This project covers installing vinyl siding.
Vinyl siding cuts easily, goes up quickly, produces uniform reveals almost automatically, and needs minimal caulking and no painting. But don't take the job lightly: The walls must be well-prepared and the pieces installed correctly to prevent leaks and siding failure.
With vinyl siding, some moisture will seep behind the siding and must be allowed to escape at the bottom around weep holes, much like those in a brick wall. Seepage won't be a problem if you correctly install building wrap and flashings or if the underlying siding is in sound condition.
The higher the vinyl gauge -- that is, the thicker it is -- the better it will perform: 0.048-inch-thick vinyl is significantly stronger than 0.040-inch-thick vinyl. Vinyl siding does not need to be painted.
The basic rule is "hang loose." Because vinyl expands and contracts with changes in the weather, nails should not be driven fully tight, and pieces should be cut so there are 1/4-inch gaps between panels and trims.
With a helper, 600 square feet per day
Hammer, miter saw or circular saw, tape measure, clamps, chalk line, drill, pry bar, square, level, story pole, caulking gun, utility knife, T-bevel, tin snips, staple gun, snap-lock punch tool
Measuring, laying out a job, cutting
Apply building wrap, trim, and flashings.
Siding, trim to match (inside and outside corner posts, J-channel, starter strip, window and door starters), flashing, stainless-steel or galvanized nails, caulk
Apply building wrap and prepare the walls. Apply self-stick flashing to corners and around windows and doors and apply flashings as needed. If you live in a damp climate, consider using the rain-screen method. You may choose to install strips of felt at the studs. Snap chalk lines indicating the centers of all the studs. Use a story pole to determine where to start at the bottom; adjust the layout up or down as needed to avoid narrow slivers above or below windows and doors. (There is no need to mark for the courses; they are automatically determined when you snap the siding pieces together.) Mark the bottom of the layout all around the house if needed.
Cut an outside corner post to run from 1/2 inch below the bottom of the starter strip to the eave or gable underhang. Hold the post 1/4 inch below the underhang (so it will be 3/4 inch below the starter strip) and loosely drive a nail at the top of the top slot. Slip the post flanges behind the starter strip flanges. Drive the other nails loosely (see Step 14) into the centers of slots.
If the corner isn't long enough, cut the lower piece 1-1/2 inches longer than the distance to the bottom of the starter strip and make a splice: Cut 1 inch from the flanges of the lower piece and slide the lower piece under the upper piece by 3/4 inch. (This will leave a 1/4-inch gap in the flanges, and the post will hang 3/4 inch below the starter strip.)
Once all the trim pieces are in place, the siding panels can go up. Cut the panels to fit loosely, with 1/4-inch gaps at the trim pieces. Slip a panel into position, then push up firmly at the bottom until it snaps onto the lower piece's flange (or the starter strip). Keep pressing and slide your hand along the bottom to ensure that the joint is secure all along its length.
When marking for cutting around a window, allow a 1/4-inch gap between the panel and the J-channel or other trim. Holding the panel in place, mark the two sides, then measure for the depth of the cutout by determining how far the panel needs to come up so it can snap into place.