How to Repair Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is a big investment to make in your home. The last thing you want to see after going through the process of investing in and installing vinyl siding is chips, dents, and heat warping.  Sadly we know that siding on your house is meant to withstand the abuse of weather and negligent kids. At least the guts of your house stay protected!

So what happens when someone takes a chunk out of your vinyl with a misplaced baseball hit? Or when the grill was a little bit too close, and now the siding has warped. It’s time to get to fixin’!

Looking for Damage

Make sure that you’re always looking for damage on your house siding. As you go about your day whenever you see your home take inventory of dings, dents, warping, and holes when you see them. Make it a point every few months to take a survey of your house (Maybe when you’re mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, etc.) so you can find problem areas.

When you find some damage, determine if it’s worth fixing. Small chips and holes might not need to be replaced, and very gradual warping that you need to be up close to see isn’t going to ruin your house, but know where it is so you can keep track of it and find out when you should replace it.

Replacing Damaged Sections

Vinyl is easy to replace, and as such you will want to replace any damaged pieces with new pieces. Make sure you have leftover from the initial install, match the color, or are prepared to paint when you do replace it.

1) Removing the Siding

To remove vinyl siding, you need to undo the locks on the top and bottom of the vinyl. Get a vinyl lock remover. Start by unlocking the top of the vinyl that’s being removed. Slide the unlocker tool under the vinyl piece right above the offending vinyl, pull it towards you a little bit and then pull down. This should unlock a section of the vinyl, and you can either run the tool down the length of the vinyl being removed or pull it out with your hands. 

After unlocking the vinyl, you will have to take out the nails holding the vinyl to the house. Get in there with a claw hammer and pull the nails out. Set them aside if you plan to reuse them, but you’re better off replacing them. After all the nails have been removed, get a grip around the top of the piece of siding and pull down, unlocking the bottom and pulling the whole piece free from the house. Easy!

2) Prepare the new Siding

Measure the space and cut the new piece of siding between 1/4″ and 3/8″ shorter than space it needs to fill. This is to allow the siding to expand in the heat of the day. Cut all of your pieces with a straight edge and any sharp knife. You can use a box cutter or a pocket knife; it doesn’t matter.

3) Installing the New Siding

If your new install is going between two J-channels, you’re going to have to slot it into the channels before locking the vinyl into place. To do this, slot the left side in first, and then pull the middle out a little bit bending the vinyl and compressing it making it easier to slip into the right J-channel. If the vinyl piece doesn’t need to fit between two adjacent J-channels, don’t worry about this step.

Line the bottom edge of the vinyl up with the top edge of the existing vinyl and push your piece up into place. Starting from the middle, give it a good push upwards every 8-12 inches to lock everything into place. Give the top of the piece a wiggle. If there is good resistance to it, you locked it into place, if not, keep pushing until everything locks.

Now you have to nail the piece in and I’m sure you’re thinking “This is easy, there’s nothing to nailing stuff into other stuff right?” Wrong. Vinyl siding needs to have a little give in either direction, so you need to make sure that it’s not nailed in so tight that the siding can’t move, but not so loosely that it’s not secure. Every 16 inches in the nail channels you will want to nail the siding in until the top of the nail just touches the siding. It will be able to move, but it won’t be so loose that it could pull the nail free if a lot of force is exerted on it by children, in-laws, or nature.

Repeat this until you get to the last piece. At this point in it’s time to get your hands dirty, because we need to lock that last piece into place with the one above it. Start on one of the sides and reach up underneath the top panel and pull the lock down with your fingers. Use your other hand to push the lock into place while slipping your fingers out, and then repeat this down the piece of siding. It’s the hardest part of the process, so don’t worry about it taking a while. After everything is locked into place, you’re done! Give the siding a nice wash and marvel at how undamaged it is!

Wrap Up

Who knew vinyl siding was that easy to fix? If you have any questions about vinyl siding upkeep and repair or are looking to install for the first time then reach out to us here at Koopman Lumber! We have some of the best-trained employees around, and we’ll be sure that you leave with a smile on your face feeling confident in doing the job. Thank you for reading and we’ll see you next time!

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