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Vinyl Siding Replacement And Installation

Unlike other types of siding, vinyl is dyed rather than painted, and isn't susceptible to chipping or peeling. It can fade, but generally good vinyl siding wears well for years and cleans easily using a brush that attaches to your garden hose or better yet, a power washer. It requires little maintenance.

However, when vinyl siding becomes cracked, split or otherwise damaged, it requires removal of the compromised section before you can make a replacement. To make replacements, you'll need the following items.

Vinyl Siding Tool List

  • Special cutters called "aviation snips," which are tin snips with compound leverage, or a small backsaw
  • A tool called a "zipper" or "zip tool" that disengages the joint between two panels
  • Utility knife (box cutter)
  • Pry bar
  • Nail puller or small hack saw
  • Carpenter's square
  • Chalk

Replacing Vinyl Siding
By its nature, vinyl siding expands and contracts as the weather changes, so bear in mind then whenever nailing siding in place nails should be left with a little bit of play in them (slightly loose) so they allow for movements in the siding. You'll have the best installation if you use galvanized roofing nails long enough to pass through the siding and sheathing and sink into the wall studs ¾ of an inch and still be loose enough to allow for siding to expand. Since vinyl siding can vary in depth, measure it and make calculations to ensure you purchase the right length nails.

Try to work in weather above 50º (10ºC) to avoid dealing with brittle panels, which are more prone to splitting and cracking.

Hopefully you will have replacement panels somewhere in your basement, garage or other storage area. If not, try contacting the manufacturer for purchasing information. That failing, try removing a piece of siding and taking it to a home improvement place and finding the closest match in style and color. Obviously the most important feature is that it be the same size and have the same fittings as your current siding.

Vinyl Siding Replacement and Installation a.
Vinyl Siding Replacement and Installation b.
Vinyl Siding Replacement and Installation c.

Once you have your replacement piece ready, you're set to make your moves.

1. Use a carpenter's square and chalk (or a pencil) to make vertical marks on either side of the damaged area. If the damage is near the end of a panel, you should mark the opposite side and remove the damaged section to the panel edge. To ensure the best quality installation, expand the area you're removing to span at least three studs.
2. Cut the panel along your chalk markings using your carpenter's square pressed tightly against the line and cut each edge with a utility knife. Get as close to the top as possible.
3. Use the zipper tool to unlock the damaged panel from the one above it by inserting it into the lower joint of the upper panel and sliding it across the length of the damaged piece you're removing. Carefully lift the upper panel to expose the nails anchoring it to the damaged piece. Pry them out with the nail puller or pry bar.
4. Cut your replacement piece so that it is 1 inch longer on either side (2 inches total). If the damaged piece you removed was at a corner, cut the piece so it is only a total of 1 ½ longer.
5. Center the replacement piece over the damaged area and lock it to the panel just beneath it so that the patch overlaps on both sides (or one, if the repair is at a corner). Secure it using galvanized roofing nails driven into nail slots. Remember NOT to drive the nails tightly; leave some room for expansion of the vinyl.

Lock the new strip into place by pressing against the bottom edge of the panel as you pull down on the zipper tool and slide it lengthwise.

Doing these smaller jobs yourself can really save you some money, since most repair professionals tack on a hefty fee just to come out and make even a five-minute fix. After all, you're taking their time away from potentially bigger fish, and time is money. Since most of us have more of the former than the latter (if only barely), it's a good idea save your dough for the big jobs you can't or don't want to deal with and fix the smaller hassles on your own. And don't forget to bore your neighbors with your handy-work: it is, after all, the most enjoyable thing about home repair!

Hammer Got problems with your vinyl siding? Talk to other DIYers in our Siding forum.