Embark on a DIY siding project and you stand to save substantially, with potential cost reductions of 50 to 60 percent. This is not pocket change we’re talking about; it’s a significant portion of what you’d otherwise pay in labor costs to professionals.

Siding isn’t a task you can rush or improvise without risking those savings. You need to be careful. Mistakes lead to additional expenses that can result in spiraling costs. Yet, if you have the right skills, the economic upside is just the beginning. There’s a unique satisfaction in completing such a substantial home improvement with your own hands.

Interested? This guide provides some hands on tips for installing siding on your home.

Planning Your DIY Siding Installation

Embarking on a DIY siding project begins with a meticulous assessment. Allocate your time wisely, set a realistic budget, and critically appraise your DIY skills. Siding installation is intricate, requiring a certain level of dexterity and knowledge.

Here are a few things to consider during the project planning stage:

  • Home Structure Check: Experts inspect the home’s structure for damage and ensure it’s ready for new siding.
  • Material Durability: They choose materials that resist fading and damage, considering the home’s exposure to elements.
  • Climate Suitability: Professionals select siding that withstands local conditions, like salt air near the coast.
  • Building Codes: Experts are up-to-date with NJ codes, ensuring siding withstands weather demands and meets insulation standards.
  • Installation Know-How: They use specific techniques to allow for material expansion and proper sealing to prevent future issues.
  • Maintenance Advice: Pros provide tips on maintaining different siding types, like the flexibility of painting wood versus the low upkeep of vinyl.
  • Energy Efficiency: They recommend siding and insulation for the best energy efficiency, considering the home’s R-value needs.

You might overlook insights like these if this is your first job. At least that’s my experience as a siding contractor in New Jersey. If you’re confused by any part of this process, especially navigating local building codes, it’s worth turning to an expert for support.

Gathering Materials and Tools

Measuring your house right is key. Take the height and width of each wall, then multiply by the square footage. Remember to subtract the spaces for doors and windows. Pro tip: always order an extra 10% for waste—better safe than sorry.

Your tool lineup should include the basics: tape measure, level, utility knife, tin snips, and a fine-tooth power saw. You’ll no doubt have most of this equipment if you like DIY projects.


Ensure your space is optimized before starting the project. Clear the ground around your home and create a zone for your materials and tools. Keeping everything tidy and within reach is a pro move that pays off in time saved.

Finally, organize your siding by the order you’ll install it. Start from the bottom and go up. This approach prevents material damage and makes the job quicker.

Removing Old Siding and Preparing Walls

Removing old siding is step one. Start at the top and work your way down, prying the panels off carefully. Use a crowbar, but be gentle—you want to avoid damaging the walls underneath.

Once the old siding is off, inspect the walls. Look for damage or rot and repair as needed. This is your chance to tighten up your home’s envelope with new insulation or house wrap. It’s all about sealing out moisture and drafts.

For insulation, experts often use foam board for its high R-value and moisture resistance. Fit it snugly between the framing. Then, cover the walls with house wrap or felt paper for an extra layer of protection. Overlap the edges by at least six inches and secure it well.

Waterproofing is crucial, especially around windows and doors. Apply flashing tape to the sills and sides to keep water out. This step is a must-do for a dry and snug home.

Installing the New Siding

Installing new siding starts from the bottom. Begin with the starter strip, ensuring it’s level—this sets the stage for the rest of your siding. Secure it firmly, as it will bear the weight of the panels.

Panel alignment is next. Each one should click on the one below it. Check for level every few panels. It’s crucial for a professional finish. Use galvanized nails or screws, and don’t drive them in too tight—siding needs room to expand and contract with temperature changes.

For corners and edges, trim pieces are your friends. They give a clean, finished look and help with the panel alignment. Cut them to fit and attach them before the adjoining siding panels.

Referencing professional techniques is smart. An ascend composite siding contractor like myself will tell you: to always overlap seams by at least one inch to prevent water infiltration. And, stagger the seams from one row to the next to avoid a patterned look.

Remember, taking your time with each step is key. Rushing can lead to mistakes that are tough to hide once everything is in place.

Finishing Touches and Maintenance

Cutting and fitting siding around windows and doors requires precision. Measure twice, cut once is the golden rule. Use a fine-tooth saw for clean edges and always cut siding slightly larger to ensure a snug fit. Caulk the edges for a seamless look and to keep out moisture.

For a professional appearance, focus on the details. Trim capping, which is the metal or vinyl finishing applied to exposed wood trim, can provide a polished look and extra protection against the elements. Make sure all trim pieces and J channels are cut at a 45-degree angle to fit neatly at the corners.

Maintenance is straightforward but essential. Wash your siding annually with mild soap and water to keep it looking fresh. Inspect it regularly for any signs of damage or wear and address these issues promptly to prevent further deterioration.

Lastly, keep an eye on the caulking and sealant around windows and doors. Over time, it can shrink or crack. Reapplying caulk helps maintain the integrity of your siding installation.