How To Cut Exterior Vinyl Siding (Quickly & Easily!)


How to Cut Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding has become a popular alternative when it comes to siding material. For one, it is much cheaper than some of the other materials on the market. For two, it has a lot longer lifespan. Finally, it requires little maintenance or upkeep.

Cutting vinyl siding properly is of the utmost importance. To cut vinyl siding, first choose your tool – circular saw, tin snips, or a utility knife. When you have your tool, it is simply about preparing the work area, measuring and marking, and making the cut. It takes patience and care, but the process is relatively simple from start to finish.

How To Cut Vinyl Siding Angles and Straight LInes

Step 1: Gather the Proper Tools

There are three different tools that one can use to cut vinyl siding. For this guide, we will use a circular saw. In addition to the circular saw, the job will require a handful of other items in order to make proper cuts.

Have a fine-tooth saw blade to make precise cuts without the choppiness of some other blades. Have a tape measurer, carpenter’s square, and carpenter’s pencil. These tools will help you to make precise marks, leading to a cleaner, more accurate cut.

Step 2: Preparing the Work Area

Preparation is key in any job. Take the time to get your work area ready for making even the quickest and smallest of cuts. Start by cleaning up the area to ensure that no dust or debris will potentially interfere with the cut in any way.

Also, it is important to find a stable surface to work off of. A sturdy workbench should do the trick. If you don’t have one, find or create a stable surface where you can comfortably make the cut without worrying about the table moving.

Safety equipment is a must. Finally, make sure that you have proper safety equipment. Remember, these are powerful tools that you are dealing with. Treat them with care and respect because one false move could be a whole world of trouble. Use safety goggles to protect your eyes and make sure that you make use of the blade guard while cutting where applicable.

Step 3: Make Your Measurements and Mark

The cut is important, but it may be the least important thing after safety and measurements. After all, without the proper measurements, your cuts can look completely wrong. Even worse, improper cuts may lead to an improper fit when lined up next to other pieces of vinyl siding.

Measure the area where you plan to put the cut siding. Do so twice to be certain. Transfer over your measurements to the vinyl siding, marking your cut line directly onto the material.

Carpenter’s square. In order to get the straightest line for cutting possible, this is where the carpenter’s square will come in handy. Use the square and your pencil to draw out your line. Having a clear, concise line means getting a smoother possible cut. Take your time and ensure that both the measurements and line are as clear and clean as possible.

Step 4: Making the Cut

With our area prepped, measurements taken, and a line drawn, there is only one thing left to do. Again, ensure that your workspace is as stable as possible. A work table is the best choice here, but any stable, flat surface will work fine.

Allow for overhang. It is advisable that you let the end that you are cutting hang slightly over the edge of the table. Allowing for overhang means that the circular saw can completely cut through the thin siding material without doing any damage to the table.

Get help where possible. If at all possible, having a helping hand is advised. The friend can hold the overhanging portion of the material to create increased stability as you cut. This all depends on the specifics of your individual cut.

Cutting tips. When you are making your cut, it is generally best to do so from the backside of the material. Cutting from the backside helps to prevent visible damages to the material. When making the cut, be sure to move the saw gently and slowly without trying to rush. Rushing can cause snagging in the material and create an uneven cut. Move slowly to keep the cut as clean as possible all the way through.

What Alternatives to a Circular Saw Can Be Used for Cutting?

Having a circular saw on hand is ideal as it makes for a quick, clean cut. That said, they can be a bit pricey and you may not have one in your available tool cache. If you don’t have a circular saw, don’t fret. There are a pair of tools in particular that should work just fine.

Alternative 1. Tin Snips.

Using tin snips may be more tedious than using a circular saw but they can be picked up for a fraction of the price of a circular saw. For those new to the do-it-yourself world, it takes time to accrue the proper tools.

Long-handled tin snips tend to work best when it comes to cutting vinyl siding. Best of all, the process is basically the same. Get your measurements, make your mark, and then cut. The cuts may take a little bit longer but should be every bit as clean as they would be with a circular saw.

Alternative 2. Utility Knife.

Though it is as simple as tin snips, using a utility knife takes a little more patience and a steady hand. Follow the same path as outlined above: make your measurements and draw the cutting lines beforehand.

