Best Practices for Vinyl Siding Installation

Best Practices for Vinyl Siding Installation

Vinyl siding is a relatively easy and affordable home improvement project. However, if homeowners aren’t familiar with this type of work it is wise to hire a top-rated pro for the installation. Even the smallest mistake can result in gaps that let in moisture, pests, and drafts.

Before the project begins, a professional will conduct an inspection and take accurate measurements. They will also check for areas that need repair or painting. Get more info.

Level Your Workspace

Vinyl siding offers a number of advantages over aluminum, including a greater variety of color options, resistance to fading and yellowing, and improved energy efficiency. However, it requires the right technique to install and properly care for it. Keeping in mind some best practices can help homeowners and contractors alike work with this durable material.

It’s important to start off a vinyl siding installation job with a level foundation, even before the first piece of the starter strip is nailed in place. This will ensure that the siding stays level throughout the project, which can save homeowners a lot of time and money down the road.

When installing vinyl siding, it’s also good to remember that the material expands and contracts with temperature changes. This can cause the pieces to buckle or crack if the nails are driven in too tightly. That’s why it’s always recommended to leave a 1/8th inch gap between the nail head and the surface of the panel.

Prepare the Nails

Using the right nails is critical for vinyl siding installation. The type of nails you use must be durable enough to withstand the climate where your home is located and meet local building codes. Consulting the manufacturer’s recommendations and obtaining professional advice will help you make the best selection.

You should also consider the length, shank, and head of the nail. Galvanized roofing nails are ideal for this project, as they have a longer shank and flat nail head to better secure vinyl siding and roofing materials.

When installing vinyl siding, it is important to nail correctly, either by hand or with a power nailer. If you are power-nailing, it’s important to be careful and not apply too much pressure. Vinyl siding will expand and contract with changes in temperature, so if it’s nailed too tightly, it may buckle and become wavy. When nailing, always center the nails in slots and leave a 1/32-inch clearance between the head of the nail and the vinyl siding.

Capping Corner Posts

The most common vinyl siding failures are caused when panels unlock from each other, allowing wind to catch the gap and cause structural damage. To prevent this, apply a bit of upward pressure when nailing each piece to keep it locked together. It may seem counterintuitive to hammer the nails loosely rather than tightly, but this allows the vinyl to expand and contract without interference. Throughout the installation process, check and recheck your lines to ensure that they are straight. To help, the Vinyl Siding Institute has produced a series of excellent instructional videos to walk you through each step of the process.

The first step is to install a starter strip at the lowest point that will be sided, followed by a J-channel and then soffit and fascia channels. The J-channel should be installed so that it overlaps the side channels by 3/4” to keep water from leaking behind the vinyl. Overlap is also important for the bottom corners of windows and doors.

Flashing the Bottom Corners of Windows

Ensure that water and other materials don’t seep behind your vinyl siding. In the corners of windows and around other exterior fixtures, install a strip of flashing to prevent leaks.

A pro can do the hard work of flashing around doors and windows, ensuring that your house is waterproofed. Any gaps or holes can let in rain, snow, and other unwanted substances.

When you’re nailing vinyl siding, hammer the nails gently. If you apply too much pressure, the flange of the nail can crack or break. Vinyl siding naturally expands and contracts during different weather conditions, so the nails should be loose to allow for this.

If you’re using a side “J” channel and the window doesn’t have an integral one, install a bent “Z” flashing at the bottom corner of the window. This keeps the water that travels through the J channel from leaking onto your vinyl. For other types of windows, tape the top of the next full course of siding above the window to bring any water that goes behind the siding below the window back to the surface. Continue reading the next article.