Vinyl siding is one of the most popular alternatives to regular house paint. In fact, millions of American homeowners use it for their homes because it is durable, long lasting, and looks great. It is also affordable and easy to install and maintain. For these reasons, many people choose to install vinyl siding themselves to save even more money on the project.

Below are five steps that highlight how to install vinyl siding the DIY way. Though you will need to research exact installation more thoroughly, these steps will give you a clear idea of the basic process.

1. Pre-Planning

Like any construction project, no matter the size, installing vinyl siding requires pre-planning before you get started. A few of the top things to consider while planning include:

  • Expansion and Contraction: You must nail vinyl siding to allow for expansion and contraction. A ¼ inch gap for expansion is generally advised (3/8 inch for freezing weather).
  • Nails: Corrosion-resistant, galvanized, stainless steel, or aluminum roofing nails are required. Drive nails straight and level and leave 1/16 inch of room between head and siding for expansion.

2. Cutting

The next step to install vinyl siding is to cut each of the vinyl strips to size. There are three main cutting methods you can use.

  • Aviation and Tin Snip: Cut at the top interlock and move down towards the bottom of the panel.
  • Utility Knife: Use utility knife to score panel. Then bend back and forth until panel snaps cleanly.
  • Power Saw, Bench Saw, or Radial Arm Saw: Cut with a fine-tooth blade and slow cutting movements to reduce chipping and to increase smoothness.

3. Surface Preparation

It is necessary to prepare the surface of your walls before installing your vinyl siding. Make sure to:

  • Nail loose boards and wood trim
  • Replace rotted boards
  • Scrape off old caulking
  • Remove lighting fixtures, down spouts, and mouldings
  • Cut or tie back shrubbery and trees near walls

4. Insulation

Installing insulation with your vinyl siding is strongly recommended. It helps insulate your home and level out the exterior at the same time. House wrap or sheathing insulation are the top two insulation types according to experts.

5. Installation

After all that preparation, it comes time for installation. A few of the best tips for installing your vinyl siding include:

  • Starter Strip: The starter strip is the first strip of siding to be installed. Use a chalk line starting at the lowest corner of the house. Nail the starter strip to the wall. Continue installing starter strips around the base of the house.
  • Corner Posts: The corners of your house need special care. Set up the corner posts straight and true. Start by nailing them to the adjoining walls from the top down.
  • Install Siding Panels: Snap bottom of the first panel into the starter strip. Nail to wall. Begin at back corner of house and work towards the front. Overlap each panel about 1 inch. Complete an entire course around the house before moving onto the next panel up.

Install Vinyl Siding Yourself

There is little doubt that almost anyone can install vinyl siding by themselves. Even those without prior construction experience should be able to do it. While the steps above are only the tip of the iceberg as far as installation is concerned, they should outline the basics. Remember, if you have any questions about installing vinyl siding, ask an expert before moving on. And don’t feel bad about hiring a professional to come do the job if you don’t feel comfortable taking it on yourself.