When it comes time to cut, run the blade gently but firmly over the vinyl. Though it can depend on material, the first cut should only reach partway through the vinyl siding. The good news is that vinyl siding can be gently bent. Doing so should snap it off at the cut.

Why Select Vinyl Siding?

Cutting vinyl siding is a relatively easy process. Still, there are plenty of other questions that you may have about this kind of material before implementing it on your home. The more information that you have, the more informed your choice will be when it comes time to pick a siding material.

There are a ton of reasons why vinyl siding is becoming a more popular option. Durability, cost-effectiveness, and lower care and maintenance are just a few of those reasons. This section will cover all of the pros and cons of vinyl siding, allowing you to make a more informed decision on siding material.

The Negatives of Vinyl Siding

Before we look at the upside to implementing vinyl siding, it is important to know the other side. There are downsides to choosing vinyl siding despite its rising popularity. Know both sides of the equation before making your choice.

Improper installation issues

Vinyl siding is relatively easy to install. That said, it certainly isn’t foolproof, either. Performing an ineffective installation can have a lot of long-term negative side effects. Nailing the siding too tightly, for instance, can lead to bulging, cracking, warping, or expansion. Moreover, a faulty installation can potentially void any existing construction warranty on the home. Do your homework before attempting a DIY installation.

Vinyl siding can lower home value

Vinyl siding can potentially save money on maintenance and repair costs over its lifespan. That said, it can also potentially lower the value of your home. Some buyers even see vinyl as being “inferior”, potentially lowering offers when it comes time to sell.

Potential moisture issues

The purpose of other siding materials is to keep moisture from permeating the rest of the home. Since vinyl siding is applied over top of the insulation board, water can become trapped within those cavities. Any additional moisture trapped in the structure can lead to mold, termites, and even rot. Be aware before installing the siding.

The Benefits of Vinyl Siding

With the negatives out of the way, let’s look at the many positives to going with vinyl siding. There are a few that we don’t have room to cover here, but rest assured, there are plenty of reasons why going with vinyl siding can be a smart choice.

Great Durability

One of the biggest reasons that vinyl siding is so popular is that it is low maintenance. Moreover, its durability makes it one of the most cost-effective options on the market today.

Vinyl siding was created to hold up against the elements like hail and heavy win. It also has inherent moisture-resistant qualities to it, helping to prevent corrosion and rotting in the exterior portion of the home.

Even better, vinyl siding does not rust or warp. Depending on where you purchase the siding, it may even come with a lifetime warranty, further backing up the quality of vinyl siding.

Cost-Effective

Homeowners also choose vinyl siding because it tends to be one of the most cost-effective options out there. Much as we would all like expensive, high-end materials, budgets exist for a reason. And when it comes to the exterior of the home, costs can rise rapidly.

Vinyl is a more cost-effective solution than brick or wood. The installation is also cheaper while delivering a greater long-term return than most other materials. Consider this: for every 1,250 square feet, vinyl siding may be able to save you well over $1,000.

Those savings also add up in terms of repairs and maintenance. Since it requires little maintenance and repair, those are savings that can be felt over the life of the vinyl siding.

Heating and Cooling Savings

If vinyl siding weren’t already cost effective, it can also help to save on your monthly utilities. Insulated vinyl siding can help prevent heat loss through thermal bridging. Keep in mind that applying vinyl siding without insulation, even if you have another type of insulation, can result in heat loss around the studs that come in contact with the exterior siding.

Vinyl siding with insulation not only means keeping in during the winter but keeping the home cooler in the summer. All of this means that your HVAC system is doing less work than normal, keeping your heating and cooling costs down.

Vinyl siding can potentially save you money in many ways over its lifespan. Despite concerns about curb appeal, a properly installed siding could do wonders when it comes to saving money. Not only that, even the most limited of do-it-yourself types can perform the installation. Those reasons and many more are why it remains such a popular option for home siding materials.

Ryan Womeldorf

Ryan Womeldorf has more than a decade of experience writing. He loves to blog about construction, plumbing, and other home topics. Ryan also loves hockey and a lifelong Buffalo sports fan.

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