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Vinyl Siding Repair & Replacement

Because vinyl siding is fairly thin, all it takes to crack or punch a hole in it is a rock thrown by a lawnmower or a hard-hit baseball.

Holes and cracks in vinyl siding can be more than an esthetic problem—they allow rain and weather to get in behind the siding, which can eventually compromise the wall.

So it’s important to fix broken siding.

There are two approaches to repairing vinyl siding. The right direction to take will depend upon the type and size of the damage. You can 1) cover the crack or hole with a vinyl patch (“vinyl siding repair kit”), or 2) replace a section of the damaged piece.

The easiest and fastest repair is to use a vinyl siding repair kit. Available online for about $50, one of these kits has a couple of durable adhesive-backed PVC patches.

To use it, you just clean the surface around the damaged area, stick-on the transparent patch, and, where necessary, touch up with matching paint.

The patch is intentionally made from very thin PVC so that the siding’s grain will show through it, which helps it blend in with the existing siding.

The more thorough and permanent solution is to replace the damaged siding.

The trick when doing this is to find a replacement that will match your existing siding. If your existing siding has been on the house for a while or has received a lot of direct sun, it’s likely to be faded. When replacing it with a new piece, the replacement piece will be obvious. So your best bet is to steal a piece of existing siding from a less visible place, such as the back of the house or the side of the garage.

Then you can replace that piece with new siding and nobody will ever know.

If a large area of your vinyl siding has been cracked or punctured, or if it has pulled away from the house, you may need to replace the entire damaged section.

If you feel the job is too much to handle, you can always get quotes from local siding contractors.

To do the job yourself you will need:

* A new section that matches the damaged section
* A special “zipper” (siding removal tool) to separate the panels
* Polyurethane caulking
* A utility knife
* A carpenter’s square
* A pencil
* Tin snips or a backsaw

Your work will go more easily if you replace the vinyl when the weather is warm because vinyl is easier to manipulate when it is flexible.

A special tool, sometimes called a “zipper,” is made for unhooking the locking channels of vinyl siding. You can buy one of these for under $10. If you’ll be removing very much siding, it will make the job a lot easier—but you can pry apart the locking channels by hand, as shown in this video:


Using the zipper, unlock the panel next to or above the damaged one. Lift it up.

Then, using a pry bar or a hammer’s claw, pry out the nails that hold the damaged panel in place.

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Pry the interlocking edge of the siding, using a “zipper” tool.

Mark cutting lines on each side of the damaged area using the carpenter’s square and the pencil. Cut the panel along the lines with a sharp utility knife, tin snips, or a backsaw and remove the damaged section.

Then, cut a replacement piece 2 inches longer than the section you just removed to allow for a 1-inch overlap on each end. (Cut the piece only 1 inch longer if the damaged section ends at a corner or joint.)

Snap the top edge of the new section in place and nail it with aluminum box nails long enough to penetrate 1 inch into the studs. Using the zipper, snap in the other edge.

Nail vinyl siding in the center of the slots along the top.


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About Don Vandervort
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Don Vandervort has developed his expertise for more than 30 years, as Building Editor for Sunset Books, Senior Editor at Home Magazine, author of more than 30 home improvement books, and writer of countless magazine articles. He appeared for 3 seasons on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert for several years. Don founded HomeTips in 1996.

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