How to Install Vinyl Siding – DIY Guide

Arguably, the best way to install lap vinyl siding is to get a professional siding contractor to do the job for you. That’s also twice as expensive as the alternative approach of doing it yourself. Since vinyl siding is only moderately challenging to install, at least on simple one-story homes, let’s walk through the process.

What this guide entails:

1. Tools and Materials for hanging siding
2. Insulation
3. Removing Old Siding
4. Quality Window and Door Trim
5. Preliminary Steps for Hanging Siding
6. Guide for Hanging Siding Pieces
7. Wrapping Up

Tools and Materials For Hanging Siding

The must have tools include:

  • Hammer – for fastening all pieces
  • Tin Snips – for cutting all pieces
  • Level – for aligning pieces horizontally and vertically
  • Tape Measure
  • Chalk line – ensures material is on a level line
  • Ladder(s)

via VinylSiding.org

Additional tool considerations:

  • Speed square – marking pieces with straight edge or as miter square for marking angled cuts, also as a protractor for measuring roof pitch
  • Circular Saw – alternative tool to tin snips, need to use a proper blade
  • Saw Horse – if using a circular saw
  • Stud Finder – to locate the optimal place for nails that hang siding
  • (Do not use) A Nail Gun – Siding is hung, not tightly fastened to walls
  • Pencil and paper – for notes along the way
  • Another human – Not really a tool, but this isn’t a project you can do alone, get a friend to help

Materials:

  • Nails
  • Housewrap – also known as underlayment, provides moisture barrier, and sheathing over exterior walls
  • Siding system – which usually includes:
  • 12 foot siding panels (of your choice)
  • J-channel – often 12 ft. in length, trim pieces used for inside corners and around window, doors, etc.
  • Utility channel – also known as utility trim or undersill (often used under windows)
  • Corner moldings – also known as outside corner posts
  • Starter strips – where to start all walls that will receive siding
  • Drip Caps – additional pieces placed along top surfaces of doorways and windows.

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James Hardie vs. Allura Fiber Cement Siding Cost 2020

James Hardie brought HardiePlank fiber cement siding to the world in the 1980s and was unchallenged as the market leader for nearly a decade.

Deep Ocean, HardiePlank lap siding, HardieShingle staggered edge panel siding

Once homeowners realized that fiber cement siding is a legitimate alternative to wood siding, without some of the wood’s hassles, the demand for fiber cement has increased and spurred competition among brands.

Allura fiber cement siding is a top challenger to HardiePlank. Our comparison guide is a one-stop pricing and pros and cons reference for homeowners:

  • Prices for materials including soffit, trim and accessories for both brands
  • Installation costs — Total Cost Installed (Materials, Labor, Warranty) Per Sq. ft.
  • Examples of Total Job Costs to Expect to Install Fiber Cement on A Typical House
  • Expected Return on Investment (ROI) or Cost to Value Return
  • Allura vs. HardiePlank Pros and Cons — Product Styles and Options Compared Side by Side
  • Alternative Fiber Cement and Engineered Wood Siding Brands

Allura Fiber Cement vs. HardiePlank Lap Siding

Allura was originally made by CertainTeed under another name. That explains the marketing strategy behind it.

Rather than come in at a lower cost to compete with HardiePlank, Allura is marketed as premium building material that is worth paying more for.

Allura’s 50-year warranty vs. HardiePlank’s 30-year warranty gives that claim credibility.

Allura vs. James Hardie Pricing

Here is a breakdown of costs for plank siding and shingle/shake siding plus accessories and installation for both brands.

The range of costs for each line is due to differences in product pricing and the variety of sellers. Examples of complete materials and installation pricing for typical homes are found below:

Allura prices per square foot:

HardiePlank fiber cement siding prices per square foot:

  • HardiePlank siding planks and panels: $1.15-$2.00
  • HardieShingle shingle/shake siding: $3.35-$5.00
  • HardieSoffit and trim: $1.75-$3.25
  • Average total cost for James Hardie siding materials and installation supplies: $3.35

Did you Know?

HardiePlank makes a premium fiber cement product called Artisan Luxury fiber cement lap siding.

Hardie artisan lap siding

It is available in limited areas and in a limited range of colors and styles. It is 5/8” thick, twice as thick as 5/16” standard HardiePlank and Allura siding. The cost is $6.00-$9.00 per square foot for the siding and trim. Installed costs range from $14-$20 per square foot.

Did you know? James Hardie uses a slightly different formulation for products sold in climates where freezing is possible. Additives protect the material from freeze/thaw expansion and contraction cycles that can cause cement to crack.

Products for northern climates are labeled HZ5. Southern-climate and West Coast materials are labeled HZ10. Not surprisingly, this is called the HardieZone System.

The look, feel and performance of the boards are the same. If you’re buying locally, the seller should only have products appropriate for your climate, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Total Cost to Install (Materials, Labor, Permitting, and Warranty):

Allura costs slightly more to install because it is heavier and thicker. Fiber cement installation cost has become more competitive in recent years as more siding contractors become familiar with fiber cement and start offering installation.

Expect to pay $9.00 – $14.00 per square foot for the installation based on the level of expertise of the installing crew and the complexity of the job.

All fiber cement manufacturers recommend installation by a licensed siding contractor using a crew that is experienced in installing their products.

You can always find cheaper installation in the $6.50 – $8.00 per square foot installed range, but your results might suffer.

  • Average fiber cement total installation cost: $8.00 to $13.00 per square foot

Did you know? If installing house wrap is part of your home siding project, the installed cost of house wrap will be $1.15 to $1.50 per square foot based on the installation factors discussed above. — This cost is normally included as part of total cost in all professional and warrantied high-end installations

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