Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Installing Horizontal Siding

Top Ten Tips for Installing Vinyl Siding
CertainTeed provides quality vinyl siding and accessories that
are backed by one of the industry's best warranties. However,
even the best products fall short of expectations if they are not
installed properly. Following these ten recommendations—the
basics of a professional installation—can help ensure a quality
installation that fulfills homeowners' expectations and reduces
call backs.
1. Install all siding and accessories over a smooth, flat
surface. Always install siding over a rigid sheathing, and
never install it over open studs.
2. Vinyl siding is not a watertight material. Prepare walls
properly and flash around all windows and doors before
installing vinyl siding and trim.
3. There are three recommended ways to cut vinyl siding:
For rip cuts, score the panel with a knife and bend the
panel back and forth. Use aviator snips or shears to fit
panels around windows and doors. For cross cuts, use a
circular saw with a plywood blade in the reverse position.
4. Always leave room for expansion and contraction into
receiving channels like outside corner posts, inside corner
posts, and J-channel. If the temperature is above 40°,
leave 1/4"; if the temperature is below 40°, leave 3/8".
5. When installing horizontal vinyl siding, overlap the factory
notches 1", or one-half the factory notch.
6. Always nail in the center of the nail slots: 16" on center
for siding; 8" to 12" for accessories.
7. DO NOT NAIL TIGHT! Always leave 1/8" to 1/16" between
the nail head and the wall surface to allow for movement
when the panel expands and contracts.
8. Hang vertical accessories from the top of the top nail. If
the accessory is longer than 12', hang it from the top two
9. Lap away from the highest traffic pattern, typically the
front of the house. Keep laps at least 3" apart from course
to course, and install three courses between laps above
each other.
10. Finish the last piece of siding into utility trim or dual utility
SECTION 5 – Installing Horizontal Siding
CertainTeed Vinyl Siding Installation Guide
Cutting Panels
To cut panels to size, follow these procedures:
Cross cuts
For a precise cut, use a power circular saw equipped with a
sharp, fine-tooth plywood blade. For best results, reverse
blade direction.
Cut one or two panels at a time, carefully advancing the saw
through the vinyl. A rule of thumb: The lower the temperature,
the slower the feed rate.
Panels can also be cut with snips. Use a square to mark cut
line. Start cut at top lock and continue to bottom of panel.
Rip cuts
Use a utility knife to score panel along cut line. Bend panel
back and forth along score line until it snaps apart cleanly.
Use a combination of tin snips and utility knife to cut panels to
fit around windows and doors.
Overlapping Panels
When lapping horizontal panels, overlap the ends 1" for
panels up to 12'6". Panels longer than 12'6" must be
overlapped 1-1/2".
NOTE: Whenever you cut a panel to be used in an overlap
area, you also have to duplicate the factory notch at both
the top and bottom of the cut end.
NOTE: The Carolina Beaded panel is factory-notched
in three places. For best results, overlap panels using
factory notched ends only. If a panel must be cut on site,
insert cut ends into receiving channels in cornerposts
or J-channel. If this isn’t possible, create an exact
duplicate of notches using aviation or tin snips.
CertainTeed Vinyl Siding Installation Guide
STUDfinder Installation System
The STUDfinder™ Installation System combines precisely
engineered nail slot locations with graphics to create a siding
panel that is designed to help ensure quick, accurate and
secure installation.
The nail slots are positioned 16" and 24" on center to allow for
alignment with studs, with STUDfinder graphics centered
directly under each nail slot. In areas without special wind-load
requirements, some vinyl siding may be used in 24" on center
construction. Check with your local building code official for
special requirements and ICC-ES Evaluation Report ESR-1066
for special wind-load requirements.
Locate the first stud and fasten in the center of the nail slot.
Ensure that nail/staple penetration is at least 3/4" to comply
with ASTM D4756 (specification for vinyl siding installation).
Notice which STUDfinder letter appears below the slot.
Go to the next repeat of the letter to find the next stud. For
example, if your first stud is at “T,” so will the succeeding
studs in 16" o.c. applications (every 10th slot). When installing
16' or 20' Monogram 46L panels or CedarBoards XL 16'8"
panels, the succeeding studs are at every 8th slot.
When you apply the next panel, adjust the overlap, as
necessary, to line up with studs and repeat the steps above.
