Getting started installing vinyl siding

When you’re installing vinyl siding you will need to put on all the trim first including exterior window trim. The actual vinyl will be the last thing you put on. The cost of siding a house varies according to brand and quality, but the siding trim seems to be fairly standard.

The siding will be able to cover all parts of the house that are visible except the roof.

The eaves and soffit will have vinyl or metal coverings that will give them a professional look. The drawing below shows the parts of the exterior that will be covered.

install vinyl siding

Let’s run down the list of the different parts and where they go. We’ll start off with the vinyl panel itself, which can be several styles both in size and color.

The panels are usually 2 rows of 4 inches or double 4’s, but some are 4 ½ inches for a total coverage of 9 inches. The panels fit together with a top lock and a bottom lock.

color samples of vinyl siding

The picture below shows the siding accessories. First is the utility trim, which goes below the eave and holds the top panel in place. Next is the starter strip, which is where you attach the first panel and then work your way up to tuck the top panel into the utility trim.

The F-channel holds the soffit panels in place and gives the eaves a professional look. J-channel is installed around windows and doors before the vinyl panels are put up. The vinyl slides into the J-channel so the cut edges of the vinyl aren’t visible.

vinyl siding accessories

Let’s get started installing vinyl siding. Most building materials centers will send someone to your building site to measure the house to get an estimate for materials needed.

This is almost always free of charge. If by some chance you don’t have a Home Depot, Lowe’s or some other center, you may have to calculate the amount of materials yourself. There is an easy way to do this if you have to.

home depot vinyl siding

For the wall area, you can just multiply the height times the width. Don’t subtract anything for windows or doors. Also try to add an extra 10 percent to compensate for waste.

You can get very close to the amount needed for the gable ends if you multiply half the height times the width of the gable. You can get the measurements for the starter strip, the utility trim, the J-channel and the F-channel simply by doing a linear measurement.

The starter strip and utility trim are installed as in the drawing below. The gable ends will have J-channel to hold the vinyl in place at the ends. You will use J-channel for most parts of the trim when you go to install vinyl siding.

vinyl siding j-channel

You will use J-channel on gable ends, but also around windows and doors. The vinyl panels will tuck neatly inside the J-channel. A lot of J-channel will be used because of all the windows and doors in a home, but it’s very inexpensive and it’s extremely easy to work with.

The vinyl tucks up into the J-channel on the gable ends. On the sides of the house under the gable ends, the utility strip will hold the top row of vinyl in place.

vinyl siding installation instructions

The nail hem has to be cut off from the top piece of vinyl when installing vinyl siding top pieces. After the nail hem is removed, the vinyl needs to have snap-lock lugs punched into it about every 4 inches with a snap-lock punch.

The top piece of vinyl then slides into the utility strip and snaps into a locked position which can move from side to side, but not down.

vinyl siding tools

The trim part of vinyl siding goes really fast, but is very important. Make sure the trim and channel pieces are solid because they are what helps hold the vinyl in place.

Next, eaves and soffit

Back to siding main page

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