Contractor installing vinyl siding and soffit on a home

Vinyl Siding Installation: What you need to know

Why do many contractors choose vinyl siding? Well, not only is vinyl siding attractive, but it is also durable, easy to clean/maintain and very cost-effective. It is practically fire resistant and never rots or corrodes. AND it’s environmentally friendly (and we all want to be GREEN, right?). It is mainly derived from salt, which is a very abundant and inexpensive resource. Vinyl products also consume less energy, generate fewer emissions, and save way more energy than other siding products.

Now that you know the benefits of vinyl siding, let’s cover some common terms that might be helpful to know when talking to homeowners and adjusters.


  1. Drip Cap/Head Flashing – this is an accessory installed to ensure water drips away from panels. This is usually a code requirement and is found over openings such as windows and doors.
  2. Backerboard – this is a flat material applied between the studs and the siding OR over an existing wall to provide an even surface for siding to be installed.
  3. Face – this is the side of a siding panel that is showing once installed (so face-nailing is nailing directly into this side and is a no-no)
  4. Furring strips – a thin flat material (usually wood) that is used to even out a surface in prep for siding installation
  5. Channel – the area of the accessory trim or corner post where siding or soffit is inserted. Channels can also refer to the trim itself and is named based on the shape they resemble (j-channel, f-channel, etc.)
  6. Weep Holes – openings cut in the siding that allows for water to run off
  7. Lap – to overlap the siding ends of 2 panels so that both panels can expand and contract with the weather conditions without leaving a gap
  8. Buttlock – the bottom edge of the siding or soffit panel opposite the nailing slots. This edge locks into the preceding panel
  9. Flange/Nail Hem – the section on the siding where the nailing slots are located

Interested in learning more? Check out Mastic University or get certified by the Vinyl Siding Institute and become an expert!

1 thought on “Vinyl Siding Installation: What you need to know”

  1. Thank you for explaining that vinyl siding is practically fire resistant. I’ve been wondering what kind of siding might work best for my friend who lives in an area prone to fires. I’ll share this with her so she can consider installing it on her home.

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