When it comes to the exterior of your home, while it is definitely possible to learn and become an expert at applying siding, roofing and more, it definitely isn’t easy, and this is the part where the vast majority of the DIYers are ready to pack it in! Siding, cladding and facing take up most of the exterior surface area of your home. They play a part in the appearance and operation of your home, and our vital to living happily and comfortably with the rest of your family. According to Realty Improvement, one of the main reasons most people are willing to attempt to try and take on siding and things, is simply due to a lack of knowledge. However, it is also important to understand, that there is a certain degree of danger and difficulty involved in the application of siding, as you will often be many feet in the air, and be in positions and doing work that most people simply aren’t use to.
While in most cases, because of these issues, we do recommend that you acquire the help of a professional like those available through Realty Improvement, however, here are some helpful tips to assist you through all your future siding efforts.

  • Prepare the walls.
    A flat, level wall surface is critical to install vinyl siding. In new construction, avoid using green lumber as the underlayment. Keep in mind that siding can only be as straight and stable as what lies under it. Install flashing before applying the siding. Also, a weather-resistant barrier should be applied to the house prior to installing the siding. Effective weather-resistant barrier systems will shed the water initially, control moisture flow by capillary and diffusion action, and minimize absorption into the wall structure. The weather-resistant barrier system should consist of a continuous weather-resistant material and properly integrated flashing around all penetrations and where vinyl siding interfaces with other building products such as brick, stone or stucco.
  • Start with the Accessories
    Before the siding itself can be hung, a number of accessories must be installed first, including starter strips, corner posts, window flashing, trim, and J-channels over the roof lines. In order for the siding to be installed properly in a level fashion, the starter strip at the bottom of the wall must be level. Determine the lowest point of the wall that will be sided; from that point, measure up 1/4 inch less than the width of the starter strip and partially drive a nail at one corner. Attach a chalk-line; go to the next corner and pull the line taut. Make sure the line is level by using a line level or a 4-foot level. Snap the chalk-line and repeat the procedure around the entire house.
  • Use a Wider Starting Strip
    There are several options of starter strip available for starting vinyl siding. Most people are inclined to use the thinner starter to get things going because it’s more affordable—but this is a bad move. Spend the extra money and invest in 3-1/2″ starter strip. During your installation, make sure that at least 1″ of the starter strip hangs down over top of the foundation of the house, and drop it down as low as you can while installing the strip properly. The more that the foundation is covered by the starter strip, the better the siding is going to protect the house against rain, snow, and anything else that nature throws at it.
  • Vinyl Siding Can Help You Stay Green
    In many cases, a lot of individuals these days are preferring to use vinyl siding and it has become quite popular, as more and more home builders are looking to work with far more environmentally-friendly products and materials. Vinyl siding can be green! If you recycle vinyl siding when you replace it, you can keep your home greener.
  • Level it Out Carefully
    Properly installed siding needs to be leveled. Not only will it function better if it’s all leveled out, but it will go on more easily as well. When you first get going with the project, snap a level chalk line all around the base of your home where the first run of siding will go. This is to help get your installation straight. Then throughout your project, take the time to level things out about once every five courses to keep things going properly.
  • Proper Spacing at the Ends is Important
    Vinyl siding has to be able to move just slightly after it’s installed. For that reason, it’s important to cut your end pieces so that you have a total of ¼” of extra space together on both ends of your siding runs. This is to help with expansion during the summer months, to keep your siding from buckling and having other nasty problems along the way.
  • Installed Panels Must Move Freely from Side to Side
    Vinyl siding can expand and contract 1/2 inch or more over a 12-foot, 6-inch length with changes in temperature. Whether using a nail, screw, or staple to fasten the siding, make sure the panels are fully locked along the length of the bottom, but do not force them up tight when fastening. Do not drive the head of the fastener tightly against the siding nail hem. Allow 1/32-inch clearance (the thickness of a dime) between the fastener head and the vinyl. Tight nailing, screwing or stapling will cause the vinyl siding to buckle with changes in temperature. When fastening, start in the center of the panel and work toward the ends. Center the fasteners in the slots to permit expansion and contraction of the siding. Drive fasteners straight and level. Space the fasteners a maximum of 16 inches apart for the horizontal siding panels, every 12 inches for the vertical siding panels and every 8 to 10 inches for the accessories. Leave a minimum of 1/4 inch clearance at all openings and stops to allow for normal expansion and contraction. When installing in temperatures below 40 degrees F, increase minimum clearance to 3/8 inch.
  • Vinyl Siding Cutting Guidelines
    Safety goggles are always recommended for all cutting and nailing operations. As on any construction job, use proper safety equipment and follow safe construction practices. With a circular saw, install the fine-toothed blade backwards on the saw for a smoother, cleaner cut, especially in cold weather. Cut slowly. Do not attempt to cut materials other than vinyl with a reversed direction saw blade. When using tin snips, avoid closing the blades completely at the end of a stroke for a neater, cleaner cut. When using a utility knife or scoring tool, score the vinyl face up with medium pressure and snap it in half. It is not necessary to cut all the way through the vinyl.

    For more information, and further information on siding work and more, be sure to contact Realty Improvement today.