24" o.c. applications will use a similar pattern of letters, with
2 letters that repeat every-other stud (every 15th slot). For
example, if the first stud is located at “S,” then the next will be
at “I,” then “S,” then “I,” etc. When installing 16' or 20'
Monogram 46L panels on 24" centers, the succeeding studs
are at every 12th slot.
NOTE: The overlapping panels may not use the same
letter as your initial panel.
CertainTeed Vinyl Siding Installation Guide
Preparing Wall Surfaces
The key to successful vinyl siding application is proper
preparation of the nailing surface. It is essential that you work
over a smooth nailing surface. The more level and even the
wall surface, the better the finished installation will look.
The steps involved in preparation differ for new homes and
old, so choose the instructions (page 20-23) that pertain to
your project.
Installing the First Course
It’s important to work with care and planning as you install
siding panels. This is especially true when you’re installing the
first course of siding. (See pages 23-25 for fastening
For best results, follow these guidelines:
The key to creating a visually attractive installation is to lap
away from areas where people normally walk or gather. For
example, on the front wall, work from the corners to the
entrance door (so overlaps face away from door). On side
walls, work from the rear corners toward the front. This
approach minimizes the effect of lapping and produces the
best appearance. Keep lap appearance in mind throughout
NOTE: Lap appearance is also improved when you avoid
using panels less than 3' long.
Slide the first panel into the cornerpost recess. Leave room for
expansion (see page 25).
Hook the bottom lock of the panel into the interlock bead of
the starter strip by applying upward pressure.
Before nailing, double check to make certain you’ve locked
the panel along its entire length. A slight upward pressure may
be required to snap the interlock securely. Don’t force the lock
too tightly, however. You may distort your laps. Nail properly.
Also, make certain the panel can slide freely. Start at the
center of the panel and work out.
Install the remaining starter course panels, overlapping panel
ends 1". The last nail should be at least 4" from the end of the
panel to allow for a neat lap.
Remember to leave room for expansion when fitting panels
into remaining inside and outside cornerposts.
CertainTeed Vinyl Siding Installation Guide
lock not fully engaged lock fully engaged
room for
lock panel to
starter strip
Installing remaining courses
To ensure best appearance, position the laps to avoid
unsightly joint patterns. The illustration at left shows a wellplanned
staggering of panel joints. Follow these guidelines:
Separate joints by at least two courses.
Avoid joints above and below windows.
Leave at least 3' separating joints on successive courses.
Use short cutoff lengths for fitting at narrow openings between
Follow the planned pattern when applying the next courses of
Fitting under windows
You’ll probably have to cut panels to fit under windows.
To make this task easier, plan panel positioning as shown at
left so a single panel extends beyond both sides of window
opening. Follow these steps to measure and cut panels:
Hold panel in place and mark the width of window opening.
Add 1/4"-3/8" to both ends to allow for expansion. The
resulting marks show location of vertical cuts. Extend marks
onto panel using a square.
Create a template for horizontal cut using small piece of scrap
siding. Lock this piece into the lower panel and mark 1/4"
below sill height. This provides clearance for undersill trim.
Repeat procedure on opposite side of window. (You can’t
assume windows will be perfectly level.)
Transfer marks from template to panel. Connect marks using
Cut panel, using tin snips to make vertical cuts and a utility
knife to make horizontal cut.
Install panel
If necessary to maintain slope angle, install furring under sill as
described on pages 21-22.
NOTE: You can eliminate this step by using dual undersill
trim. This trim has two receiving channels. Use the inner
channel if you’ve cut the siding panel near the locking
edge. Use the outer channel if the cut has been made
near the butt edge.
Use a snap lock punch to raise tab faces on the outside of the
panel. Punch out tab every 6".
Push horizontal edge of cut into utility trim. Slide vertical
edges of cut into J-channels at window sides. Make certain
the installed panel locks into the panel below.
CertainTeed Vinyl Siding Installation Guide
utility trim
Fitting over windows and doors
The procedure for cutting panels for installation over windows
and doors is similar to that explained earlier.
If necessary to maintain slope angle, install furring above
window or door as explained on pages 21-22.
Drop panel into position, making certain it fits into undersill
trim and J-channel at top and J-channels at sides. Interlock
with the siding panels below.
Fitting at narrow openings between windows
To simplify installation in areas such as that shown in the
illustration, install J-channels on both sides of opening. Bow
the panel toward you and slip into channel.
