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Errors to Avoid When Installing Vinyl Siding

By Brett Freeman
Errors to Avoid When Installing Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding got its foothold in the home building market because it was cheap and easy -- inexpensive to buy and simple to install. The early products were also untested, and after a few years lent credence to the notion that you get what you pay for.

However, vinyl siding has improved greatly over the years, so much so that it has gone from the ugly stepchild to the darling of home building, accounting for nearly a third of the residential siding market. It remains easy to install, but there are still pitfalls.

If you plan to install vinyl siding on your own home, avoid these common errors -- and your siding will never look cheap and easy.

Vinyl Siding Installation: Nail It Down Gently

Vinyl expands and contracts in heat and cold much more than other types of siding. If you nail it too tightly to your house it will pull, stretch, and tear. When attaching siding, give it a little room -- leave a tiny bit of space, about 1/32 of an inch, between the vinyl and the nail head.

Don't Butt In: Siding and Windows or Doors

Again, vinyl will expand in hot weather, so you need to allow space for this to occur. Leave a 1/4 inch gap where the siding butts into the J-channel you have already installed at door and window frames. This will prevent it from buckling in summer, and the gap will be hidden by the J-channel.

Tight Is Right for Attractive Siding

Vinyl siding is installed from the bottom up, with interlocking edges that attach each piece to the one above it. Make sure you have each piece pulled tight before you start to nail. If you're off by just a bit the siding will end up crooked -- probably not the look you are going for.

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