How to Install Aluminum Siding

Wondering how to install aluminum siding? With a little patience, the right tools and some diligent measuring and cutting, installing aluminum siding is a project that most do-it-yourselfers can tackle with confidence.

Specifics vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
As a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors, some aluminum siding manufacturers design specific systems that are "easier to install" and involve installation processes that apply only to their product. If you're using one of these systems, you'll want to consult the manufacturer's documentation for specific instructions.

You'll need help to install aluminum siding.
While installing aluminum siding is something that you can do yourself, if you have the time and patience, you do need help to complete the installation. Installing siding is at least a two-man job. You'll need someone else to help you hold the pieces, line them up properly and handle the measuring. Don't commit to an aluminum siding project without an extra set of hands to help you.

Prep the wall.
Before you begin installing the siding, you must clean and prep the surface. Remove any old paint or debris, caulking or putty. Hammer any loose nails inside the wall.  Fill up any depressions so you're working with a flat, even surface. You'll also want to put up a backing (typically foamboard) to provide an appropriate surface and attach the siding.

Hang a starter strip.
The starter strip is the bottom strip of siding, and you should chalk a line at least eight inches above the ground for the beginning of the installation. When you hang the starter strip, align the base trim along your chalk line. Leave roughly 1/8 inch for expansion as you cut and hang the pieces.

Make sure you use only aluminum nails, and don't drive the nails flush with the wall; leave them slightly loose, so the siding is hanging from the nails. If you drive the nails in too tightly, the siding won't be able to expand and contract with temperature changes, and you could have damage later.

Hang the panels around doors, windows and elevations.
Before you can hang siding around doors and windows, make sure you caulk around the openings to ensure the area is sealed against moisture and water. Then, hang the siding along the top, bottom and sides of doors, windows and elevation changes. If you're using a system with J-channel trim or base trim, install this trim around the openings or edges.

Hang the siding.
Once you've trimmed the windows and doors and hung siding around the elevation changes, you're ready to start hanging the rest of the siding. Start with the panel just above the starter strip, and leave 1/8 inch for expansion. When you overlap panels, make sure you overlap by at least an inch, and cut off 1 ½ inches of the nailing flange to make room for expansion at the end of the panel that's overlapping. Stagger the joints for maximum stability. When you're finished hanging the siding, attach the corner pieces and any other trim pieces that remain. 

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