Discover the different types of vinyl siding tools required for your home renovation project. Whether you’re an avid DIY-er or a certified pro, you’ll find these essential tools handy to help you complete the task with ease and efficiency.
You know it’s time to replace your home’s old siding when you notice that the exterior painting starts to peel off or when you need to dress up some problem walls. One of the best options to consider for your new home siding is vinyl. It’s tough, durable, maintenance-free, and can quickly enhance the look of your home.
While it’s certainly a large project to undertake, many self-sufficient homeowners have done the installation themselves. By ditching professional help, they’re able to cut down the costs nearly in half. Most vinyl siding also comes with complete instructions. Plus, the tool requirements are also modest and easy to find. In fact, you might already own most of them.
So before you get started with your project, check out our list of vinyl siding tools below.
Being able to hold your siding in place while you are working with it is very important, and if you are working alone or are worried about the quality of help that you will have, it is important that you have the right tools to help you. Siding gauges are great for helping you hold your siding in place and can take the place of having another person help you with your siding job, which is why they are an indispensable tool for replacing your siding.
They will ensure that each piece of siding is level, which will allow you not only to complete your installation job significantly more quickly but also to ensure that the final result looks the best that it can.
It’s easy to attach the siding gauges to the vinyl that is already installed on the side of your home, make sure that they are level, and then use them to hold the piece of siding that you are going to install. You will make fewer mistakes, won’t become as fatigued while you are working, and can quickly finish larger areas by yourself without relying on the help of another person. It’s important that you buy siding gauges that are specifically made to handle vinyl siding, as there are other gauges available on the market that are better for engineered wood or other types.
Zip Lock Tool
Before you can replace any siding on your home, you will need to be able to remove it, which is why you have to have a zip lock tool. This tool has a handle that encloses a metal bar, complete with a small hook on the end. There is a bend in the tool to allow you a lot of control and force when removing the siding without having to put a lot of effort into popping it off of the home.
This tool is specifically designed to allow you to get underneath the bottom and the top edges of your siding where the pieces are interlocked without breaking them. Unlike trying to use your fingers or another tool to separate this interlocking location, when you use a zip lock tool, you won’t have to worry about accidentally damaging your siding.
You will use the zip lock tool to release your vinyl panels by inserting it into a loose area of the panel, wiggling it in, and then hooking the end of the tool onto the lip. By pressing down gently on the tool, you will be able to begin to release the panel from the joint. This is why you need to make sure that you choose a tool that has the bend in the metal bar, as this is what is going to give you the power that you need.
While you can use a utility knife to easily cut through your vinyl panels, if you want to speed up the process and finish as quickly as possible, then you will want to reach for a power saw instead. Make sure that you switch out the blade that you have on it and use one that is fine-toothed, as you want to decrease the chance that you will cause your vinyl panels to split or splinter.
When you are working in very cold weather, then you will want to make sure that you run the saw very slowly to prevent major cracking in the vinyl. Choosing a power saw is a little bit of a personal preference, as there are a few different types that will work for this job. You can easily use a radial-arm or bench power saw, but if you prefer, then you can use a handheld power saw.
Of course, make sure that you have all of the safety gear necessary before operating a power saw, especially because bits of sharp vinyl can break off of the pieces that you are cutting and greatly damage your eyesight or cause other injuries. Use protective eye gear, hearing protection, and heavy gloves in case you accidentally grab a sharp edge without realizing it.
Vinyl is generally very easy to cut, score, and trim when you have a quality utility knife to use, making this tool one that you will want to keep with you at all times when you are working on this project. Because they can be slipped into your pocket and carried with you, it’s easy to see why they are so popular to have for this work.
There are a number of different types and styles of utility knives on the market, and since they all have their own pros and cons, it comes down to personal preference when you decide what kind of knife is the right one for you. Most people prefer to buy one that has a retractable blade so that they don’t have to worry about being injured when reaching for the knife.
