Vinyl siding is a popular, economical building material. It is comprised of a series of channels and panels that fit and lock together to form a cohesive membrane around the exterior of your house. J-channels are one specific component of vinyl siding. The j-channels are installed vertically along the inside and outside corners of the house, around window and door frames, and along sloped eaves. After the channels have been installed, the vinyl siding panels are loosely fitted into the j-channels; this facilitates the expansion inherent to vinyl.
Installing Vinyl Siding
Use a tape measure and level to determine the low point of the house. From this point, measure up the distance specified by the siding manufacturer and snap a chalk line to indicate your starting point.
Install aluminum starter strip all the way around the house along your chalked baseline. Nail the starter strip to the house every 16 inches, using corrosion resistant nails.
Fasten your j-channel to the inside and outside corners of the house, around the sides and tops of the windows and doorframes, and along sloped eaves. Nail the j-channel through prefabricated nail slots, leaving 1/32 to 1/16 inch of the nail shafts exposed. This will allow the vinyl to expand in high heat. Leave ¼ inch between vinyl pieces where they meet.
Fasten utility trim along the underside of windows and along horizontal eaves.
Install your first course of siding panels. Use tin snips to cut the panels to the correct length. Fit the base of the first row into the aluminum starter strip; fit the ends into the affixed j-channels. Where two panels intersect, overlap them by four inches. Leave ¼ inch between the end of a panel and the back of the j-channel. Nail the vinyl siding panels every 16 inches through prefabricated nail slots along the top edge. Use corrosion resistant nails and leave 1/32 to 1/16 inch of the nail shafts exposed.
Check your level every 3rd or 4th siding row. If you begin to lose your level, make minor adjustments over several rows, as opposed to one single, major fix.
Trim the panel to fit around the windows and doors. Use tin snips to cut the panels vertically and a utility knife to slice them lengthwise.
Use a snap lock tool to punch lugs into the top edges of the panels. Punch lugs every 16 inches where the top edge of the panels fit into the utility trim along the underside of the windows. Snap the punched edges into the utility trim.
Punch lugs into the top edge of the panels that will fit into utility trim along the horizontal eaves. Use your tin snips to cut a panel to the appropriate length and angle so that it fits into the j-channel along sloped eaves.