Install Vinyl Siding Yourself and Save Money
Vinyl siding is an attractive alternative to painting the exterior of your home. Made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride,) vinyl siding is pre-colored during manufacture, making it scratch-proof. Vinyl siding is easy to work with and lends itself to homeowner installation.
Your home's exterior has faded due to time and weather. Rather than repaint it, you can install vinyl siding, which will look fresh and new as long as you own your home. And if you install the siding yourself, you may do the job for less than half of the cost of a contractor.
What You Need to Know About Vinyl Siding
When choosing vinyl siding, remember that gauge, or thickness, is the key to durability and cost. Most vinyl siding is .040" to .045" thick, while more costly premium siding is up to .055" thick. Most large home centers carry vinyl siding, or you can order it directly from the manufacturer. As with any home project, planning and preparation are key to your success, so you need to take a methodical, step-by-step approach.
Estimating is the First Step in Vinyl Siding Installation
Take accurate measurements in order to determine the materials you will need. Measure the perimeter and height of your house and multiply to get the main square footage. Don't forget to add any gable wall measurements. Then subtract the square footage of all major openings (garage and patio doors, large windows). To simplify this process, consider purchasing a specialty construction calculator.
Preparation is Key When Installing Vinyl Siding
If you are installing vinyl siding over existing wood siding or stucco, you may have to use 1x3 furring strips to provide an even nailing surface. Before beginning installation, remove anything that could obstruct installation, such as downspouts or lighting fixtures, and tie back branches of trees or shrubbery. Remove old caulking around doors and windows.
Tools You Will Need for Vinyl Siding Installation
You probably already have most of the tools required for vinyl siding installation. These can all be found in most garages or workshops:
- Steel tape measure
- Circular saw
- Hacksaw with fine-tooth blades
- Tin snips
- Utility knife
- Chalk line
- Carpenter's square
- Felt tip pen
The special tools you will need are:
- Nail hole punch
- Mason's line
- Snap-lock punch
- Unlocking tool
Install Your Vinyl Siding: Follow These Rules
You have done your estimate and prep work, purchased your siding panels, corner pieces, and J-channel trim, and you are ready to go. You should have detailed installation instructions from the manufacturer, but here are five rules you must remember:
- Always nail in the center of the slot to allow the piece to move freely.
- Never nail a piece tightly. You should be able to slide panels or accessories back and forth.
- Never nail through the vinyl. If the slot has been removed due to trimming, use a nail hole punch to make a slot.
- Leave clearance at the ends of panels where they butt into J-channels or corner posts. Leave 1/4" clearance, (3/8" if temperatures drop below freezing.)
- Never pull siding panels tight when installing. They should hang loose when locked.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions, and you should find installation relatively easy. When finished, you can be proud of your work and happy with the money you have saved.
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