Installing Vinyl Siding With Nails or Staples

Installing vinyl siding takes a lot of time and manpower, but it can be done by nonprofessionals.

Vinyl SidingVinyl Siding
It just takes the tips provided here, nails and a hammer or staple guns and some tools you can pick up at a home improvement store such as Home Depot or Lowe's.

Prep the walls of the house by applying 4-by-8 inch sheets of insulation across the building with nails or staples. You can use 1/2-inch, 3/8-inch or 1/4-inch thickness. The difference in size depends on the amount of insulation you want. Plus, the thicker the sheet the straighter the wall will be for the siding.

Apply J-channel to all doors, windows, inside corners and soffits so that the siding can slide neatly into it and no edges will show. Nail or staple the side that has holes in it to the wall with the J-shaped side against the doors and window frames, corners and soffits.

Use a straight-line chalk reel and measure from the bottom of the wall up 1 1/2 inches on each side and snap a line. Do this all the way around the house. This will give you a level base to apply your starter strip, which is the bottom piece of siding.

Install your vinyl corners on all the outside corners.

Install your starter strip using either nails or staples. A staple gun will be easier and faster since you don't have to be neat.

Use a level to make sure the strips are level and make sure that the corners match up and are not staggered.

Cut the siding to about 1/2 inch smaller than the hole for all walls under 12 feet, which is the normal size of siding. Use a 3/4-inch gap when it's cold outside to give room for expansion and 3/8 inch when it's hot outside to accommodate for shrinkage. When you hang the siding on, make sure to pull it up so it's not sagging, but don't stretch it too far or you won't be able to make the corners match.

Make sure you don't nail or staple the siding too hard. The siding should be able to move left or right but still stay on the wall after you attach it. The normal nail or staple is 2 1/2 inches long so about 1/8 inch should be sticking out from the wall so the siding is not pinched. Use a siding attachment when using a staple gun, as this will gap the staples for you so you do not break the nail holes in the siding and do not pinch it.

Overlap your siding on walls over 12 feet. To do this you will need to figure out how far you want your overlaps to be and what stagger you would like. The normal stagger is 2 feet, so for an 18-foot wall you will need to start with a 11-foot piece of vinyl siding followed by the end piece that would be 9 feet long. On top of that one you would use a 7-foot piece followed by a 5-foot piece.

Use a double j-channel and punch lock pliers or a piece of molding to go over the last piece of siding for a finished look.

Repeat these steps until the area is covered.

Things You Will Need

  • 4-by-8 inch sheets of insulation
  • J-channel
  • Straight-line chalk reel
  • 2 1/2-inch staples or nails
  • Hammers or nail guns
  • Vinyl siding and corners
  • Punch lock pliers or matching molding
  • Saw
  • Level


  • Don't bend or dent the siding. It will not install properly after it has been damaged.

About the Author

Since 1998 Alina McKee has written for dozens of traditional and online beauty, fashion, health and parenting publications including, Mama Health and Real Beauty. As a professional artist, her articles about these subjects have been used in magazines and websites around the globe. McKee has a diploma in fine art from Stratford Art School.