10 Mistakes To Avoid When Installing Vinyl Siding

Full view of the installation of vinyl siding on a house

Now that you've decided to use vinyl siding in your construction project, it's time to take a good look at how to install it properly. Unfortunately, there are several areas where you can easily make a mistake and mess up your installation. By keeping these tips in mind when you're ready to put your vinyl up, you'll get professional results without any amateur mistakes.

10 Mistakes When Installing Vinyl Siding

  • Not upgrading when you have the chance. This is the first and worst mistake you can make in your vinyl siding installation. By skimping on your materials, you often end up with a thin, low-quality vinyl that can sag between fasteners, is pulled off the wall in high winds or can crack, fade or otherwise not look great for very long.
  • Melted vinyl on the side of the houseNo foam behind the siding. This can even be a 1/4" fan-folded foam that provides a little extra cushion for your siding, protecting it from smaller impacts. True story: a friend was hosting an archery event at his home and they were trying out the new bird blunts they'd received. His vinyl siding was slapped on directly over the OSB and had no give in it, so when an arrow missed the backstop, it punched a perfectly round, quarter-sized hole in his siding.
  • No expansion room or nailing too tightly. If you're installing in cool temperatures, remember the vinyl expands when summer's heat is on. Most installers will leave 1/4" of expansion room when installing in cooler temperatures, or even 3/8" when the mercury dips below 40 degrees. You'll also need to remember to leave about 1/32" of space between the bottom of the nail head and the top of the siding, so the siding is able to slide as it expands and contracts.
  • Not nailing it down often enough. Much like using a thin siding, not nailing the vinyl down often enough can lead to sagging, especially when it gets hot out. Vinyl siding has become so easy to install, it's easy to skimp in the steps. 
  • Employing the power washer. Though you won't usually damage the vinyl using pressure to clean it, a power washer will drive water up behind the siding. This trapped water can cause moisture and mold or mildew problems in your home, so keep the pressure off when it's time for your final clean up.
  • Installing Vinyl SidingToo much overlap at joints. If a little overlap is okay, a lot is better, right? Not when you're dealing with vinyl siding. The industry standard is 1-1.25" of overlap, but if you go too far over that measurement, it can actually restrict movement when the siding expands. That binding can make the siding get a wavy appearance.
  • Using short pieces. Many manufacturers now offer vinyl siding in longer lengths, including 16' and 20' pieces. By using longer pieces, you can reduce how many seams you have in your installation. Fewer seams mean fewer places for water to leak through and a neater overall appearance.
  • Not reusing small pieces. You can greatly reduce your project expenses by planning your order around your smaller spaces. Do you have an 8' section of wall followed by a window, a 4' wall space and a door? Order 12' pieces and cut them into 8' and 4' sections instead of spending more on multiple 8' pieces.
  • Not staggering your seams. When you're installing your vinyl siding, it's easy to get into a rhythm and stack your seams one on top of another. Make sure you stagger your seams whenever possible to avoid creating obvious seams. 
  • Going easy on the flashing. Vinyl siding is only water-resistant, not water-tight. It's important to get enough flashing at roof edges, windows, doors and problem areas to prevent problems.

Keep these tips in mind when you're installing siding and you'll have great results. At Wallboard Supply Company, we've been helping our customers for over 40 years and are here to help with your construction problems. Please feel free to contact us with questions, to place an order or to schedule a delivery to your worksite.

Siding Installation and Connectors Guide


Photo credit: williamhartz / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: williamhartz / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA


Share this Post:
Wallboard Supply Company is a third generation, family run business that has been serving New England's building needs since 1970. Bob Filion started the company with a commitment to provide quality drywall and finishing products with unmatched customer service. The company has grown over the years, expanding its' product range, but never wavering from its' core values.