3 Reasons You Shouldn't Install Your Own Vinyl Siding

Are you tired of your current siding? If you are a proactive person, you might be more than willing to grab a ladder and start replacing panels. However, although vinyl siding installation might look simple, there is a little more to it than most people realize. Here are three reasons you shouldn't install your own vinyl siding, and what might happen if you do:

1: The Wrong Vinyl Siding Will Crack Easily

As you peruse the siding section of your local hardware store, you might be more concerned about color and grain than you are about finding quality products. Instead of carefully choosing siding that will work on your home, you might zero in on that price tag and forget about additional features. Unfortunately, choosing the wrong material can cause problems later.

Vinyl siding is durable, but it isn't indestructible. If you choose the wrong product, you might end up with siding filled with cracks and unsightly holes. Here are a few things you should pay attention to:

  • Thicker Grade: The thicker the siding, the less susceptible it will be to impact. Siding thickness ranges from about .035 to .052 of an inch. Although you might be tempted to choose a thinner "builder's grade" siding, a thicker product will stay more rigid and last longer.
  • Foam-Backed: After traditional siding is installed, there will be an empty void behind each panel. Unfortunately, this empty space makes it easy for the siding to flex when it is subjected to impact, which can break the panels. However, foam-backed siding contains foam inserts behind each panel, which fill in this void. In addition to helping your panels to stay strong, they can also insulate your home.

If you want to take the guesswork out of your vinyl siding choice, work with a professional. An expert will be able to recommend a vinyl siding product that will work well in your area, so that it can stay looking great for many years to come.

2: Tight Nailing Isn't Always Better

When you put together furniture or install shelves, tight nailing and screwing is always better. If you want to keep structures secure and stable, you might work hard to make sure that those joints are rock-solid. Unfortunately, operating under this assumption can cause problems when you install siding.

Vinyl siding expands and contracts when the temperature changes, and you have to account for that movement during the installation. If you nail panels too tightly, they can become permanently buckled. After awhile, a tight nailing job might make your panels look wavy, messy, and unattractive.

To fend off this problem, professionals leave a gap of about 1/16 of an inch between the nail and the surface of the siding panel. Unfortunately, it isn't always easy to do this if you aren't familiar with siding installation. You might end up carefully measuring nail head distances, removing driven nails, and reattaching panels. To make things easier and to keep your siding looking nice, work with a professional instead. They will be able to quickly and easily drive nails to the right levels, so that your siding can ebb and flow with the changes.  

3: Overlap Is Important

The same thermal expansion that can warp your vinyl siding can also create ugly gaps in between each panel. Since your vinyl siding will be in a constant state of flux, professionals leave about an inch of overlap between each panel. Unfortunately, if you are installing siding for the first time, it can be hard to size panels accordingly.

As you install siding, you might find yourself trimming panels as you go, and trying to minimize the look of seams. If you guess wrong, you might end up with less overlap than you need to avoid gaps. Although those newly installed panels might look alright for a few months, after awhile, you might find yourself staring at gaping seams.

Fortunately, expert vinyl siding installers understand how much overlap to leave and where to place seams. If your panels are installed properly, they will look as good a few years later as the day they are put on your house.

By working with a professional siding installer the first time around, you can make your home look incredible, without worrying as much about future repairs.