Vinyl Siding: Installation And Paint

(Last Updated On: February 22, 2017)

Vinyl siding is by far one of the most popular type of siding which is trending in the market. It adds a great appeal to the exterior of your house. Vinyl siding is so much popular because vinyl siding colors are limitless and it offers plenty of designs and textures to choose from. Some of the added benefits are that it’s a low maintenance material and is also a practical alternative to wood siding. Offering such advantages also when you look at the vinyl siding cost, it is much affordable. Vinyl siding prices are affordable because vinyl siding installation is very easy and you can easily do it yourself and save the money which you would pay to a professional. There also arises the need of vinyl siding repair or vinyl siding paint over a period of time but these are also not much expensive. By considering all the facts, if you decide vinyl siding to be choice of your exterior then here’s a step wise vinyl siding installation process so that you can do it yourself and save yourself some bucks.

Vinyl siding installation

  • Think why you want to install vinyl siding

Installing vinyl siding with hammer
Man Installing vinyl siding

Vinyl siding installation is a great option for the one who want the looks of siding in their home and don’t want the extremely high cost which comes along with the application of concrete and cedar products. Vinyl sidings are also a great choice for those homeowners who want to stay away from the issues of repainting the exterior of the home at every specific interval. Before you finalize your choice, you must visit some of the houses which are having vinyl siding and take a look at it carefully to make sure you will like it when you see it in your house. Also ask the local advisor about the financial effect of this siding on your house. Most of the times, an addition of vinyl siding will give a positive effect, but at times it can have a negative impact also. Say for example, you are having a house which is the only house with vinyl siding in the whole neighborhood with restored Victorian houses then there are chances that the value of your home might come down with vinyl siding installation. Also make the choice as to which type of vinyl siding you want to opt for like Smooth vinyl siding or Textured vinyl siding, High gloss or Low gloss finish. There’s also an array of vinyl siding colors; some of them are with grain like pattern which very closely resembles wood.

  • Gather all the tools and materials

If you finally decide to go ahead and lead the project yourself then at first you must gather all the tools and materials. Before you start with the work, you will need a folding ruler, a claw hammer, a snap lock punch, tin snips, a metal square, a chalk line, a power saw, a measuring tape, a utility knife, a plier, a level, a nail slot punch, a hacksaw, a pry bar, a sawhorse and a ladder. After this you need to collect all the materials. Collect a flashing, J-channel, building paper, corrosion resistant nails and appropriate amount of siding planks to cover up your home. Also take vinyl corners and trim for doors and windows as well as the termination trim for the area where you meet other surfaces like masonry work and soffit.

  • Prepare outside part of home for installation

Before you start, you will require to properly prepare outside of your home for vinyl siding installation. One of the prevalent issues with such types of siding is that it has moisture issues and some other structural defects. Hence, it is very much important to fix any of the existing issues before you install the siding. Tight any of the loose boards and if there is any rotting, then replace it with a new one. Scrap any old caulk from the doors and windows around. Clear out the area if there is any exterior lights, mailboxes, spouts and house numbering. Also if there are any plants or trees or flowers then tie them back from the exteriors of your house to save them from the damage.

  • Know the fitting and nailing rules

Vinyl siding usually contracts and expands with changes in temperature and thus you need to have some extra space for expansion for preventing the siding from buckling. Keep extra space of ¼ inch in between the siding panels and any other accessory. Make sure that you don’t drive the nails very tightly to make the movement of panels a bit free. Leave a spacing of 1/6 inch in between the nail head and siding for allowing the movement and preventing waves from forming in the panels. Centre each nail in the appropriate slot and assure to drive the nails straight instead of making it crooked. Don’t face the nails while installing siding, as it can cause the panels to buckle.

  • Measure the walls

Measure the length of the walls, starting from the eaves to the bottom of any of the existing siding. This will help you to find out how many panels of siding will be needed per wall. Divide length of each wall by taking measure of 8 inches. If you get a result in a whole number then it is beneficial as you can install the pieces of siding without having to leave any gaps or any need to cut any of the pieces to size. But if you don’t get a whole number then you have to cut the final piece and fill it in the remaining space. If you are having the last row of siding, you will have to use a length of J-channel on the top edge of your siding. There will also be a need to nail a strip of ½ inch plywood. It should be 3 inches wide to the channel for giving a proper support.

  • Install starter strip

Once you have chosen where you want the siding to start, drive a nail to the point where you have selected the starting height and also snap a chalk line around the perimeter of your house. Nail a piece of plywood which is about 3.5 inches thick around the top of the chalk line. This will generally hold out the bottom of the first row of siding. After that, attach your starter strip with that of plywood but make sure to not to nail it too much tightly. If done so, it will restrict the movement of strip. Make sure you leave ¼ inch of distance between each of the starter strip so that there is allowance of room for expansion.

  • Install the corner posts

Install ½ inch of foam of sheathing strips on each of the sides of each corner. After that, install your corner siding pieces to all these strips. The corner post must run from ¾ inch which is below from the bottom of starter strip to under the eaves, after all the soffit pieces are installed. Assure that all the corner siding pieces are totally straight before you secure them.  Once you get satisfied, nail all of them to the adjoining walls starting from top to the bottom.

  • Install J channel around the doors and windows

After you are done with installing corner posts, it’s the time to install J channel on all the four sides of exterior windows and doors. Keep the J channel against the casing and nail it to the wall. Don’t nail it very tightly for allowing it to have some movement.

  • Start installing the wall siding

Apply any insulation material which is necessary to the walls, before you initiate to install the siding. Measure the length of siding and then cut them accordingly. Cut it in a way that each panel ends with ¼ inch of vertical trim pieces and also allow for expansion. If you install the vinyl siding in freezing condition, then you must leave 3/8 inch instead of ¼ inch.

