Vinyl Siding Installation Tips

Get the details right

Installing or repairing vinyl siding on your house? A professional siding contractor shares installation tips learned on hundreds of homes

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Fast, flawless vinyl siding

Vinyl has long been a popular choice for both new construction and re-siding projects, and for good reason: It costs much less than metal, brick, fiber cement, stucco or wood. It allows a house to breathe. It doesn’t require painting. It’s light and easy to work with. And installing vinyl siding doesn’t require a whole bunch of expensive specialty tools. Here are some tips to help you keep the siding on your walls and the elements out of your house.

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Use the wider starter strip

Hide the Seams

On the sides of the house, start each row at the back corner so you don’t see the seams from the street. If the seams overlap away from the line of sight, they become nearly invisible. Lap them the other way and they’ll be a real eyesore.

On the front and back of the house, overlap the seams so you don’t see them from the areas where you spend the most time, like front doors, decks and patios. If the visibility of a seam doesn’t matter at all, install the siding so the prevailing winds will blow over the seams, not into them.

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Cap the corner posts

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Pull up as you nail

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Overlap your top J-channels

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Buy a vinyl siding blade

Nailing Fundamentals

  • Use 2-in. galvanized roofing nails unless the sheathing has foam on it. Then you’ll want longer ones.
  • Don’t drive the nails tight: Each panel should be able to move back and forth or the siding will bubble on really hot days.
  • Hit every stud: Expansion and contraction of the siding will loosen nails that are fastened only to the sheathing.

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Flash the bottoms of windows

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Install longer panels first

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Mind the overlaps

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Don't trap water behind corners

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Install kick-out flashing

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Crimp and caulk the top course

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Hammer
  • Miter saw
  • Tape measure
  • Circular saw
  • Caulk gun
  • Vinyl siding blade
  • Snap lock punch
  • Safety glasses
  • Tin snips

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Vinyl siding
  • J-channel
  • Starter strip
  • Corner post
  • Sill trim
  • 2-in. roofing nails
  • 30 lb. felt