins your home’s curb appeal.

Also, overlap seams on the front and back of the house so that they can’t be seen from decks, patios, and front doors.

Longer Panels Should Be Installed First.

While DIYing your vinyl siding installations on each side of a door or window, begin with the side needing longer panels.

Smaller panels stretch more than long ones. Thus, longer panels aren’t as adjustable when they get off-kilter.

Measure to the top of the window before nailing the last few pieces on the small side. Doing so ensures both sides share the same height.

A North Carolina home with grey vinyl siding.

Collaborate With A Professional.

You can streamline your DIY process by working in tandem with vinyl siding specialists who can provide expert insights during installations.

Do you want to DIY your vinyl siding installation but need specialized guidance before moving forward? If so, contact Canopy today with your questions!

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