If the area is very narrow, leave one J-channel unnailed except
at lowest point (as shown). Bend this channel out slightly to
insert panel. When panel is in place and nailed, nail J-channel
immediately above panel and repeat procedure. Be sure to
leave adequate tolerances for expansion and contraction.
CertainTeed Vinyl Siding Installation Guide
installing trimmed panels
with dual undersill trim
Fitting at gable ends
Make a pattern duplicating gable slope. Use this pattern to
guide cutting of panels to fit gable ends.
To make pattern:
Lock short piece of siding into panel gable starter course as
shown in illustration.
Hold second piece of siding against J-channel at slope. Run
pencil along edge of this piece, transferring slope angle to first
piece of siding.
Cut along line using power saw or tin snips. Use resulting
pattern to mark siding panels before cutting.
NOTE: Double-check angle on pattern at every course.
If necessary, cut new pattern.
To install cut panels:
Slip angled end of panel into J-channel along gable edge.
Leave space for expansion.
Interlock with siding panel below.
If necessary to securely fasten the last panel at gable peak,
face nail as shown in illustration. This is the only place you will
face nail. Use 1-1/4" to 1-1/2" aluminum nail with painted
NOTE: Do not cover louvers in gables.
CertainTeed Vinyl Siding Installation Guide
nail finish
Fitting under soffit
When you reach the last course of siding, you will probably
have to rip cut panels lengthwise to fit under soffit.
NOTE: If necessary to ensure proper panel slope angle,
make certain to furr out this area.
To cut and install this last course:
Install J-channel and undersill trim or dual undersill.
Measure from soffit to base of upper lock on previous course
of panels. Subtract 1/4". Mark this dimension on the panel to
be cut, taking measurement from bottom edge of panel. For a
more precise cut, repeat this procedure at several other points
along the span to be covered by the panel.
Using a square or straightedge, draw a pencil line connecting
these points. Then score along line with utility knife. Bend
panel back and forth until it snaps.
Use snap lock punch to create tabs on outside face of panel,
1/4" below cut edge. Space tabs every 6".
To install, lock bottom of cut panel into panel below. Push top
edge into J-channel or undersill trim. Tabs will catch in trim
and hold panel firmly in place.
NOTE: Since you will not nail this last course, it is
important that the tabs fit properly in the trim to provide
support while allowing movement for expansion.
Finishing the top course
To finish the top course of siding, attach cornice receiver to
the top of the wall under the eave or soffit. Trim the top panel
to within 1/4" of the cornice receiver. Using a nail slot punch,
punch nail slots 1/4" from the trimmed edge of the siding
panel, 16" apart. Nail off the top course, and snap the cornice
molding into the cornice receiver. An alternate method is to
use J-channel and furring strips.
CertainTeed Vinyl Siding Installation Guide
minus 1/4"
impressions panel
cornice receiver
Attaching objects to siding
All external products (downspouts, shutters, and lights,
for example) are attached to walls after you’ve applied the
vinyl siding.
NOTE: All external fixtures must be attached to a solid
backing (such as 3/4" exterior grade plywood) to provide
a secure mounting surface. Never attach a fixture directly
to vinyl siding.
When installing external products, you must allow for
expansion and contraction of siding.
You can allow for this movement in two ways:
The most convenient way to attach light fixtures is with light
blocks. Because they contain receiving channels to hold
siding panels, light blocks provide a simple way to allow for
When attaching other fixtures, drill holes in the siding 1/4"
larger than the diameter of screws, bolts, or nails being used
to fasten objects. This provides adequate clearance so siding
can move freely underneath attached objects. When
attaching objects, do not fasten tightly. It is also
recommended that you apply caulk around the screws.
Fitting at light blocks
When cutting panels to fit at a light block, be sure to allow for
CertainTeed Vinyl Siding Installation Guide
1/4" - 3/8"
light block
mounting bracket
Shutter Installation
The ideal application (shown at the top) has a joint between
the two shutters where the shutters are secured to the home.
In this way, the siding panel is not “hard nailed” between the
two shutters and the siding is allowed free movement.
When there is no joint between shutters where the shutters are
secured to the home (as shown on the bottom), the shutter’s
fasteners do not allow the siding panel to move. The siding
panel then fails to perform because it cannot expand or
contract with the temperature changes.
Enlarge the hole in the siding for securing the shutter – the hole
should be 1/4" larger than the shank of the fastener. If
possible, stagger the screws securing the shutter so that they
do not line up on the same panel. It is also a good idea to
apply caulk around the screws.

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