Home siding repair: replacing damaged siding

Home siding repair: replacing damaged siding

You'll find that today's vinyl siding is quite durable and generally repair-free. Quality products are covered by long-term warranties. However, older siding might need spot repairs. If you opt to do your own home siding repair, here are a few key requirements:

  1. The right tools
  2. Replacement siding
  3. Basic knowledge of the repair process

If you are removing damaged vinyl siding, the right tools include tin snips, utility knife, claw hammer, framing square, galvanized nails and a unique piece known as a zip tool. A zip tool has a thin, curved tip that you can slide in-between rows, catching the lip of the siding above. A downward pull will loosen, or disengage, a piece of siding from the courses above and below.

You will also need replacement siding that matches the color of the damaged piece. You could purchase some from the original manufacturer, or use scraps leftover from installation. However, keep in mind that surrounding panels may have faded slightly over time, so the best course of action might be to cut a piece of comparably faded siding from a low-visibility part of the exterior to use as a replacement panel.

Basic repair instructions

Whether you perform home siding repair yourself or contract it out, here are the steps to replacing damaged siding:

  1. Mark the damaged piece of siding to be removed, measuring an opening 2-3 inches smaller than the replacement piece
  2. Use the zip tool to disengage, or unlock, the damaged siding from courses above and below it
  3. Lift the top course for access to the damaged panel and pry out the nails securing it to the wall
  4. Use the utility knife and tin snips to cut out the damaged piece
  5. Cut about two inches from each side of the top and bottom strips of the replacement panel
  6. Slide the replacement piece into place, allowing it to overlap the siding on its left and right sides
  7. Attach with galvanized nails, leaving a space about the width of a dime between the nail head and the siding to allow for expansion
  8. Use the zip tool to reattach the new siding to the existing courses above and below

If you are in doubt when doing this project DIY, don't hesitate to call the manufacturer or a contractor. Ensuring that you are happy with the results is very important.

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