Vinyl Siding NOPES

I inspected a home recently that had it’s vinyl siding installed incorrectly. As with any product, it must be installed according to manufacturer’s instructions so that it will provide long lasting pleasure and be covered under warranty. Some of the more common defects that I find with vinyl siding are improper clearance to roof materials, placing hot objects such as grills too close, and improper fastening of the siding. These are just a few of what I call ‘vinyl siding nopes!’

Nope #1

When vinyl siding is installed close to roof lines a J channel is installed to accept and hold the siding in place. Vinyl siding manufacturers recommend installing the J channel with a minimum of ½ inch clearance above roofing materials so that heat from the roof is not transferred to the vinyl. If the clearance is not maintained, then the vinyl can melt and distort. When your roof shingles need replacing, having the J channel directly on top can prove difficult in the removal of the roof shingles and step flashing. You can see in the picture below that the J channel was installed directly on the roof shingles causing the vinyl to contort. This is definitely a nope!


Nope #2

In basketball, Tar Heels and Blue Devils don’t tailgate together. The same goes for hot objects and vinyl siding. They should never hang out together. Placing very hot objects such as gas grills too close to the vinyl can lead to melting and distortion. Grills should be kept at a safe distance from the home when they are being used. Also, the Low E glass in newer home windows are great for energy efficiency but can reflect heat and sun in such a manner to cause melting and distortion of the vinyl.

Don’t do it! Grilling out beside vinyl siding. That’s a NOPE!

Nope #3

Vinyl siding expands and contracts due to temperature changes so allowances must be maintained at corner posts and other trim pieces such as doors and windows. A minimum of ¼ inch clearance should be maintained around trim pieces to allow for this movement. Also, the siding has nail slots and nails should not be driven in tightly to the siding.  You should leave a 1/32 space between the head of the nail and the siding in order to allow the siding to move during expansion and contraction.  If nailed to tightly, the siding can buckle.

Nailing siding too tightly will put you in the NOPE zone.

Cleaning your Vinyl Siding

To clean your vinyl siding you’ll need an ordinary, long-handled car washing brush. This type of brush has soft bristles that will not scratch or damage the siding. Avoid using stiff bristle brushes or abrasive cleaners, which may change the gloss of the cleaned area and cause the siding to look splotchy. To remove most dirt and grime, wipe down the siding with a solution made up of the following: 1/3 cup of powder detergent such as Fab®, Tide®, or equivalent powder detergent, and 2/3 cup powder household cleaner such as Soilax®, Spic & Span® or equivalent per one gallon of water. If mildew is present, use the solution previously mentioned, but also add 1 quart liquid laundry bleach. When washing down the entire house, start at the bottom and work your way up to the top in order to prevent streaking. An excellent resource for questions on installation and maintenance can be found here

Vinyl siding can offer years of enjoyment as long as it is installed and maintained correctly. These are just three nopes I encountered. What are some of the nopes you’ve come across with vinyl siding?