You can replace damaged panels of vinyl siding if you have a few basic tools on hand. The primary challenge with how to fix missing siding panels is finding new panels that match the existing siding. If you are lucky, you have some leftover pieces from the original installation. Otherwise, you need to shop around for the best match that you can find.
Vinyl Siding Repair Tip
Ideally, you will work on how to fix missing siding panels when temperatures are above 50 degrees. Colder temperatures make vinyl siding brittle and prone to cracking.
How to Fix Missing Siding Panels Step by Step
- Identify all areas of damage and determine how much panel needs to be removed. You can cut out a damaged part instead of removing a whole panel if you wish.
- Start with the siding removal tool to unlock the broken panel from the panels above and below it.
- Slide the small curved lip of the removal tool into the groove where the panels lock together. Sometimes it helps to start at the edge of the panel to get the tool into the crevice.
- Once you hook the tool onto the siding pull upward. This will lift the panel off the ridge that it was attached to.
- Continue working your way down the interlocking ridges to pull them apart.
- Once you have exposed the nailing flange of the panel you want to remove, unlock the bottom of the panel.
- With the damaged panel unlocked above and below, cut away the damaged area. Alternatively, you could take out the whole panel instead of cutting it.
- Use tin snips to make vertical cuts on both ends of the damaged area.
- Pry out the nails holding the damaged panel in place.
- Measure the gap where you removed the damage and add 3 inches to the length. This gives you 1.5 inches to overlap the existing panels on each end.
- Strive to make straight cuts on your replacement panel. Straight cuts ensure that it will look good once installed.
- Place a layout square where you need a cut and score it with a utility knife.
- Working on an old board, push harder with the utility knife to cut through the siding.
- Position the new panel so that it overlaps the siding on both ends.
- Lock the ridges of the new panel into the panel below it.
- Use galvanized nails with heads 5/16 inches in diameter.
- Drive nails into the center of the nailing holes.
- Do NOT pound the nail head tight against the siding. Leave a small gap that allows the siding to slide back on forth on the nail. This is vital so that the siding can expand and contract with temperature changes. Tight nailing will result in wavy or bulging siding.
- Place nails about every 12 inches along the nailing flange.
- Lock the top panel into the replacement panel after nailing is complete.