Looking for a handy guide on how to remove and replace vinyl siding? You’ve landed on the right page! This type of siding provides years of protection, durability, and beauty to homes across the world. At some point, however, there may come a time for a facelift. With a few simple tools, a little know-how, and some free time, you can take on the project yourself!

How to Remove Vinyl Siding

Dealing with cracks, warping, or buckling on your siding? Sounds like it’s time to freshen up things. After years of exposure to the elements – cold winters, hot summers, wind, storms, impact from fallen tree branches, the list goes on – there comes a time when your vinyl siding will reach the end of the line. If you’re in need of a new exterior and want to save money, going the DIY route might be super beneficial.

Whether it’s a small section or your entire house, removing vinyl siding is a fairly easy proposition. Here are the 5 steps on how to remove vinyl siding.

1. Purchase a Zip Tool

First, let’s get acquainted with the nature of vinyl siding. It utilizes a strip and lip design. The lip is on top (nailed to the wall) and the lip is at the bottom of the strip (interlocking with the strip below it). Vinyl strips typically come in 12-foot lengths. The initial part of this process involves unlocking the strips from one another. Focusing on one strip at a time, you’ll want to use something called a zip tool (aka vinyl siding removal tool). This is a cheap item that can be sourced at your local hardware or home improvement store. It makes easy work of it!

2. Work from the Top Down

Next, you’ll want to start from the uppermost section of your home. This can be done either with the use of a ladder or scaffolding. If you use a ladder, make sure to prop it against an upper corner of the exterior. This will help to secure it in place. With the zip tool, begin on one end of the uppermost siding panel. Push the tool under the lower part until it hooks and locks into the lip behind the panel. You’ll feel it lock into place.

3. Unzip the Panel

Once locked in, pull-down and slide the zip tool along the length of the panel. The key is to run it from end to end in one direction. Try not to go beyond your reach. Scaffolding provides easier access to long runs, but if you end up using a ladder, you can climb down and reposition as you go along the panel. Once you’ve unzipped the panel, the nails will then be exposed on the lip.

4. Pry the Nails Out

Now, you’ll want to take the claw portion of a hammer (the backside) to pry out the nails on the lip section of the siding. It might be tempting to remove the nails on the uppermost panel first – they will be already exposed – but refrain from doing so. Always unzip a panel first and then remove nails. Any nails that are difficult to pull out with a hammer can be eased out with the use of pincer pliers. Other than that, it’s a pretty straightforward affair.

5. Remove the Panel, Then Repeat

Finally, once you’ve removed all the nails from the siding panel, pull down and out to remove the piece. Repeat Steps 3-5, working your way down to the bottom. Removing a lot of siding? Consider how you’ll dispose of the panels. Renting a dumpster might be the best option, especially for a big house. If you’re just removing a few panels, no need to be concerned about disposal.

How to Replace Vinyl Siding

Okay, so now that we’ve gotten removal out of the way, time to finish this facelift! Revitalizing your old vinyl siding is a fantastic way to instantly boost your home’s curb appeal. Whether you’re looking to sell or stay at your place for many more years to come, replacing the vinyl siding will certainly brighten things up.

Now, there are two scenarios: you either need to replace a portion of the panels or all the siding on your home. You might need to just repair a small section that’s been damaged or worn down or you may want to revamp it all. In any case, you’ll need a few tools. The essentials are a hammer, utility knife, ladder (or scaffolding, which can be rented), roofing nails, zip tool, measuring tape, and siding panels. A framing square and aviation snips might also come in handy, particularly if you’re repairing a section.

Another tip: try to source your new vinyl siding from the same manufacturer (and if desired, same color). It’s important to also note that if you choose to go with a different color, it’s best to select a shade that is similar or lighter than the original siding. Darker colors tend to warp and discolor faster due to heat and other factors.

Here are the steps to replacing vinyl siding:

1. Work from the Bottom Up

Begin with the lowest section. This will allow you to lock in the lower lip and then nail it down.

2. Measure and Cut

Measure length needed. Then, using a square and utility knife, cut the siding panel. Always measure twice, cut once. 

3. Nail in the First Piece 

For the first piece, you’ll want to drive nails through the upper nail flange. Then, once you’ve installed the first row, you can prepare the next siding section.

4. Slide in the Next Piece and Nail Down

Slide the next row of siding into place. Push into the already installed siding panel until it locks into place. Then, drive in nails. Remember to drive nails in the center of the slot and leave approximately 1/32 inch of space. This will allow the siding to move freely. Otherwise, if you nail too tightly, the siding could buckle once it gets hot enough from the sun.

5. Lock Into Place

Use the zip tool to lock it into place. Slide along the bottom edge to lock into place below it. Use your free hand to push against vinyl siding to help it snap in place.

6. Repeat Steps 2-5

Set up ladder or scaffolding for high points and repeat Steps 1-4. Make sure to practice safety at all times. Whichever you use, ensure that it is level and planted securely.


Not looking forward to replacing your own vinyl siding? Need a pro to get the job done quickly & affordably? CLAD Siding is here to help! Click here to find a licensed, insured, and reputable siding contractor in your area!