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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Vinyl Siding vs. Stucco Cost, Plus Pros & Cons 2020

The #1 siding material versus the #2 siding material in America. Think you know which is #1 already? Don’t be so quick with that guess.

Comparing Stucco and Vinyl – Top Factors

While both siding materials offer great variation of styles and profiles, each has two primary applications. For vinyl that includes hollow-back (non-insulated) and foam-back (insulated) siding.

Likewise, for stucco, it is usually applied in a single coat (less insulation) or in three coats (greater insulation).

Cost Factor

Cost is generally a determining factor for most homeowners. Insulated vinyl siding is more expensive (at $5.00 to $12.00 per sq. ft. installed) than non-insulated (at $3.50 to $7.00 per sq. ft. installed).

Yet, the high-end insulated vinyl costs about the same as the low end of Stucco (at $6.00 to $12.00 per sq. ft. installed).

Stucco, on average, goes as high as $14.50 per sq. ft. installed. Being more budget-friendly is a significant reason why vinyl is such a popular siding option.

Durability Factor

Durability is the measure of how tough the siding material is and how well it will hold up over time. Both materials score well. With vinyl, the thickness of the siding matters significantly. — This doesn’t include foam-back, but rather it is about the thickness of material itself.

The mid-range options are .042 to .046 inches, while top of the line is .055 or higher. Compare this to a single coat of stucco which hovers around a half inch, or about 10 times the thickness of vinyl. 😉

Both materials are fairly tough. Vinyl can withstand wind speeds up to 110 mph, while Stucco can handle wind gusts up to 130 mph. Vinyl gets mixed results on resistance to hail damage.

Obviously, thicker siding means more resistance, but even top of the line is susceptible to some damage. Stucco offers better impact resistance, though large enough pieces of hail or other materials could lead to cracks.

Assuming proper installation and avoidance of disasters, both materials will last more than 50 years. With care, vinyl last between 40 and 75 years before needing replacement.

Stucco can last 60 to 100 years before it needs replacing, thus making if the more durable option.

Insulation Factor

Comparing the less insulated versions of either is not all that fair, though surprisingly vinyl would win.

Stucco gets .20 per inch R-value, or the standard for measuring insulation. The single coat, half inch is going to be fairly low, while hollow-back vinyl comes in around .60.

The triple coat of stucco raises the R-value to, at most .75. While that is decent, it is not even in the same ball park as the 1.75 R-value that foam-back vinyl achieves. 😉

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