Understanding Insulated Vinyl Siding Installation

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The idea of installing any vinyl siding, insulated or not, can be intimidating. When you first start researching the process, you might be afraid of how many steps there seem to be. It is not, however, an impossible task once you understand what you’re doing. In fact, many people throughout the Carolinas and the rest of the Southeast install vinyl siding on their homes every year.

This fact aside, it is smartest to have professionals install your siding for you. As a layperson, there are always going to be details you aren’t aware of or issues that arise you aren’t sure how to fix. Using professional contractors to install your siding will give you peace of mind that your siding panels are adhered correctly, protecting you and your family for the long haul.

Even if you choose to use professional installers, though, it is important for you to understand the installation process, particularly if you have selected insulated vinyl siding. The more you know about how your insulated panels are going up, the easier it will be for you to care for them in the future.

Furthermore, you’ll be able to have educated conversations with others about the siding you chose for your home. As insulated siding becomes increasingly popular, this will be advantageous. As you read on, you’ll see a step-by-step guide to installing insulated vinyl siding properly.

  1. Take off any old siding – If your house still has vinyl, steel, or aluminum siding on it, you will need to remove it prior to starting the installation process. Installing new siding, especially if it has insulation attached, over old metal or vinyl siding can lead to all sorts of problems. Wood siding can remain on the house, provided it doesn’t have holes, cracks, or other damage.
  2. Fix any wall problems – You should not install insulated vinyl siding over damaged walls or plain studs. Instead, you need to make sure sheathing, such as plywood panels, has been attached to the studs first. Because it is next to impossible to repair wall damage once the siding has been attached, this is an extremely important step! Broken sheathing needs to be replaced before you put up any insulated siding panels.
  3. Add flashing and waterproofing – No matter where you live in the Carolinas, you probably get a lot of rain on an annual basis. From Charlotte, NC to Charleston, SC, precipitation is common. Therefore, adding flashing underneath your siding is a necessity. If you reside in a region that experiences cold weather, you might also want to consider other weatherproofing tactics, such as a whole-house wrap.
  4. Install starter strips and other add-ons – Starter strips and starter adaptors will help you install your insulated vinyl siding completely level around your entire house. These strips should be attached using a level chalk line. If you have questions about this part of the process, there are many tutorials available.
  5. Trim windows and doors – Before your siding can go up on your house, all windows, doors, and other openings must be trimmed. This trim is known as j-channel. Remember, insulated vinyl siding is thicker than standard vinyl siding, so your j-channel will have to be thicker as well; ask someone in a local home improvement store for help if you have questions. In some cases, window and door frames must be built out first before even the thickest trim on the market will work. Installing j-channel can be tough, so don’t hesitate to get assistance!
  6. Install your new siding – Once you’ve completed all the prep work, you can install your insulated vinyl siding panels! You should use your starter strip as a guide and use nails that are 1 ¼” long to make sure they penetrate the sheathing. Every five or six courses (rows), use a level to double-check that your siding is still perfectly straight. Otherwise, you will run into problems when you get closer to the top.
  7. Finishing touches – Once your new siding is attached to your house, you should shift your attention to any finishing touches. These will differ from homeowner to homeowner but may include soffit installation, installation of shutters or other outdoor window treatments, and installation of any additional trim, such as “gingerbread” on the porch.

As mentioned earlier in this guide, while it is certainly possible to install your own insulated vinyl siding, it is best to let professionals, such as the team at Hatch Homes, handle the task. Give Hatch Homes a call to schedule a no-obligation consultation. We have hundreds of happy clients throughout the Carolinas, and we look forward to adding you to our extended family as well!

More than just a contractor.

Hatch is your partner for exterior remodeling.