Of all the available exterior finishes, vinyl siding is probably the easiest to install. By following a few basic rules to the installation of vinyl siding, almost anyone can do it.
The first rule is to start out level and straight. The starter strip that holds the first course of siding must be installed level and straight. This helps insure that the following courses are also level and straight. It also helps if other siding accessories are also installed properly. Outside corners must be installed plumb and straight. Inside corners, undersill and j-channel accessories must also be correctly nailed in place.
The second rule is to NOT nail the vinyl siding tight to the wall. Because vinyl siding expands and contracts with variations in temperature, it must be allowed to move. Vinyl siding has a nailing strip with slots for nailing. Nails must be placed in the center of these slots. The nails must also not be nailed home. The nail head must be driven about an eighth of an inch short of the nailing strip. After nailing the siding must be able to slide to the left and right.
The third rule is to cut the siding to the proper length. Vinyl siding must not fit tight in corners or J-channels. Again this is to allow movement for temperature change. In cold weather, siding must be cut 3/8 inch short of the insides of corners and J-channels. In warm weather this measurement is 1/4 inch. When siding ends lap in a course, the siding must overlap a minimum of 3/4 of an inch.
By following the three basic rules one can have a professional looking vinyl siding installation job. It should look straight and level and be free of waves and "oil canning".
Mike Merisko (C)2008
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