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Compared to other siding materials, vinyl siding is fairly prone to damage. Intense heat and cold can both degrade vinyl. Cold spells can cause brittleness, hairline cracks and full-on breakage. When one needs to repair or install smaller vinyl sections, it isn’t always cost-effective to employ a repair professional. This type of repair can cost several hundred dollars. Fortunately, small siding repairs are fairly simple and easy, even for people with little previous experience in this realm. Many people never perform their own repairs because they feel these projects are beyond their abilities. With a careful, methodical attitude, successful repairs are possible for people of all different skill levels. Before beginning any step in this process, gather all necessary tools and materials.

01. Secure Matching Vinyl Siding
Depending on individual circumstances, this step is quick or painfully slow. Obviously, some types of textures and colors are easier to match than others. If possible, it is wise to save leftover pieces of vinyl after every siding installation. With extra material on hand, one can save a lot of time and effort. Siding supply firms can use samples to find customers matching siding. If all else fails, some specialty firms will analyze siding, make distributor referrals and even provide options for replacing discontinued siding.

02. Fit Siding Together
One advantage of vinyl is its flexibility. Vinyl siding will flex and move with temperature variations. Pieces of vinyl siding interlock snugly to keep out the elements. Siding is attached to a dwelling by driving nails into holes in the nail hem. During this process, it is important not to drive in nails until they directly contact the nail hem. Without room to move and change with climactic conditions, vinyl siding won’t last.

Failing to leave a sufficient gap is one of the most common mistakes made by those new to installing vinyl. For a long-lasting installation, leave a 1/32″ space between nail heads and siding. This is roughly the same width as a standard U.S dime.

03. Unlock Damaged Vinyl With A Zip Tool
Before a person can install fresh siding, they obviously need to remove damaged sections. Zip tools are simple tools used to unlock siding for removal. To use the zip tool, simply insert the curved edge of the tool’s blade beneath the edge of the overlapping panel, hooking securely on the back lip of the bottom edge or buttlock. Pull the zip tool down while simultaneously moving the tool from the panel’s end. Continue this process as long as is needed to separate the entire length of the siding panel. Repeat this process along the top and bottom edges of the panel being replaced.

04. Remove Nails And Cut Out The Damaged Siding
After disconnecting the top and bottom of the siding panel, the panel will flap freely in the wind. Next, use a pry bar to pry loose the nails securing the strip above the damaged section. With tin snips, carefully cut out the damaged vinyl section. This is another step during which it is easy to make a critical error. Use caution and avoid cutting the whole panels adjacent to the damaged section.

05. Cut And Install The New Siding Section
This is another step that requires careful execution. When engaged in do-it-yourself projects, it is usually helpful to focus on accuracy instead of speed. It is certainly worth taking extra time in order to do the job right. For an eye-pleasing final product, it is particularly important to cut straight right angles. Using a layout square can ensure cleaner, straighter angles. To minimize the chances of having an accident, use a utility knife that has a sharp, new blade. The section of replacement vinyl should measure roughly three inches longer than the removed piece, providing 1.5 inches of overlapping material on both ends. To ensure a good fit, trim approximately two inches from the nail helm on either side of the replacement section. Next, slide the replacement vinyl section into place. The replacement’s buttlock will hook neatly into the lock at the top of the section below.

06. Nailing In The Replacement Siding
Spacing the nails approximately 12 inches apart, position them in the center of the appropriate holes in the nail hem. Nail them into place while remembering to leave a 1/32″ space between the nail heads and the siding. Always use galvanized nails with heads at least 5/16″ in diameter. Make sure the nail shanks are lengthy enough to sink at least 3/4″ into the framing. After nailing, simply take a zip tool and relock the topmost edge of the siding.

These are the essential steps for replacing damaged or missing siding. The more one prepares for this do-it-yourself job, the better one’s chances of executing the project without any hitches. While text instructions and illustrations are useful, it can serve well to watch online instructional videos covering this topic. Actually watching someone perform this task is helpful for avoiding common mistakes and problems. It is also sensible to ask advice from acquaintances that have replaced vinyl siding or performed similar home improvement tasks.