Tips for Installing Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is a practical and economic siding option.
Vinyl siding is a practical and economic siding option.
iStockphoto.com/Marcel Pelletier

­You love­ your home, but you're getting a little embarrassed about the condition of its exterior. The paint is peeling and flaking in some parts and that makes it look like you don't take care of your house. It's time to do away with the old siding and select something new. But what should you choose? It may be worth your while to take a look at the benefits of vinyl siding.

One big benefit of vinyl siding is that compared to your c­urrent dilapidated siding, vinyl is durable and lasts several decades without much maintenance. Though you could recruit a professional to install vinyl siding for you, another major benefit of this type of siding is that it can be installed by efficient DIYers.

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If you are interested in installing the siding yourself, you will have to ready the exterior of your house. Whatever the current exterior of your house is, you will need a layer of wood for the nails that hold up the vinyl siding. Newly constructed houses have a wall sheathing that the vinyl siding can attach to easily. Because vinyl siding changes size with the weather, you will want to make sure the nail is not holding the siding too tightly against the prepared wall [Source: Hometime].

­When you begin the actual installation process, you will first nail in your starter strip, which looks different from your regular siding piece. For each piece of siding you install after your starter piece, you have to make sure you pull up to lock into place with the previous piece. Before you get too deep in how the installation process works, you should know how to measure and cut your siding pieces.

Measuring for vinyl siding can be tricky, so read on to learn the secrets of how to measure siding successfully.

How to Measure for Vinyl Siding

Since your house has doors and windows, there are two types of siding pieces you'll b­e working with: trim pieces and the regular siding pieces. You want to make sure you measure the trim pieces properly, since areas around windows and doors require different measurements than the areas where you'll be using regular siding pieces. To make sure you measure your house properly, follow the steps below.

You will need a few tools to complete the measuring process, including a pencil, paper, calculator and some large measuring tapes.

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The first step is to measure the height and width of all of your exterior walls in feet (not meters). To get the area, multiply each length to its corresponding height. The second step requires you to measure the triangular parts of your walls. Multiply half of the maximum height in the triangular part to the width to get the area of that part.

­The third step requires you to measure any irregular parts of your house that extend out and calculate the area.

The fourth step is to measure all the places where your siding won't be, such as windows and doors. If all your windows are the same size, you only have to measure one and add up the number of windows on your house.

Combining all the calculations from steps 1-3 and subtracting the area you calculated for step 4 will give you the total area of wall that requires siding.

The sixth step is to multiply your total area calculation by .10 on your calculator to account for the ends of the siding that are cut to match your walls perfectly.

The final step is to divide the total area of wall by 100 in order to get the number of squares of siding material you will need. This is the number you will need to tell your vinyl siding salesperson [source: Easy Renovate].

Read on to learn about how to keep your newly installed vinyl siding clean.

How to Clean Vinyl Siding

It is hard to imagine that with all the positives of vinyl siding there might be a negative. A b­ad aspect of vinyl siding is that it gets dirty easily. But the nice thing about vinyl siding, besides the fact that it's easy to install and it's long lasting, is that it's also easy to clean. If you can clean your car, you can just as easily clean your siding.

Vinyl siding, if left alone, can accumulate mold and dust. The best way to interrupt this accumulation is to clean the vinyl siding with soap and water.

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Your water source can come from a regular old garden hose, but make sure there is a nozzle to divert the water into a spraying form. You don't want a pressurized source of water to hit the siding directly, because you might cause damage to the siding or the wall behind the siding. Also, you want to follow the natural flow of water and aim downward with the hose, rather than up from the ground. The siding is naturally designed to drain water downward [source: Ask the Builder].

­The soap you choose can be as simple as the soap you use to clean your dishes. Depending on how long you let the siding go without cleaning it, you might want to opt for an oxygen bleach, not a harsh bleach. Mix your soap with warm water and apply it to the siding with a soft brush starting from the bottom. Work your way up to the top.

For more home improvement ideas, check out the links on the following page.

Relate­d HowStuffWorks Articles

More Great Links

Sources

  • Ask the Builder. "Cleaning Vinyl Siding." (Accessed 12/13/08)http://www.askthebuilder.com/EM0049_Cleaning_Vinyl_Siding.shtml
  • Blue Linx Co. "How to Measure Vinyl Siding." (Accessed 12/13/08)http://www.bluelinxco.com/BrandPages/Vinyl/HowToMeasureEnglish.htmlHometime.
  • Easy Renovate. "Measure Your House for Siding." (Accessed 12/13/08)http://www.easyrenovate.com/Vinyl%20Siding/measure%20for%20vinyl%20siding.htm
  • "Vinyl Siding Basics." (Accessed 12/12/08)http://www.hometime.com/Howto/projects/siding/side_1.htm.