How to Replace Vinyl Siding: The Ultimate Guide
Take a look around your home. Can you count multiple home improvement projects you need to get done? You’re not alone.
A full 32% of homeowners have been putting off at least one home improvement job for 12 months or more. Sometimes pipes leak and sinks clog, and sometimes the issues are much more severe.
Whether the fixes have a minimal impact on your time and wallet or not, it’s crucial to stay ahead of the game when it comes to your home. This includes learning how to replace vinyl siding shingles.
Vinyl siding is a popular home exterior that is a low-cost and low-maintenance alternative to other styles like wood siding while still upholding a great curb appeal. While vinyl siding is durable, it still requires upkeep.
In this guide, we’ll go over the details on how to inspect and replace vinyl siding with ease.
How to Inspect Your Vinyl Siding Shingles
There are specific signs that point toward incorrect installation or damage that any homeowner can spot.
Your inspection should include spotting mold, holes, and other types of damage. This process should be more thorough than a quick glance.
Evidence of damage is not always visual. Take some time to feel and observe your siding. Damage can occur in areas that are not immediately noticeable.
Homeowners should check their siding twice a year during significant seasonal changes. Despite its durability, vinyl siding is negatively impacted by frigid or scorching weather.
Extremely low temperatures cause the vinyl siding to thin and crack, while high temperatures melt and warp siding. If you live in an area with extreme weather changes, it’s a good idea to inspect your siding seasonally and after major weather events.
Reasons to Replace Your Vinyl Siding
Properly installed vinyl lasts a long time with proper care. Now that you’ve inspected your siding, it’s time to learn more about each potential issue that may arise. If you see the following problems during your inspection, it’s time to conduct some home repair.
If your siding looks wavy, it’s likely warped and needs replacing. Distortion happens from frequent sun exposure or nail installation that’s too tight.
A common reason siding distorts is because it’s near a grill. If this is the identifiable cause, move your grill as far as possible from your siding. Continuing to grill close to melted siding increases the risk of a fire.
Dark-colored spots on your siding indicate mold. If you don’t see a lot of mold spots, you can take care of this by hand-washing the siding with a gentle water, Trisodium, and detergent mixture.
Power washing is a powerful option that quickly removes mold, but the water can get trapped underneath the siding. If you choose to power wash, aim it properly, and add a soap tip. Keeping the water on top of the siding will prevent the water from getting trapped.
Additionally, avoid powerful cleaning agents that could potentially ruin your siding’s surface. If the mold outbreak is significant, you’ll need to replace the siding.
3. Environmental Damage
From insects to earthquakes, there are plenty of ways the environment can hurt your siding. Unfortunately, these instances are often out of your control. Keep an eye out for small holes — these indicate that an animal or insect has infiltrated your siding.
Damage from environmental events like earthquakes or strong wind will be more visible. Even if it looks like your home’s structure came out unscathed during a significant weather event, it’s worth it to double-check.
Discoloration is a common issue that doesn’t ruin the integrity of your siding. However, it can be aesthetically unpleasing.
Discoloration typically occurs from chemical exposure, like pesticides. It’s also attributed to mold, mildew, or fungus, which requires cleaning. If stains don’t disappear after a deep clean, consider replacing your siding altogether.
If your siding is discolored and you’re not sure what color it was previously, try ordering color samples before committing. This could save you a major headache and prevent you from ordering the wrong color.
5. Structural Damage
The age of your home is a major structural damage factor you should be aware of. Older homes tend to sink and shift as they age.
When homes shift, the exterior will likely buckle and distort. When you’re inspecting your home, look for signs of foundation shifting as well as siding distortion.
Knowing whether your home is structurally changing will help you plan for potential siding issues in the future. A few signs of structural shifts include sunken foundation, cracked foundation, and roof sag.
6. Improper Vinyl Siding Installation
Sometimes, all it takes is improper installation to have damaged siding.
