Vinyl is one of the most popular materials for cladding a home in the U.S. It’s tough, durable, low maintenance and easy to install, which means it’s popular with professionals and DIY homeowners looking to expand their project list.

While vinyl is easy to work with, like any material it does have some characteristics to consider in your decision. From planning to cutting, make sure you know everything there is about vinyl siding installation to get the best results for your project.

Why Choose Vinyl

There are numerous choices on the market for house siding and cladding. Vinyl has been at the top of the list of the most popular types, with one of the best returns on investments, for decades, with good reason.

Vinyl siding is extremely low maintenance. Its color goes right through each plank, so there’s no need to scrape or paint because it won’t chip or peel. It’s very lightweight and easy to cut, handle and install, so it goes up quickly and even novice DIY homeowners can tackle this job with a little know-how.

Vinyl is also long-lasting. You can clean it easily with a garden hose, and because it’s made of a kind of tough PVC, it won’t rot, deteriorate or break down over time. This makes vinyl a great investment for many homes.

When to Install

In a perfect world, you’d be able to pick the perfect day and time to install your new siding, and in some cases, you may be able to do this. If your home is in poor condition, however, and your siding is no longer doing its job of protecting your home, you may need to proceed regardless of the time of year.

If you can choose to wait, however, it’s best to select a day when the temperatures are moderate to install your siding. Extreme cold could make your siding slightly brittle, which can make cutting it more difficult, while extreme heat can soften the siding, making the material harder to handle. You should also keep the temperature in mind when nailing the panels so you allow for contraction and/or expansion, depending on the weather during installation.

Waiting for a temperate day based on your region helps make the job go more smoothly.

Estimating Amount

Purchasing the right amount of siding for the job is an important part of installation. Have too much, and you may need to pay restocking fees or find a place to store it. Order too little, and you may end up with a delay in the job while you wait for more.

Estimating square footage is simple. Take the length and width, in inches, of each section you’re installing the siding. Multiply the two measurements together and divide by 144 to get the total number of square feet for each section. Round to the nearest whole number, and add up all the various sections.

Now take the measurements of each window and door and do the same. Subtract this number from your total square footage to get the most accurate amount.

In most cases, you may want to add in an additional 10% to 20% to your final numbers to account for waste. This is particularly important if you’ve never worked with vinyl before, as having a little bit of waste means that you don’t need to worry as much about potential mistakes.

Make Repairs

In many cases, vinyl siding can be installed directly over your existing wood siding, but only if the wood is in good repair. In other instances, it’s best to remove your current siding to install the vinyl.

In either case, before you can install the new siding, you need to take stock of the condition of the exterior and make any necessary repairs.

Remove any old or rotting siding, check for soft spots and moisture problems, and address them. You may also want to remove any gutters or downspouts, and any trim on the home. You want the best possible condition for your home’s exterior prior to installing the vinyl so that it can last as long as possible without disguising issues that could cause a problem later on.

Prepare the Area

While vinyl is not a difficult material to work with, it’s still a good idea to make sure the area is prepared for you to work. Tie back any trees or shrubs close to the building, and cover small beds to protect them.

Set up your work area and make sure it is clear of obstacles so you can easily carry the vinyl from your cutting station to the area you’re currently installing. Gather your tools, and though you should have checked the color and style when it was delivered, be sure to double-check color, style and amount before you begin. It never hurts to be extra careful.

Tools and Materials for the Job

In addition to the vinyl siding itself, there are several tools and materials that you’ll need to complete the job successfully. Keep in mind that while vinyl can be cut and installed with different tools, you will get the best results and have the fewest issues if you use tools and materials specifically made for use with vinyl.


  • Vinyl saw blade
  • Power saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Metal square
  • Hammer
  • Snap-lock punch
  • Tin snips
  • Level
  • Galvanized shingle nails
  • Ladder
  • Pry bar
  • Pliers


  • 3-½ inch starter strip
  • J-channel
  • Flashing
  • Rigid foam board (If going over existing siding)
  • Corner moldings
  • Soffit and fascia covers

Covering Old Siding

Vinyl is often installed over old siding, which makes for a faster and easier project; you don’t need to worry about disposing of the old siding. If this is the case, however, you will need to install rigid foam board insulation over the existing siding first, as well as ensuring none of the old siding is rotting or pest-infested; if it is, you’ll need to remove bad boards first.

This will create a flat surface for installation and will provide better insulation for your home at the same time. Follow all instructions for installation for the foam board you choose.

Getting Started

Prior to starting the siding, you should install the window and door trim, and the J-channel at the soffit. Overlap the J-channels to prevent rain and moisture from getting behind your siding.

Once that’s complete, you can start on the vinyl siding, which is installed from the bottom up. Begin by installing a level starter strip approximately 6-inches off the ground. Be sure to use a chalk line to make sure you are level from corner to corner. Your first set of siding panels will be installed on the starter strip.

Set each course of vinyl siding overlapping the one below, and lift up slightly as you nail it into place to lock into place and prevent it from loosening over time from the wind and weather. As you finish each section, cap the corners of the house before installing the trim to help prevent pests from getting in behind the siding.

To make adding new layers of vinyl easier, choose a product with locking technology, such as Rollex’s Horizon vinyl siding. It comes with an advanced Perma-Lock System to ensure panels stay in place, both while you are installing and after.

Always dry-fit each new course before cutting to get the best fit, and make sure that each course is level as you go to account for any irregularities in your home’s exterior. You should also ensure that you plan out where your seams will be. Try to create a pattern to stagger the seams so that you don’t have multiple seams lining up in the same place.

Give yourself a few days to complete the job successfully for the best results.

Complete Your Job Right

Be sure to consult the manufacturer’s installation instructions for the best results, as different products can vary. Take your time and use the right tools for the job, and you’ll enjoy your new vinyl siding for many years to come.

If you are ready to get started on your vinyl siding project, click here to find a Rollex distributor near you.