Materials and Tools

Panel Profiles

Vinyl siding comes in a variety of shapes, textures, and colors, creating a wide array of looks for different houses. It is manufactured primarily from durable polyvinyl chloride in several different profiles, including single, double, triple, vertical, and Dutch lap (Fig. 4).

There are also various types of vinyl soffit (the material used to enclose the underside of an eave or overhang). Soffit can be vented, solid, or a combination of the two (Fig. 5) and is designed to maximize air ow, preventing moisture accumulation and heat buildup between the siding and the house.

Figure 4.




Double Dutch


Figure 5.


Vented Perforated

Vented Basketweaves

Basic Installation Tools and Equipment

Common hand tools, such as a hammer, fine-tooth saw, square, chalkline, level, and tape measure, are needed for proper installation (Fig. 6). Safety glasses are recommended for eye protection. Other basic tools include:

Power Saw

A bench or radial-arm power saw can speed the cutting of the siding or soffit. A fine-tooth plywood blade should be used with the blade installed in the reverse direction. Some applicators prefer a handheld power saw. In extremely cold weather, move the saw through the material slowly to prevent chipping or cracking (Fig. 7).

NOTE: A saw blade set up in reverse direction should be used only for cutting vinyl. Do not attempt to use it on other materials such as wood, plywood, etc.

Utility Knife

Vinyl is easy to cut, trim, and score with a utility knife or scoring tool (Fig. 8).

Tin Snips

Good quality tin snips or compound aviation-type snips will speed the cutting and shaping of the vinyl (Fig. 8).

Figure 6.

Figure 7.

Figure 8.

Special Tools

Snap Lock Punch

A snap lock punch is used to punch lugs in the cut edges of siding to be used for the top or finishing course at the top of a wall, or underneath a window (Fig. 9).

Nail Hole Slot Punch

Occasionally, it may be necessary to elongate a nail hem slot to hit a stud. The hole is elongated to allow for expansion and contraction (Fig. 9).

Zip Lock (Unlocking) Tool

Remove or replace a siding panel with the zip lock tool. Insert the curved end of the tool under the end of the panel and hook onto the back lip of the buttlock. To disengage the lock, pull down and slide the tool along the length of the panel. Use the same procedure to relock a panel (Fig. 9).

Figure 9.

Snap Lock Punch

Nail Hole Slot Punch

Unlocking Tool


Outside and Inside Corner Posts

Corner posts are used to provide a finished edge at an inside or outside corner. The siding from adjoining walls fits neatly into the inside or outside corner post channels. Appropriate widths of channel openings are available to accommodate various configurations of siding.

Trim and Molding

A complete line of accessories is used to give every installation a professional appearance, while providing a water-resistive facade. Some accessories include trim, starter strips, J-channels, F-channels, drip caps, utility trim, and double utility trim (Fig. 10). Each of these accessories will be addressed in more detail throughout this manual.

NOTE: Vinyl siding manufacturers produce various sizes of J-channels, corner posts, and other accessories. Remember to order accessories of the proper size to match the siding panels. Consult the manufacturer for the appropriate size.

Figure 10.

Utility Trim

Starter Strip


Drip Cap/Flashing