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While the median age of homes is around 80 years, it’s unfortunate that the materials of a home— roofing, siding, windows, etc.— don’t last nearly as long. Vinyl siding, for example, is built to last only one or two decades. To that end, you may be curious about how to cut vinyl siding so you can replace those old and outdated materials.

But what is vinyl siding, and how can you best handle the material? If you’re looking to replace your old siding, we’re glad to help. Read on for everything you need to know about your vinyl siding installation.

What Is Vinyl Siding?

If you’re unfamiliar with the material, you’ve likely seen it without knowing it!

Vinyl siding is the plastic exterior siding for buildings. The material is most common on houses, townhomes, and small apartment buildings.

Typically a neutral color such as grey or beige, vinyl siding is often decorated to imitate wooden designs. Batten boards, battens, shakes, and clapboards are common styles. 

Using vinyl siding is cheaper than using fiber cement or aluminum for the same purpose. The utility of siding is weatherproofing and defense against storms. It’s also exceptionally effective for boosting your home’s curb appeal!

How to Cut Vinyl Siding

Once you get your hands on some vinyl siding, you may struggle to work with the material. It’s a tough material and not one that you can work at bare-handed or without know-how.

If you’re struggling more than you expected, don’t hesitate to contact professionals. It’s easy to mess up siding and have a home that’s lacking curb appeal and protection. If you’re determined to handle it yourself as a DIY project, here are the necessary steps.

1) Gather the Necessary Tools

Your first task is to gather the necessary tools. There are a few more tools you’ll need for this than your average DIY project!

The first and most important thing you’ll need (other than safety gear) is a sharp cutting tool. A circular saw is an excellent choice if you feel comfortable using it. Otherwise, a sharp pair of tin snips is a great choice.

A tape measure and pencil are both also vital. You’ll need the measurer to ensure you’re using the right amount and a pencil to mark on the vinyl siding. We also suggest a notebook to take notes in, but this is personal taste!

Other tools you’ll need include:

  • A carpenter’s square for straight lines and clean cuts
  • A utility knife for horizontal cuts
  • Safety gloves and goggles, as well as a thick, long-sleeved shirt and pants
  • A flat working surface, such as a table or workbench

2) Measure and Mark

Your first step is to measure how much siding you’ll need. You should begin my measuring your home where you intend to install the siding.

If you’re installing siding over the entirety of an exterior wall, it’ll be a large project! Make sure you’re measuring accurately, as cutting your vinyl siding too short can pose an enormous hassle.

As always, measure twice and cut once. You may want to divide the home into several “sections” so that you don’t feel overwhelmed with a large area.

3) Score the Cut Lines

A crucial part to cutting is to score the line for your vinyl siding. “Scoring” is to make smaller cuts or marks on the line.

By doing so, you make it much easier to cut the siding. Siding can prove tough, and if your knife or snips aren’t sharp enough, you may find it difficult. Scoring will make it so you’re connecting smaller cuts instead of slicing through the whole material.

After you have the line scored, you’re free to begin cutting! Make sure your hands are out of the way and stay focused on the task.

3 Tips to Cutting Vinyl Siding

Before you begin cutting, we have a few more tips! Here are some important notes to keep in mind before you begin cutting.

Make Short Cuts

As well as scoring, you should work with short, precise cuts. We suggest making these cuts vertical, as this is often an easier way to cut your siding.

Short cuts can also stop your knife or saw from getting stuck in the siding. While a sharp blade shouldn’t struggle with this, there’s always a chance of the issue. Keep the blade moving away from your body and ensure no one is in the way!

Ensure Your Tools Are Sharp

It cannot be stressed enough that your tools need to be as sharp as possible for this task! If your tools aren’t sharp enough, your sliding can come out jagged, rough, and need sanding down. You can also cause strange lines or nicks in the side of the vinyl that require a new cut.

If you’re using tin snips, you shouldn’t need much force. Should you find yourself needing excess force, such as hammering the edge of the snips, they aren’t sharp enough. Switch tools and replace them!

Stay Focused

Above all else, it’s important to stay focused on your task while cutting your siding. If you become distracted, the chance of injuring yourself or others is significantly higher.

Furthermore, you could create a lackluster cut, which can damage your siding. If you’re replacing your siding for curb appeal, making a poor cut can ruin your progress. You may find yourself needing to restart the task if not done properly.

Do your best to avoid distractions. Try not to hold conversations or talk on the phone while you’re working. Focus on your task and finish the siding as soon as possible so you can get your work done!

Handling Your New Vinyl Siding

With a bit of practice, you can fully understand how to cut vinyl siding without an issue. Do your best to stay focused on the task and make sure your tools are high-quality and sharp. If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to call professionals to come aid you in the work.

For more information on how to boost your home’s curb appeal, be sure to contact us to learn more!

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