Check the nails installed in your siding. Vinyl siding should never have nails screwed into the face of the siding because it causes these ripples to form. Instead, nails should be screwed into a proper slotted nail hem above the face.
Additionally, the nails should be in the center of the nail hem slots. If the nails are off-center, they’re improperly installed.
If your home’s siding is buckling, the nails weren’t properly straightened when installed. Check for signs of distortion. Ripples also indicate installation errors.
You don’t want nails installed too tightly. This can cause distortion and warping in your siding down the line. If nails are installed correctly, the piece of siding should move side to side slightly.
Vinyl expands slightly with major temperature changes. If you hear crackling noises on a sunny day, your siding may be struggling underneath too-tight nails.
How To Replace Vinyl Siding
After identifying what caused the damage to your vinyl siding, it’s time to figure out what to do about it. Depending on the type of damage, you need to decide whether a professional is required or if you can DIY the project. If you choose to DIY, follow these steps to replace damaged vinyl siding.
Required Tools And Siding Materials
Gathering all the necessary tools and materials ahead of time will help ensure that your project goes smoothly.
You’ll need the following tools:
- Pry bar
- Tin snips
- Power saw
- Siding removal tool
- Tape measure
- Level Starter Strip
- Galvanized nails (3/8 inch head diameter)
You’ll need the following materials:
- 3 1/2 inch wide starter strip
- Foam board
- Corner caps
Most importantly, you’ll need your replacement siding. Before buying replacement vinyl siding, take some time to calculate how much replacement siding you’ll need to purchase.
This siding calculator is a useful tool that will help you figure out the square feet of your wall and how much square footage of siding you’ll need.
Along with that, make sure you’re buying good, quality vinyl siding. Our siding is high-quality, while still being an extremely affordable option for those looking to replace their old siding.
Remove Or Cover the Damaged Siding
Covering damaged siding is less time-consuming than installing from scratch, but it depends on the level of damage. If your siding has minimal damage, remove the damaged portions of the siding with tin snips. Cover the entire area with a rigid foam board, which will create a flat surface for you to work on. This foam will also insulate your home.
Remove any fixtures that are installed on the exterior. Move or cover shrubs and plants that may be in your way.
Getting Started With New Home Siding Installation
Before installing your siding, make sure the windows and doors in the installation area have proper trimming and insulation. You should also install your J-Channel around doors and windows and cap your corner posts. Begin your new siding installation from the bottom and work your way to the top.
For corners and areas around windows and doors, use your measuring tape to measure out siding panel pieces for your project before cutting them. Your final measurement should be around half an inch less than the actual measurement of your wall. This allows your siding to expand.
Keep in mind the measurement differences around windows and doors. Use tin snips to cut small panels. Use a saw to cut large panels.
Once everything is measured, you’re ready to install.
- Install a level starter strip 6 inches from the ground.
- Snap your first set of siding into the starter level by fastening it in place with your galvanized nails. Hammer your nails straight–not on an angle–and with a slight gap. This ensures your siding won’t buckle when the temperature changes.
- Move up and install your next set of siding. Make sure to overlap about an inch of siding as you move up.
- Continue hammering nails into the hemline. Keep in mind that you are hanging the panels, not fastening it to the exterior. This means the panels should be able to slide left to right.
Be careful not to fasten your nails tightly — there should be around 1/18 of an inch between the siding and the nail head. Continue moving up, using a ladder when necessary.
Remember that siding installation is much easier with more people. Don’t be afraid to ask a friend or family member for help.
Ready To Replace Your Vinyl Siding?
It’s key to stay on top of potential issues before they happen. By routinely inspecting your siding, you’re more likely to spot problems before they get too out of hand.
Even more importantly, it’s crucial to have exterior siding that’s going to withstand avoidable damage. Compared to fiber cement siding, wood siding, aluminum siding and many others, vinyl siding is the best option for your home.
For your siding project, make sure that you get new vinyl siding that’s going to leave you 100% satisfied. Order our high-quality siding today!