How to Install Vinyl Siding on Your House
By Van Clendenin
First Find the lowest spot on the house that is to be covered. Measure your starter strip and put a mark up from the bottom of the wall, the size of your starter - ¼ inch, this is to allow a little overhang. Now go to the other end of the wall and make same mark. If your house is level all the way around, you can continue to do this until you are back at your starting point. Chalk line between marks. Install outside corner posts , one inch shy of soffitt or overhang, and allow 1 inch to hang over the bottom. For inside corners you can do the same. I use two pieces of J channel for inside corner. Apply starter on line leaving a ¼ inch gap between pieces for expansion.
Now you have a wall ready for siding. And remember siding is hung not nailed tight, i usually leave nails out about 1/8 inch off the siding. We will worry about windows and doors in a moment. Start with a full piece of siding if wall allows, Start at the end that you want laps to show. Now cut a piece of siding being sure to measure from the factory side, to finish out this run. Take the remainder of the piece and start a new run. Then install a full piece and so on till you reach top or a window. Siding should overlap approximately 1 ¼ inches.
This brings us to channeling a window. You'll want to measure the side of the exposed frame, and cut a piece of j channel this length. Nail it up next to the window simi-tight. Now do the other side. Now measure the distance at top or bottom from outside of channel face to outside of channel face. Cut a piece to length. Now take that piece and cut a tab in the bottom of each en about ¾ inch deep and bend down. This will slip into the side channel. You can continue to channel all windows and doors this way. Remember to always leave about a ¼ inch gap between the ends and bottom and top of your window cuts.
Now before you reach the top you'll want to cover your overhangs or soffitts. I level in from the bottom of the nose board and mark 1 inch below level. Do this at each end of the wall. Strike a line between marks. This is where you'll run your f channel. I usually let the end of the channel hang out past the overhang on the corner and we'll get to that in a moment. Continue running channel the entire length of the wall remembering to let the ends run out past the corner overhangs. Now you know why we allowed one inch on top of the corner. Oh and nail the f channel with the nailer up if you didn't get that already.
Now measure from inside the channel to the outside of the nose board and subtract about ¼ inch, this will be your soffitt size. I install my soffitts using trim nails. You'll want to nail each piece to the nose board in 2 different places. This will keep it from twisting out of shape. The channel will hold it in the back. Interlock each piece and nail as instructed till you reach the end, it will probably be necessary to cut the last piece to fit. To install the fascia, assuming you bought pre-made fascia, You may have to cut it down to fit properly. This can be done with a sharp utility knife and a steady hand. The fascia should slip in under the drip edge or eve starter, and come down with the bent lip covering the edge of the soffitts . Overlap these pieces about an inch and nail them about every three feet. It is necessary to bend the ends around the corners to prevent leaks. This can be done with a hand break before the piece is installed. When you have run all the soffitt, install utility trim from top of one corner to the other and up tight against the f channel. This will receive your final run of siding. A snap lock tool is necessary for indenting the top of the final run so that it will lock into the utility trim. Now if you are installing siding on a gable end of house, it will be necessary to cut some angles. The easiest way to get the right angle is to take a short piece of siding, make sure it has no factory ends on it, and slide it into lock. Then slide it over into the channel till the top most corner just touches inside your channel. Back it out about 1/8 inch, now measure over to the channel from the very bottom of the same piece of siding sample to the inside of the channel, being sure to stay level, and deduct 1/8 inch. Now you have your angle. Take the piece of siding that is to have the angle cut and measure over from the very top, the same as the measurement you took from your sample piece you used in the gable, and mark it at the top. Draw a line from that mark to the bottom corner and cut. There is your angle. You should be able to continue with the same angle all the way up the gable on both sides unless the roof pitch is different on either side.