DIY Vinyl Installation Mistakes To Avoid

If you have a small area on the exterior of your home, or even a large one, that needs to be sided, then you can try your hand at adding siding yourself. Vinyl siding is pretty easy to install, but there are some common mistakes that you can make during the installation process that can leave you with poorly installed siding. Keep reading to learn about these mistakes and how they can be avoided. 

Mistake - Not Using Long-Enough Nails

Vinyl siding is typically nailed into place to secure it to your home. Each piece of siding is fitted with holes along the top edge, and the strip of vinyl material should sit flat against the outdoor wood sheathing that makes up your house. There are numerous nail slot openings where you will need to secure your nails, and each nail should be placed in the middle of each opening. This will help to keep the vinyl siding from being crooked or shifting out of place.

Nails will need to be secured so a small gap remains between the nails and the vinyl. Vinyl siding will contract and expand as temperatures change. If nails are too tight, then the vinyl can warp and crack. However, nails also should not be too loose, or they may pull out of the sheathing when the vinyl expands. You will need to make sure that you leave about one-sixteenth of an inch of space between the nail and the vinyl siding. You also will need to purchase long nails that will attach to the studs of your home.

Galvanized nails should be used to reduce rust concerns, so look for roofing nails made from the steel material. If the sheathing on your home has thin wrapping on the exterior, then purchase some 20d roofing nails. These nails are four inches long and will reach your home studs. If the home sheathing is fitted with a thicker wrap or foam insulation, then you will need nails that are a bit longer. Look for 40d roofing nails that are five inches long. 

Mistake - Not Overlapping Seams

Vinyl siding pieces will come in long strips, but strips are typically not long enough to completely cover the longest side of your home. This means that two or more strips need to be set next to one another to complete a single horizontal row. If you want to save yourself on materials or if you are concerned about the vinyl sticking out around the seams, then you may place the ends of the siding directly against one another. This is a mistake, though, because the seam will open up as the vinyl shrinks or contracts in the cold weather. This can leave seams exposed, and water may seep underneath the siding.

To protect your home, you should overlap seams a small amount. Each overlap should span about two to three inches. To make sure the seam does not bulge, you will need to trim the nail strips that attach to the overlapped pieces. Before you complete the horizontal row, trim away two to three inches of the nail strip on the left side of the first vinyl siding piece. Trim two to three inches on the left side of the strip that will be secured next. 

To trim the vinyl, you will need to use your circular saw. You should use this tool to trim the nail strips and to also cut through the entire piece of siding if you need shorter pieces. You cannot use a wood cutting blade to make the cuts though, or the vinyl will shatter. You will need to purchase and use a vinyl cutting blade for the saw. Make sure to move the blade slowly through the vinyl to keep the material from chipping as you cut. For more information on siding, check out websites like