Few materials offer the same range of advantages as vinyl siding for protecting the outside of your home. Vinyl boasts an unparalleled combination of low cost, high durability, and aesthetic versatility. Yet getting the most from vinyl siding requires that it be installed according to fairly strict conventions.
One of the most important - and overlooked - aspects of vinyl siding installation has to do with the nails used to hold it in place. If you would like to expand your knowledge of what it means to install vinyl siding correctly, read on. This article will outline three factors an installer must weigh when choosing and installing vinyl siding nails.
1. Nail Material
Material should always be the first consideration when picking out vinyl siding nails. Those who make the mistake of choosing steel or other corrosion-prone nails often deal with siding that sags, becomes discolored, or simply falls off. To protect against rust, limit your search to aluminum, galvanized steel, or stainless steel.
Stainless steel nails offer the best protection against corrosion but will be the most expensive. Aluminum nails offer comparable protection against rust while also boasting a much lower price point. Yet aluminum doesn't offer as much structural stability, meaning aluminum nails may become bent as time goes on.
For many contractors, galvanized nails represent the perfect balance of price, durability, and corrosionresistance. The zinc that coats the exterior of a galvanized nail should adequately protect it from corrosion for years to come. Meanwhile, the steel core will ensure that the nail remains straight and strong beneath the weight of your siding.
2. Nail Dimensions
Many people run into problems because they select nails with dimensions inappropriate for use in vinyl siding. Three key criteria must be considered: the nail's length, its shank diameter, and the diameter of the head. People who use nails that aren't long enough frequently have to reattach siding that's come loose.
A proper nail for attaching vinyl siding should be long enough that the shank penetrates at least 3/4" into the material of your wall. Even a long nail may come loose if it is too thin, so select a nail with a shank diameter of at least 1/8". Finally, because of the important role a nail's head plays in attaching it securely, opt for a nail with a head diameter no less than 3/8".
3. Nail Depth
Amateurs and inexperienced contractors often make a big mistake when nailing vinyl siding: driving the nails too close to the wall. If the nail pinches too tightly against the siding, the siding won't have the freedom it needs to respond to changes in temperature. Vinyl expands and contracts in response to environmental changes.
As the vinyl heats up during the sunny hours of the day, the vinyl naturally expands. But if your nails hold it too tightly, the vinyl will struggle to expand the way it wants. As a result, the siding will bulge and buckle in visually unappealing ways. Such warping can also cause permanent damage to your siding.
For this reason, those who install vinyl siding must be careful to leave a slight gap between the head of the hail and the siding. This gap will allow the siding to slide forward and back along the nail's shank as it expands and contracts, rather than being held tightly in place. As long as your siding can change shape freely, it will continue to provide excellent protection for many years to come.
For more information about the crucial role that nails play when installing vinyl siding or for help with construction, contact the pros at BNN Construction.