If you want to be able to keep working without having to change your blade when it grows dull, then look for a utility knife that has snap-off blades, as you can easily remove the old and dull blade, revealing a sharp one underneath, and keep working without much of a delay.
While they may look like scissors or like pruners, tin snips are incredibly durable, able to cut through metal or vinyl without causing it to crack or break, and are perfect for cutting your pieces to the right size and for cutting out mitered sections. While you will want to use a hand saw to cut pieces down to size, when you need more control over what you are cutting, then you need to go ahead and invest in a pair of tin snips. They offer a lot of control and will easily cut through your vinyl siding without any problems.
Snap Lock Punch
When you are going to be attaching vinyl panels to the utility trim, then you need to make sure that you have a snap lock punch tool on hand. This tool is very single-use but is indispensable when you are going to be installing vinyl paneling on your home. You can use this tool to easily and quickly secure the siding, as well as the skirting, to the finished trim underneath the window or along the top of the wall. They work by creating notches in the panel. You want to place each notch about three inches away from the others, as you will then be able to lock the panel onto the utility trim when you slide them up and together.
Nail Hole Slot Punch
Because your new vinyl siding is going to both expand and contract due to changes in the weather, you have to take steps to ensure that you don’t have problems with it shifting or becoming damaged while it does this. Using a nail hole slot punch is the fastest and easiest way to allow for any expansion or contraction without damage. They can also be used to elongate a nail slot if necessary.
You will be doing a lot of measuring when you are installing your new vinyl siding, and you need to make sure that this is as easy as possible. Skip the yardstick or the ruler, and opt instead for a long measuring tape, as this will allow you to quickly and easily measure out the distance you are going to cover with your vinyl panel. Additionally, a great measuring tape makes it easy to measure each individual panel, especially when you opt for one with a hook on the end. This hook can slip over the end of the panel so that you can complete measurements by yourself.
Make sure that you choose a measuring tape with clearly marked measurements so that you don’t make a mistake when you are measuring and cutting.
All of your vinyl panels are going to be installed with a hammer and nails. You need to make sure that you have a quality hammer on hand so that you can easily drive your nails through the center of the nail slot on each panel to ensure that they are correctly and securely attached to the side of your home.
Using a hammer that you are comfortable with and can easily control will ensure that you do not have problems while up on the ladder. While it may be tempting to pick a hammer that is really large, it’s important to remember that if your hands and arms get tired while you are working, then you will have difficulty finishing the job.
You will want to make sure that you choose a medium weight hammer, which will give you all of the power that you need without causing you to get too tired. It’s also a good idea to consider one that has a rip claw so that you can remove any nails that you nailed in incorrectly, and one that has a handle that isn’t made of wood.
While wooden handles may look great, they are not as durable or light as steel or fiberglass handles. Fiberglass handles are incredibly light and don’t cause a lot of vibrations to transfer to your hand when you are using them.
Once you have used your zip lock tool to begin to release and remove vinyl panels from the side of your home, then you will need to use a larger pry bar to finish the job. Without this tool, you won’t have the force or the strength to be able to pop these pieces off of your home, which is why you need to invest in a quality pry bar that won’t fail you while you are using it.
You will need to be able to drive the pry bar down behind the siding so that you can begin to pull out the nails that have it attached to the side of your home. For this reason, make sure that you choose a pry bar with a very skinny tip so that you won’t have to worry about the vinyl shattering when you are inserting the pry bar.
Pry bars come in a number of different sizes, which can make it a little difficult to choose the right one for your job. While a smaller pry bar that is only around a foot long may seem easier to store, it generally will not be able to give you the power and force that you need to complete this job. Significantly larger pry bars that are around five or six feet long are going to be too difficult for you to wield. Look for a pry bar that is around two or three feet long, as they are large enough to provide you with the power that you need, but not so heavy that they will be difficult to use.
