Cracked or broken vinyl siding is no reason for despair. A simple $5 tool gets the job done in 15-minutes. This article also includes some useful tips on how to get the best match possible for your original siding.
How to Replace Vinyl Siding A zip tool is the key
Slide the zip tool along the bottom edge to release the vinyl siding from the piece below it. This vinyl siding repair tip will save you loads of time.
Vinyl siding repair is tough, but not indestructible. If a falling branch or a well-hit baseball has cracked a piece of your siding, you can make it as good as new in about 15 minutes with a $5 zip tool (available at any home center) and a replacement piece. It’s as simple as unzipping the damaged piece and snapping in a new one.
Starting at one end of the damaged piece, push the end of the zip tool up under the siding until you feel it hook the bottom lip. Pull the zip tool downward and out to unhook the bottom lip, then slide it along the edge, pulling the siding out as you go. Then unzip any pieces above the damaged piece. Hold them out of the way with your elbow while you pry out the nails that hold the damaged piece in place
Slide the replacement piece up into place, pushing up until the lower lip locks into the piece below it. Drive 1-1/4-in. roofing nails through the nailing flange. Space them about every 16 in. (near the old nail holes). Nail in the center of the nailing slot and leave about 1/32 in. of space between the nail head and the siding so the vinyl can move freely. Don’t nail the heads tightly or the siding will buckle when it warms up.
With the new piece nailed, use the zip tool to lock the upper piece down over it. Start at one end and pull the lip down, twisting the tool slightly to force the leading edge down. Slide the zip tool along, pushing in on the vinyl just behind the tool with your other hand so it snaps into place.
It’s best to repair vinyl in warm weather. In temperatures below freezing it becomes less flexible and may crack.
The downside of replacing older vinyl siding is that it can be hard to match the style and color, and siding rarely has any identifying marks. The best way to get a replacement piece is to take the broken piece to vinyl siding distributors in your area and find the closest match. If the old vinyl has faded or you can’t find the right color, take the broken piece to a paint store and have the color matched. Paint the replacement piece with one coat of top-quality acrylic primer followed by acrylic house paint—acrylic paint will flex A hole in vinyl siding opens a door for moisture and insects to intrude. Fortunately, you can repair most small holes and punctures without a professional's help. You’ll need a tube of color-matched vinyl siding caulk, which you can purchase from siding retailers. Caulk is matched the same way as paint. If the retailer doesn’t have information for your siding on file, take in a small piece of siding to ensure a good match. If the hole is larger than a nail or screw puncture, you’ll also need a scrap of matching siding to use as a patch.
Fill a Puncture
Clean the siding around the hole with vinyl siding cleaner or mild dish detergent and water and a soft sponge. Wipe the siding dry with a rag.
Cut the nozzle tip on a tube of color-matched vinyl siding caulk with a utility knife and fit the caulk into a caulk gun. Cutting the tip at a slight angle gives you more control over application. Prime the caulk tube by squeezing the trigger two or three times, then release the trigger.
Align the caulk tube's nozzle opening over the hole in the siding.
Squeeze the caulk gun’s trigger to fill the space behind the hole with caulk. This step is important for a long-lasting repair. Squeeze as much caulk through the hole as you can, then slowly lift the nozzle and release the trigger. Overfill the hole slightly, ending with excess caulk outside the hole.
Scrape a plastic card or semi-rigid rubber caulk trimmer lightly across the hole to remove most of the excess caulk. Alternatively, let the caulk harden and then trim off the excess with a utility knife blade.
Patch a Hole or Tear
Clean the siding around the hole with vinyl siding cleaner or dish detergent and water, then dry the siding.
Cut a scrap piece of siding to a length that is several inches longer than the hole. A clean way to cut vinyl siding is to score it with a utility knife and then bend the vinyl at the score. It should snap apart. You can also use utility shears.
Cut off the uppermost edge of the scrap, which has a series of holes for siding nails, with a utility knife. Don’t cut off the whole curved or lipped edge across the top edge of the siding; only cut off the nail hole strip.
Trim off the bottom edge the same way that you trimmed the top, leaving the curved lip. After trimming, you should have a flat section of siding with a curved top and bottom edge.
Press the patch over the damaged section of siding. The curve at the top and bottom of the patch should fit over the same curves on the damaged section of siding. If the patch won’t fit over the damaged section, trim off the curved edges to make a flat patch.
Open a tube of color-matched vinyl siding caulk and fit it into a caulk gun. Squeeze the gun's trigger a few times to start the flow.
Remove the patch from the wall, and apply a generous amount of color-matched vinyl siding repair caulk on the back of the patch. Don’t worry about using too much, as you can clean up excess caulk after the patch is installed.
Apply a contiguous bead or line of caulk around the hole in the siding.
Set the patch over the damaged siding. Apply pressure to help the pieces stick together, if necessary. Let the sealant dry for as long as the manufacturer recommends, then apply more caulk around the perimeter of the patch, if desired. If you trimmed off the curves and mounted a flat patch, apply painter’s tape across the patch to hold it against the siding until the caulk dries.with the movement of the vinyl.