Installing Vinyl Siding: 8 Simple Steps

Although a bit of forward thinking (hey that's planning) is required - and this is the subject of the next post - the process of installing siding, fascia board and soffit goes something like:
  1. Install the corner posts: These need to go first. There are two kinds: inside and outside corners.
  2. Install the Starter strip: This is installed between two corner posts. Use a level and place the strip as low as you can go.
  3. Install the siding (part 1) : The first piece is locked into the starter strip. TIP 1: Remember to Hang rather than nail the siding (a future post provides details). TIP 2: When cutting a second piece to complete a course I found it easier to cut it so the cut end goes into the corner post or the J-Channel - that way the overlap tab of the two pieces will be facing each other. TIP 3: The second piece in a course much overlap the previous piece - so measure accordingly.
  4. Install J-Channel (where needed): The primary function of J-Channel is to hold and trim the exposed ends of siding where there is no other means to do so such as a corner post. It is a versatile trim that can be use just about anywhere. If the windows and door have built-in J-Channel then there will not be much need for it but typical uses are to trim around beams and basement windows or steps in your external wall. TIP 1: Use J-Channel to provide the trim where the direction of the soffit changes such as at the corners of a roof. I found this works well as a tab can be created so that it can be nailed to the top of the wall.
  5. Install the Fascia Board: The fascia board is the trim that covers the fascia framing that was nailed to the end of the rafters. TIP 1: Be sure to have your roofer install roofing starter strip on the edge of the roof, under the first row of shingles. The roofing starter strip makes installing the fascia board easy - just slip the top edge of it under the starter strip. Vinyl fascia board usually comes in a standard 8" width. Thus means you will likely, if you have framed the fascia using 2x6, have to trim the fascia board to something around 5.5 inches - but measure to be sure the correct width. TIP2: Use Fascia board with a built-in F-Channel. TIP 3: I found that the Channel portion of the Fascia board made it such that the nailing strip did could not be used to nail in to the fascia frame so I nailed either a 2x2 or 2x4 (horizontally) against the inside of the fascia. In this way i had a nice nailing location for both the fascia board and the soffit latter. (I am sure that the professionals use another approach but this worked quite nicely for me.
  6. Install the F-Channel: Like the starter strip this is installed between the corner posts. I was fortunate that I could install the F-Channel, with the 'F' standing upright, where the top of the trim was flush with he top of my wall. This lined up perfectly with the F-Channel in the Fascia board. You may not be as lucky - so using a level may be required to find the right line on which to install the F-Channel on the wall.
  7. Install the Siding Finish trim and the final siding course (part 2) : The siding finish trim is also installed between the corner posts. The last course of siding needs to be secured at the top. Almost always the last course will be a narrower piece having the top portion, including the nailing strip, cut off. The finishing trip acts to hold the modified siding course in place. This is done by simultaneously slipping the top of the siding in to the finish trim as you click it in to the lower siding.
  8. Install the Soffit: These are installed horizontally between the channel in the fascia board and the F-Channel. Most soffit is more structurally strong in one direction than the other. It is important that the soffit be installed so the strength is between the two channels. The soffit I used came in 10-foot lengths that were 16-inches wide. I cut lengths of this to fit the space framed by the two 'channels' less 1/4 inch for expansion. Once in the slot the soffit pieces 'snap' together much like sliding. One nail was used to secure the soffit on the 2x4 installed in step 5 - Tip 3. The last piece of soffit is always difficult to install - all I can say is it just takes a bit of elbow grease...
While this order is generally true for straight courses of siding, installing siding on special areas like Gable ends require a few modifications. Because the siding slopes up to the peak in the gable ends you need the support the siding on an angle from the bottom corner to the peak. This is generally accomplished using J-Channel.