Because you are going to be making angled cuts and measuring the pitch of your roof, you will benefit from having a speed square on the job site. This small tool is great for making sure that your angles are correct before you cut any of your vinyl pieces. When you need to cut your panels to length, you can easily use a speed square and a pencil to mark your cutting line and ensure that it is both perpendicular and straight. Look for a speed square with markings that are easy to read so that you won’t have to worry about making a mistake while working with your panels.
When you are ready to install siding on your home, then you have to make sure that you are going to be placing your nails in your studs. Without using your studs as support and a guide for your nails, then your newly-installed siding will not be very well attached to your home and can easily pop or peel off. For this reason, investing in a stud finder is a good idea and will speed up the installation process, as you won’t have to try to manually find the studs.
Unfortunately, some stud finders are simply not good at their job and will cause you to waste your time and money. Rather than dealing with a lower quality stud finder, you need to make sure that you buy a quality one that will work every time you use it. Skip the magnetic and the metal-detecting stud finders, as they don’t work nearly as well as you need them to, and opt instead for a professional stud finder. These rely on ultrasound and will actually detect the stud rather than nails that are placed in the stud, making it much more effective when you are working.
If you opt for a handheld power saw to cut your vinyl panels down to size, then you will need to have sawhorses on hand to support the vinyl pieces while they are being cut. It’s never a good idea to try to cut your materials directly on the ground, but without sawhorses that is what you may end up doing.
When your sawhorses are not in use to hold your vinyl panels for cutting, they can still be used to support your pieces while you measure and mark them, making them a great tool to have on hand, even if you are not going to be using a handheld power saw.
When you are installing vinyl siding you are going to be using your chalk line to ensure that you have perfect vertical installation. By using a chalk line to make sure that your frames and siding are aligned perfectly to the vertical edge of your home, you can be certain that you have the best chance of your siding remaining straight and true throughout the installation.
Chalk lines are fairly easy to operate, and one of the main benefits of using them, rather than trying to draw a line with a ruler and a marker, is that the chalk can be easily brushed or washed away if you make a mistake while marking your space. They consist of a container that holds loose chalk dust and a string would up around a center.
When you pull out the string it will bring with it some of the chalk dust. Once your string is in location and correctly marking where you want your line to be then you can easily snap it, causing it to hit the side of your home and release chalk dust, perfectly marking the line. Wind the string up so that you can get more dust onto it, and then use it again.
No matter how careful you are when you are installing your vinyl siding, if your pieces are at all uneven, then your whole home will look tilted. This is why you want to make sure that you always use a level to check your work, as it will prevent you from having major issues with your siding and from having to go back and redo some of the work that you have already completed. Periodically checking your work with a level will help give you peace of mind that your siding panels are even and straight.
If you already have a level in your garage or workshop, then you may be tempted to use that for this job, but you have to make sure that it is long enough to give you an accurate reading. If you are trying to use a shorter level, then you may find that your vinyl pieces aren’t level and you didn’t even know it.
It’s much better to buy a longer level that will give you a more accurate reading when installing vinyl panels so that you don’t make a mistake. While you want it to be long enough to be able to provide you with accurate information and to be easy to read, you also want to make sure that it is light enough for you to carry up the ladder, so bear that in mind when shopping.
Having a ladder is necessary so that you can easily reach up to the sides of your home when you are removing or installing vinyl siding. Without a quality ladder, not only will it be very difficult to reach up above your head when you need to work, but you can also put yourself in danger by standing on less sturdy items. Because there are so many different types of ladders available on the market, it is important that you choose the right one for the job. This will prevent you from overspending and ensure that you will be safe while you are working on your home.
Because you will be working outside and will probably be on uneven ground, you want to make sure that you choose a ladder that is designed for outside work. This will allow you to enjoy a much more stable and solid work area. Additionally, make sure that your new ladder will be able to reach high enough for you to complete your job.
While this may not be a big deal if your home only has one story, if it has multiple stories or is located on a hill then you need to make sure that your ladder will reach high enough. Also, consider the weight limit of the ladder you want to buy to ensure that it is rated to support not only your weight but also any materials or tools that you take with you.