  • Overlap adjoining panels

When you are joining two lengths of siding together then make sure to overlap them by about 1 inch. When you are deciding as to which side to overlap, choose the side which will be least obvious from the front side or the most likely used area of the house. Say for example if your driveway is situated to the rights of your home then consider having a right over left overlap as it will be least noticeable.

  • Install siding around the windows

When you reach to a window, you will have to cut sections from the panel itself directly below and above it to fit properly. Take measurement of the width of the piece which you need to cut by holding the length of the vinyl siding against the window and then mark the edge points with a pencil on the panels. Leave ¼ inch extra for clearance on either of the sides of these marks. Measure the height of piece you need to cut by butting scrap piece of vinyl siding against the window and mark the appropriate height. Don’t forget to leave additional ¼ inch of clearance. Transfer all the measurement onto piece of siding. Make vertical on siding panel along with a saw and make a horizontal cut along with a utility knife and then snap the piece out. Then, install cut pieces of vinyl siding below and above the windows normally.

  • Install top row of siding

When you come to the top row of vinyl siding, you will have to measure it and cut it in proper size to fit it. To decide how much you need to cut the panel from the top, you need to measure the distance between top of under-sill trim along with the lock of the next panel. Remove the nailing strip when you are cutting the top siding panel to an appropriate height. Make use of a snap lock punch tool for punching the top edge of the panel with a 6 inch interval to make sure that the raised materials is on the outside part. Slot the bottom most edge of the vinyl siding panel, into the panel which is placed below and slide the top edge under sill-trim. The raised slot which you made with the snap lock punch will get catch onto the trim and hold the top of the siding panel firmly in its place.

  • Consider hiring a professional

After learning vinyl siding installation process, if you think that you might not be able to do it yourself, then you are always open to the option of hiring a professional to get your vinyl siding installation job done. It is a process which needs lots of time and skill and the way it is installed also has a great impact on its longevity and its look. If you are not comfortable with vinyl siding installation yourself, hire a professional and get it installed. If you opt for a professional, then collect the list of names of the contractor of your local area and request each of them to give their price estimate. Take some time and inspect their previous work and talk with their previous clients whether they are satisfied with the work or not. After finishing this research process, choose the vinyl siding contractor that you find most reliable with adequate pricing.

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After some years have passed of your vinyl siding installation, it might happen that your vinyl siding might look old, dull and boring. At that time, the actual need can be either of vinyl siding repairs if there is any damage or there can be need of vinyl siding paint which can bring back the lost charm.

In case of vinyl siding paint, here’s a step DIY approach to guide you and make your siding look like new again.

Vinyl siding paint process

  • Check whether siding is in good condition or not

Painting vinyl siding with roller
Man painting vinyl siding

Painting vinyl siding, which already has defects will just delay the possibility of future vinyl siding repair. In fact, painting over the defects will even make the problem worse. If there is any existing defect in the siding, then you must consider vinyl siding repair first and then opt for vinyl siding paint. Not fixing the damage will waste your time and money.

  • Check the defects

Check for any loose or any missing part of the vinyl siding. Also check the positioning of any nail heads or fixings. Each and every item should be flush to the vinyl siding. If they are not, then either they should be repositioned or they should be replaced with new one. Also check for rotting or moisture issues and if you find any, clear them up.

  • Brush the siding

Take a soft brush or broom having a long tailed handle and take a small one for the difficult areas and corners. Run your brush along the vinyl siding to collect dead leaves, insect remains, spider webs and such other things. Don’t use the broom very firmly, or else it will scratch the surface of your siding.

  • Wash the siding

Take standard washing detergent and mix it up with water to remove all the grime and grease. If you are adding any chlorine bleach to such mixture then, it will be helpful in cleaning any mildew and mold which could be growing on the surface of your vinyl siding. If it is possible to use a power washer then it’s good to use it. Make sure that the pressure of the washer is not much high, or else it will lift up your siding. Be careful about the edges or wherever the siding is placed at any unusual angle. If the water seeps into the wood, then it can encourage rotting or mildew growth. Hence, the best option for washing your siding is to clean it by hands, using rags and sponges with any of the suggested mixture. This is more time consuming but this will ensure a gentle wash and will not damage your siding a bit.

  • Apply primer to the siding

When vinyl siding paint is undertaken, you must ensure that the paint sticks to your surface in proper manner. Make use of acrylic bond primer. This will make sure that the finishing coat will stay on the siding in proper manner and even in a better manner. This will make the paint to last for long period of time on your siding. You don’t want your paint to start peeling off just after few months of its application and for that don’t forget to apply the primer.

  • Apply the paint

There are possibly three methods for applying the paint.

  • Brushes
  • Rollers
  • Spray painting
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The method you choose also depends upon the personal preference and your painting skills. But it is advisable to keep spraying aside for someone with experience. If you are going for vinyl siding paint for the very first time then it will be considered easy to work with a roller or a brush. Even here, you have to decide whether you want to go for faster application or easier application. It is advisable to go for lamb’s wool roller instead of using sponge roller. The finish of these rollers will last longer and it will have a neater finish. These also have fewer gunks on them. You will need a short roller along with a long one. The short roller will be for the side parts and the long one will be for the upper parts of the siding. If you are using a brush then it is better option as they tend to avail a better finish. Brushes are also very easy to use and you will also see that you will improve very soon with constant practice. If you are opting for acrylic paint then you should select a synthetic bristle. Keep plenty of rags along with you while painting for cleaning the spills.

Vinyl siding is a great option to consider for your house as it is cheap and also durable. Being cheap and with plenty of vinyl siding colors to choose from, it also has an easy DIY installation and painting process which can be done easily by you with the help of above mentioned process.

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