How to install vinyl siding

I get many questions on how to install vinyl siding from many website visitors. It’s really fun to work with vinyl siding. It’s very popular for new construction. You can easily do your own house siding without the help of siding contractors. Even beginners can make their homes look really nice because the vinyl fits together easily and all imperfections are covered up.

I have worked with a few types of vinyl siding and I like most of them.
My favorite is “Heartland Siding”. Man, that stuff is durable, it looks great and keeps its color, and it’s a dream to work with.

I think it’s called “HeartTech” Siding now. I have no affiliation to the company that makes this stuff, I just really like the siding products. After years of seeing how vinyl siding holds up through extreme weather conditions, I absolutely love the stuff.

Vinyl siding is also a dream to maintain and

vinyl siding

I will go over a few of the aspects of siding installation.

First, we need to know why we should choose vinyl siding.

Second, we need to understand the rules for installing vinyl, because of the expansion and contraction with varying temperatures.Third, we’ll get started by measuring and prepping the walls for vinyl.

Fourth, we need to apply all the eaves and soffit which are made of metal, but really easy to put on.

Fifth, we’ll put on the vinyl corners and the flashing and trim around doors and windows.

Sixth, we’ll start nailing the vinyl panels in place.

And last, there are only a few vinyl siding tools needed to do all the vinyl and trim work and all these tools are inexpensive.

vinyl siding example

The picture above shows how all the siding components fit together. I will cover each aspect of siding installation.

Vinyl Siding is a lot cheaper than you probably think it is. When an older home is resided with vinyl the difference is usually dramatic. Naturally, you would think that something that makes such a difference would be costly. Not only that, but us do-it-yourselfers don’t have to pay for labor, so it’s really inexpensive.
Anyone can learn how to install vinyl siding and there definitely should be more people learning how, especially when you find out how much you can save by doing it yourself.

As in most things we deal with in home construction, vinyl siding costs less than one-third the total installation price. All the rest comes from contracted labor.

I just recently had some friends who asked for bids to install vinyl siding on their 2,000 sq. ft. home. I knew that the vinyl and accessories would cost maybe $2,000 maximum. The bid they received was for $7200. The siding contractor could have the whole project finished in about three days. It would look fantastic, and he would pocket $5,000 for three days work.

People don’t really complain about the high cost of siding installers for two reasons. First, the job they do almost always looks so excellent, and second, they don’t know how much of a profit margin they just paid out.

The basics of installing vinyl siding is not the siding at all, but rather, the flashing ,the eaves, soffits, windows, and door trims.

The flashing around windows and doors will need to be done first. Think of it this way: Rain will need to make a sweeping motion from the roof, down the walls, and on to the ground without any retention or chances of getting in.

Flashing windows is as easy as cutting out strips of metal that are about six inches wide and the length or width of the window. It’s important to start at the bottom of the window. Nail the strip in place, then overlap that piece with the side pieces.

Last, put the top piece on overlapping the side pieces so the water runs down, not into the wall. It’s all about overlapping.

You will need to put up J-trim all around the windows and doors. J-channel comes in long strips and it cuts really easy with tin snips. The J-trim is what the vinyl tucks into so the jagged edges aren’t visible. Look at the pic below of my kitchen window. You can see where the white J-trim covers up the edges of the vinyl. Learning to cover unfinished-looking rough work is part of learning how to install vinyl siding.

vinyl window

j channel

Ugly house eh? That’s why vinyl siding is such a cool thing. It covers up all the ugliness. Learning how to install vinyl siding helps us turn that ugly duckling house into a beautiful swan almost overnight.


The soffit material is usually metal not vinyl. The soffit panels all slide in place and connect together between the channel trims. On the fascia, which is the eave face, you will need to put on a utility strip toward the very top of the eave just below the roof metal or shingles. The fascia is usually the right size for eaves, but you can trim it if you need to.

You will need to rent or buy a snap-lock tool to punch snap lock lugs into the fascia about 1/2-inch from the top. The fascia will lock into place when you push it up into the utility strip. Some installers call this dog-earring the panels.

Next we will put on all the corner pieces. There are outside corners and inside corners. These are vinyl and you need to make sure to leave expansion room. Remember, vinyl expands and contracts with temperature changes. You don’t want to restrict that movement by driving nails in too tight. The corners need to expand also. The corners will sort of hang on the walls. The most basic thing to remember about vinyl siding is that during the hot and cold seasons it will expand and contract.

Next, you will need special vinyl fittings for all external outlets and spigots. Also, you’ll need outside lighting fixture fittings, and a dryer vent fitting.

Once all the fittings and trimmings are in place, you can start applying the vinyl panels. You apply the starter strip and work your way up.

Why choose vinyl siding?

Rules for installing vinyl

Getting started

Eaves and soffit

Flashing and trim

Nailing the vinyl panels

Vinyl siding tools

Cleaning vinyl siding

Why banks love vinyl siding

How to paint vinyl siding

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