DIY Vinyl Siding: Maintenance Free and Highly Durable

DIY vinyl siding is a great way to clad your shed for a low-maintenance, durable and rot resistant finish. Whether you want to put new siding on an existing shed or clad your new shed, DIY vinyl is a cost-effective, hard-wearing finish.

Installing vinyl siding can be quite tricky, to ensure you accurately cut and fix all the pieces in place without leaving a jagged edge or unsightly finish. The key to successful installation is to make sure you give the material enough space for expansion and contraction. Then your finished siding is less likely to buckle or get damaged during temperature changes.

Read on for a complete guide to buying and installing DIY vinyl siding, with some insider tricks from builders with decades of experience.

What is vinyl shed siding?

Exactly the same as vinyl siding used to clad a home or make window frames, vinyl is made from PVC. Typically you can have it supplied with the colour of your choice, meaning you don't need to paint it or re-treat it. It's very tough, insect, rot and weather resistant and if you buy good quality material that's imprinted with a wood grain you're left with a very stylish and natural looking finish.

Many people also find that vinyl siding is an affordable option, particularly if you save on labor costs and install it yourself.

Vinyl siding is supplied in horizontal or vertical panels that have an interlocking design to allow the bottom of each panel to be hooked into the top edge of the panel below. You can also buy matching trim to complete your project, including decorative corner posts to finish the butt joints between the connecting pieces of vinyl.

The J-Channel

The J-trim or J-channel is an important part of DIY vinyl siding to ensure a clean and professional finish. It's basically a strip of vinyl that's put around all the windows and doors, giving a place to connect the siding boards and prevent any jagged edges from being exposed.

Protecting your shed from moisture

Although DIY vinyl siding is extremely weather resistant, it's still quite likely that moisture can get behind the panels and potentially into your shed. That's why it's important to add a moisture guard underneath the panels to prevent any rain or humidity from getting inside.

Also, you may want to consider adding some extra insulation to keep you warm when working inside and protect your valuable goods from any frost damage. This can be clad on the outside of your walls, followed by your moisture wrap and then your siding.

Tips for successful installation

One of the main drawbacks of vinyl siding is that PVC expands and contracts greatly with changes in temperature (You can expect up to half an inch of movement every 12 feet). That's why it's vital to follow these tips from expert builders to compensate for the potential movement and protect your vinyl from buckling, warping and damage:

  1. Fix your vinyl panels in the centre of the nailing slot to allow movement in both directions.
  2. Nail through the slots rather than the vinyl itself to allow the material to expand and contract around the fixing. You can create extra slots using a nail hole punch.
  3. Don't fix the nails too tightly into the siding. Always leave a gap between the nail head and the panel to allow for movement. Imagine the thickness of a dime, and this is the correct distance between the nail head and the siding panel. If you nail in too tightly the vinyl is likely to buckle during temperature changes.
  4. Leave some space at the butt joints between two pieces of siding to give room for expansion. Around ¼ inch is best, although you'll need to leave up to ½ inch if you're working in freezing temperatures.
  5. Once you've installed your DIY vinyl siding, make sure the panels can move freely and are not fixed too tightly.

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