• Repairing Siding On Your Home


    High winds, brutal cold, hot sun, age, errant baseballs and a host of other things can cause vinyl siding damage.
    Weather, insects, squirrels and birds can damage wood siding.
    Repairing sidings can be a challenging DIY home project, but if you’ve got good skills and experience along with the right tools, it might be worth trying. It’s not likely you’ll make it worse, and you can still call a professional if you need to. This guide to repairing siding on your home will help you decide if this is a job you want to try or if you’d prefer to call a siding contractor or home remodeler to handle the work.
    Siding repairs are included as part of our guide,  “Spring and Summer Home Maintenance and Repair Checklist“, so take a look for more helpful hints.

    Home Siding Repair and Replacement Guide

    The tips you’ll find below show the scope of this home improvement job including what issues you’ll run into while trying it. We include the cost of siding repair from a DIY perspective and hiring a contractor and suggest ways to save money. The final section includes resources from around the web including helpful videos and comprehensive instructions for how to repair vinyl, wood or aluminum  siding. It’s important to know whether you should repair or replace your siding before you start.

    Whether you’re doing the work or hiring a pro, these tips provide an overview of the work.

    • Your tools and materials list includes siding, a siding zip tool, carpenter’s hammer, utility knife, table saw (optional), carpenter’s square, snips for cutting J-channel and galvanized nails
    • If you don’t have spare pieces of siding, take a sample of the damaged siding to home improvement stores in your area to find a match
    • Remove all the damaged siding while being careful not to damage good siding surrounding it
    • Follow these steps: Use the zip tool to disconnect the top edge, loosen and disconnect the bottom edge, discard the piece and then remove the nails with the help of a claw hammer or pry bar
    • When there are several pieces of damaged siding, start replacing it at the low point and move up
    • Measure the length of each piece you need; there should be an overlap of one to two inches on each side of the piece
    • Cut away the first two inches of the nailing hem on both sides to make the vinyl fit better – siding overlapping is okay, but the nailing hem overlapping will stick out
    • Use a table saw, circular saw or rugged utility knife to cut the vinyl siding after marking it with a carpenter’s square
    • When working on the side of your home, underlap the side that is closest to the front of your home and overlap the side nearest the rear of your home in order to make the laps less visible
    • Lock the piece you are installing to the piece below it
    • Then, nail the top of the piece through the nailing hem into the sheathing on the house
    • If the home doesn’t have sheathing, nail it into the studs of the home
    • Don’t pound the nails in tight; leave a gap between the nail head and the siding of 1/16 inch to allow for the expansion and contraction of the siding with changes in temperature
    • Nails should be placed every 12 to 18 inches
    • Center the nails in the middle of the nailing slots for the same reason – to allow for expansion and contraction
    • If you don’t allow for expansion and contraction, the siding will buckle or crack
    • Use the zip tool to lock each next piece to the piece below it
    • Replace damaged J-channel on the sides of windows, doors, vents and other structures
    • Much the same tips apply to repairing and replacing aluminum siding
    • You should remove damaged wood siding and the area will need to be cleaned of debris before the replacement siding is added

    Siding Replacement Costs

    How much does it cost to replace vinyl siding? We’ll cover the costs here whether you are doing the work yourself or plan to hire a contractor.

    DIY Siding Replacement: Depending on the quality and size of the siding, replacement pieces 10 to 12 feet long will cost $9 to $15 for most grades. Here are other costs. You’ll notice a wide price range in tools because they come in several grades up to professional.

    • Zip tool: $8 to $12
    • Claw hammer: $12 to $40
    • Siding nails: $12 to $18 per pound
    • Utility knife: $8 to 15
    • Carpenter’s Square: $10 to $50
    • Tin snips: $6 to $20

    Professional Siding Replacement: Expect estimates of $.80 to $1.25 per square foot just for the labor. Most siding contractors will also have a minimum service fee of $100 or more. It’s often well over $150.

    Saving Money on Siding Replacement

    On DIY jobs, borrow the tools you don’t have and enlist a friend to help, if possible. When hiring a professional siding contractor or handyman for the job, get at least three estimates and let the contractors know that they are competing for the work. The process allows you to learn about the experience of the contractors too, so you’ll have confidence in the one you select.

    DIY Siding Replacement Resources

    Want more information about vinyl siding replacement? Here are a few sites, including videos that will help.

    Home Appeal Ohio – This contractor provides step-by-step instructions for replacing vinyl siding

    Kautsch – Here’s an 18-minute video from a hardware store on how to install (repair) vinyl siding on a gable end of a home.

    Just Wood and Nails – This site includes a supplies list and installation notes for installing vinyl siding.


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