A Full Guide to Replacing Vinyl Siding

Updated: May 23, 2024

A $5 tool makes the job quick and easy.


Cracked or broken vinyl siding is no reason for despair. A simple $5 tool gets the job done in 15 minutes. This article also includes some useful tips on how to get the best match possible for your original siding.

Tools Required

  • Pry bar
  • Zip tool

Materials Required

  • Replacement siding boards

How Do You Replace Vinyl Siding?

Vinyl siding is tough but not indestructible. If a falling branch or a well-hit baseball cracked a piece of your siding, don’t fret — replacing vinyl siding is a breeze. You can make it as good as new in about 15 minutes with a zip tool and a replacement piece. It’s as simple as unzipping the damaged piece and snapping in a new one.

The downside of replacing older vinyl siding is that it can be hard to match the style and color, and siding rarely has any identifying marks. The best way to get a replacement piece is to take the broken piece to vinyl siding distributors in your area and find the closest match.

If the old vinyl has faded or you can’t find the right color, take the broken piece to a paint store and have the color matched. Paint the replacement piece with one coat of top-quality acrylic primer followed by acrylic house paint — acrylic paint will flex with the movement of the vinyl.

Project step-by-step (3)

Step 1

It’s best to repair vinyl in warm weather. In temperatures below freezing, it becomes less flexible and may crack.

15 Minute Vinyl Siding Repair With a Zip Tool

  • Starting at one end of the damaged piece, push the end of the zip siding removal tool up under the siding until you feel it hook the bottom lip.
  • Slide the zip tool along the bottom edge to release the vinyl siding from the piece below it.
    • Pro tip: The vinyl siding zip tool will save you loads of time. 
  • Pull the zip tool downward and out to unhook the bottom lip, then slide it along the edge, pulling the siding out as you go.
  • Then unzip any pieces above the damaged piece.

vinyl siding repair zip tool

Step 2

Remove nails

  • Slip a flat bar behind the vinyl siding and lever out the nails.
    • Pro tip: Hold any pieces above the damaged piece out of the way with your elbow while you pry out the nails that hold the damaged piece in place.

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Step 3

Install new siding

  • Slide the replacement piece up into place, pushing up until the lower lip locks into the piece below it.
  • Drive 1-1/4-in. roofing nails through the nailing flange. Space them about every 16 inches (near the old nail holes).
  • Nail in the center of the nailing slot and leave about 1/32-in. of space between the nail head and the siding so the vinyl can move freely.
    • Pro tip: Don’t nail the heads tightly or the siding will buckle when it warms up.
  • With the new piece nailed, use the zip tool to lock the upper piece down over it.
  • Start at one end and pull the lip down, twisting the siding removal tool slightly to force the leading edge down.
  • Slide the zip tool along, pushing in on the vinyl just behind the siding removal tool with your other hand so it snaps into place.

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