You can feel the importance of siding. As your home falls prey to the elements, leaks and drafts abound enough to throw thermostats out of whack.
A source of curb appeal and protection from the elements, siding is among the most important parts of your home. Yet many skimp out on this very important item, attempting installations by themselves with improper materials. We’d like to show you exactly how siding is installed and why you shouldn’t attempt a siding installation alone.
How Do Professionals Install Siding?
To complete the installation process, professionals need many special tools, including a folding ruler, square, tape measure, level and screwdriver. The first step is to calculate how much siding the dimensions of a home require.
After discerning quantity, renovators work with clients to find the siding that best fits the budget and the home. A typical option is vinyl siding, which comes in various thicknesses, grains and colors. Professionals need to cut the vinyl siding into requisite pieces before installing those pieces along the side of a home.
Renovators must also leave enough space among the pieces to expand and contract as weather changes. Anywhere from a ¼ inch to 3/8 inch may be necessary, depending on how cold the surrounding environment can become.
Why Can’t I Install Siding Myself?
Siding installation takes a lot of skill and experience to perform correctly. Yes, siding is expensive enough by itself, but few expenses are more significant than having to make a renovation twice due to the failure of an initial attempt.
Will your attempt be any different? Masterful renovators can tell you exactly what they see when DIYers tap out.
Many homeowners neglect to use a level, so the siding panels are uneven, which makes the final product look like a cross between a Jigsaw puzzle and a Picasso painting. The pieces fail to lock properly, inviting the elements and heightening energy bills.
Sloppy caulk jobs invite drafts, and cleanup is very difficult for nonprofessionals. Here are many more reasons why you shouldn’t attempt this sort of renovation by yourself.
Removing Old Siding Is Very Involved
You can’t haphazardly rip old siding away from your home. There are several steps to preparing a clean workspace for an enduring installation. You’d have to make sure the old frame of your home is secure and completely replace all evidence of rotting with fresh material.
You’d also have to scrape away old caulk around doors and windows, as this will also interfere with the installation process. Removal of downspouts, lighting fixtures and molding will also be necessary for you to have complete access to the perimeter of your home. You’d even need to tie back plants from the perimeter, and windows might need new trims to be flush with the siding.
Cutting Siding into Exact Pieces Is Dangerous
There are several ways to cut siding into flexible panels, all of which require dangerous tools and incredible skill. For example, if you slice up aluminum siding yourself, it might slice you back. And if the aluminum doesn’t nick you, your tools will.
Professionals use some of the sharpest industrial tools to cut through vinyl and aluminum. With tin snips, renovators cut from the top interlock of each panel down to the bottom, which requires gentle exactness.
Professionals may also use utility knives to score the siding, bending the siding back and forth until a perfect panel snaps cleanly along the scored line.
Finally, professionals may use a power saw to slowly cut panels away from the siding. Often, the spinning blade will face the opposite direction to allow for cleaner cuts.
Installing Nails Requires Years of Honing Precision
Professionals use heavy-duty nails that can withstand long-term stress. We’re talking about using either galvanized steel or aluminum roofing nails that have a diameter of nearly a half inch. They should at least have a length of 1¾ an inch, so that they’re long enough to penetrate ¾ of an inch behind the siding.
As with individual siding panels, nails should leave a bit of space to compensate for expansion and contraction with the weather. There should be 1/16 of an inch between the siding and the head of the nail.
That these nails must leave space is all the more reason for professionals to rely on industrial nails.
Attempt siding installation yourself with cheap nails, and your siding will fall right off. Also, you’d need to nail through the center of nail slots without going too far right or left. Nailing directly through the material will damage it, and careless hammering will bend the nails, ultimately distorting the appearance of siding panels.
Professionals are also good at keeping panels from being too taut before hammering them on. Pulling these panels too tightly can bend them out of shape and decrease their lifespan.
Separating Siding from the Wall with Furring Is Difficult
However one handles siding installation, letting everything breathe is an important part of mold prevention. Old homes might need a layer of furring to let the inside of the siding air out enough to prevent mold buildup. For laymen, furring is an intermediate frame of wood that leaves a touch of space between the siding and the wall.
Another use case for furring: The sides of an old home can be uneven enough to give the siding a wavy appearance. Horizontal and vertical siding require different techniques. Whether your home is made of wood or masonry will also inform how to build the furring between the siding and the genuine wall.
The Most Reliable Siding Replacement in Chicagoland
Ultimately, siding replacement is a dangerous process, and if you get it wrong the first time, it could cause profound damage to your home. Professional renovators can help you install your siding the right way to keep your energy bills low and your family comfortable.
Among the best siding installers in Chicagoland is Renowned Building Solutions. We excel at complying with regulations at state and county levels. We also pay close attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations and instructions, as we understand that failing to do this may cause the siding to lose its warranty.
If you want a siding installation that looks great and keeps your family comfortable for decades, we’re happy to help. Please call us, email us or fill our online form to get started on your siding renovation.