Installing Vinyl Siding: The Tools You Need!

There are a lot of tools you could get. Some very specialized for installing siding. This is what we used:
  1. Hammer: My favorite hammer is a framing hammer but I found it to be a bit awkward to use for nailing the siding. It was too long and heavy. You need to have a light hand when nailing siding - as will be revealed in a later post. So a standard 16 ounce hammer is just fine. Everyone in the team needs a hammer.
  2. Circular saw with fine tooth blade: When you are doing a massive amount of siding having a faster way to cut siding is imperative. Cutting all the siding by using tin snips will make you hands very powerful but take forever... The way to do this is to install a fine toothed blade, like that for plywood, in the reverse direction in a circular saw. Why reverse? Because it cuts a smooth edge through the siding.
  3. Tin Snips: The circular saw will not cut everything. Much of the fine work and cutting of the trim pieces has to be done by hand. I found that tin snips provide the most versatile cutting tool and a nice smooth cut edge on the siding.
  4. Tape Measure (and Pencil): You will be doing lots of measuring and marking for cutting. Everyone in the working party should have a pencil and a tape measure. Sharing one will just slow you down.
  5. Work Table(s): Just about every piece of siding, fascia and trim material comes in 12-foot lengths. Measuring and cutting this material is a real pain unless you have a flat surface at waist height to do it on. I found that those portable work tables that have an adjustable opening in the table were great for supporting both sides of the siding material when cutting them with a circular saw. I used 2 such tables - a third would have been a bit more helpful.
  6. Level: This is a key tool right at the first when you are installing the starter strip. Once the starter strip is level and nailed in the level waits for the next wall.
  7. Nail Pouch: Having something to hold a couple hundred roofing nails (that's what you nail the siding on with) plus holding the tin snips, measuring tape and pencil is obvious...
  8. Safety Glasses: You should always use safety glasses when sawing and nailing. I actually have safety sun glasses - and they stay on my head (and over my eyes) all day long.
  9. Ladder: There will always be a need for a ladder - even if you have scaffolding.
  10. Scaffolding: We have covered this ground already - scaffolding is critical for safety and rapid installation.
The specialized siding tools. I found that I just did not need them. In fact I did not purchase them. The possible exception is the siding removal tool. While not critical having this tool would have made removing a siding board much easier - we were able to struggle along without it. The issue is that once a piece of siding is locked in to the one below it getting it unlocked in order to remove it is a bit difficult - but doable with a bit of elbow grease.