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How to Measure for Vinyl Siding: Why You Should Leave it to the Pros

Vinyl siding is known for being cost-effective and long lasting. When applied properly, it helps protect the rest of the shelter from the elements, requires very little maintenance, does not need to get repainted (ever), and improves the curb appeal if you’re looking to sell.

how to measure for vinyl siding

Though the installation of vinyl siding is fairly straightforward, it’s not a project that anyone can handle. It’s a good idea to have some personal experience in the past helping build homes or install siding in order to know how to apply it correctly.

If the siding is not properly installed it can get exposed to water damage and may begin to crack or warp.

Here is your guide to accurately measuring for vinyl siding.

Factor the Square Footage of the Home

Before you attach the first panel, you need to get an estimate and correctly order the materials. Since you don’t want to have an excessive amount that ends up being a waste of money, or order too little and have to go back through the wholesaler again – the estimate is extremely important.

First, you need to find the amount of materials you need by measuring the square footage. Vinyl siding is sold by the square, which is equivalent to 100 square feet of material.

So, if the square footage of your house is 2,000 square feet, you want to divide that number by 100. The answer would tell you that for a 2,000 square foot house you need approximately 20 squares of vinyl.

It’s a good idea to always purchase a little extra siding than what your calculations figure. Perhaps as much as 10 percent of the total order. Why? You will likely have a few missed cuts (if installing on your own), and having extra material later on down the road can help with repairs of panels that get damaged.

NOTE: In order to find the square footage of a house, measure the height and width of each wall of the building. Multiply each length and height to discover the square footage of the wall. Then add all the walls together for a total square footage.

How to Measure Gables at Your Home

measure vinyl siding

Does your home also have gables? It throws another monkey in the wrench. In order to calculate the siding needed for gables, measure the height and width of one then multiply that number by .75.

If the gable is hard to reach, try measuring the height of the siding profile, then multiply that number by the number of courses on the wall section.

NOTE: The dormers can get calculated with a similar equation: width x height by 1.5.

Order the Right Siding Types

Once you know the square footage and how many squares of vinyl siding you need, you can work on getting an estimate. Please note that in the above scenario, it was assumed that each wall was fully covered by siding.

The calculations get much more complex if you are resurfacing exterior walls with vinyl siding and other material, like for example stone on the lower third of the facade. In that case, your calculations will need to get much more precise in order to get the right amount of vinyl siding and materials.

The next step is to get an estimate for the siding based on the type you need. Yes, all of the siding is vinyl yet there are different types of siding based on its purpose:

  • J-Channel Trim: This is used to cover the exposed edges on the sides of vinyl siding. J-Channel is commonly used around windows and doors, as well as the top of the wall beneath the soffit. If your exterior has other materials like brick or stone, J-channel also butts up nicely where the two materials meet.
  • Starter Strips: These are used at the bottom of a wall to provide a good attachment as well as fur out the lower piece for an even, eye-pleasing look. The starter strip is generally applied around the entire perimeter of the structure.
  • Utility Trim: Also known as undersill trim, it’s installed on a horizontal surface to cover the exposed top-edge of the siding. It’s popular under window sills and the top of a wall where it meets the soffit.
  • Corner Trim: This is used, like the name implies, at corners in order to cover the outer edge of the siding. It also provides a way for the siding to meet at an inside corner for a finished, pleasing look.

Even though calculating the total number of squares you need for vinyl siding is straightforward, it gets complicated when you need to factor in how much of each type of vinyl siding you need to install the product correctly.

Ordering Other Materials

The project (if self-installed) requires more materials than just the siding. In order to complete the task effectively, you will need:

  • Wrap installed around the infrastructure before you begin putting on any paneling. There is also a special tape available for homes that seals the structure in order to help improve the lifespan of the product.
  • Plenty of galvanized nails (approximately ⅔ of a pound per square of siding). Builders recommend spacing nails every 12 inches, or by following the manufacturer’s specific instructions. Always buy galvanized nails for your siding because you don’t want them to rust.

Cost of Vinyl Siding

Once you have the correct dimensions, amount needed of each siding type, and other building materials — it is time to get an estimate. The cost of vinyl siding will vary depending on style, color, quality, thickness, and whether or not the product is insulated.

Unless you have experience dealing with siding and home construction in the past, it’s better to hire a professional to make sure the new vinyl gets put on correctly.

While DIY projects are rewarding, some are best left in the hands of professionals that understand how to correctly install all the different types, and avoid you from over/under estimating the amount of materials.

That’s why so many homeowners across the Midwest trust Feldco for their vinyl siding replacement needs. Our measure techs and installers are factory trained and certified to get the job done correctly and efficiently the first time.

Join the over 400,000 homeowners and get a free quote now if you need new siding for your home.

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