How to Cut Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is quickly becoming a popular alternative siding material, despite several potential negatives.

Chief among its many benefits are its low cost, long lifespan, and lack of required maintenance.

Another benefit that has many homeowners opting for vinyl siding is its ease of installation. Most people have the skill it takes to install vinyl siding on their own without professional help.

When it comes to installing vinyl siding, one of the first and most important steps is cutting the material to size.

Here’s how to cut vinyl siding safely and accurately.

What You’ll Need

The best way how to cut vinyl siding is with a circular saw, but I’m also going to discuss a few alternative methods below.

Here’s what you’ll need for the circular saw method:

Step I: Prepare the Work Area

Take a few minutes to prepare a clean and sturdy work area before making any cuts.

Most important is a stable workbench that you can set each sheet of siding on.

During this time, you should also don the appropriate safety equipment (especially safety goggles) and install your fine-toothed blade onto the circular saw.

Step II: Measure and Mark

Measure the area where the cut siding will go.

Transfer these measurements to the vinyl siding by marking the cut line on the material.

I like to then use a carpenter’s square and a carpenter’s pencil to draw a line across the entire surface of where the cut will go.

Step III: Make the Cut

Place the sheet of vinyl siding onto the work table.

I prefer that the end where I’m cutting overhangs the table slightly. This enables the circular saw blade to cut completely through the thin material without damaging the table.

Depending on the specifics of your cut, it can be helpful to have a friend hold the overhanging edge of the material.

It’s typically best to cut from the backside of the material to prevent any visible damages from occurring.

Remember to move the circular saw slowly and gently through the vinyl siding without rushing.

Alternative I: Tin Snips

Don’t’ have a circular saw on hand?

A great alternative is to use a pair of tin snips to cut vinyl siding. Although it’s slightly more tedious, it’s still an effective option for smaller projects.

According to The Family Handyman, a pair of long-handled aviation tin snips is your best bet.

The long handles give you extra leverage and makes the overall process that much easier.

The process of actually making the cuts is much the same as above. Simply measure, mark, and then cut along the line.

Alternative II: Utility Knife

Some people prefer using a utility knife to cut vinyl siding instead of a circular saw or tin snips.

Like the tin snip method, it’s much slower than using a circular saw, so it’s typically best for smaller projects.

Once again, the method is mostly the same. You start by making accurate measurements, marking these on the material, and then making the cut.

To make the cut, run the utility knife over the vinyl siding material. Chances that it will only cut part of the way through.

However, because of the way that vinyl siding is constructed, you should be able to gently bend the sliced material until it snaps.

Why Choose Vinyl Siding?

If you’re still not set on vinyl siding as your siding material of choice, it might be helpful to review the benefits.

Chief among the benefits of vinyl siding is cost.

Not only is the material itself relatively inexpensive, but it doesn’t require expensive professional installation. You can actually cut and install vinyl siding by yourself with a few simple and inexpensive tools.

As outlined above, the three best tools for this project are a circular saw, tin snips, or utility knife. Even if you don’t own a circular saw of your own, you can typically rent this type of power tool from a home improvement store.

Additional benefits of vinyl siding include the durability and low maintenance. The material doesn’t fade over time and needs only a very small amount of care to maintain its condition.

Final Thoughts

Cutting vinyl siding might seem intimidating if you’ve never done it before.

After reading this guide, however, I’m confident that you’ll feel more than comfortable tackling the entirety of the installation process.

Learning how to cut vinyl siding is actually quite easy with just a little know-how and the right tools.

Once you’re done with your vinyl siding project, here are some top DIY projects for anyone to try at home!

About Gus Donaldson

I built houses for over 30 years and recently retired. I've made lots of mistakes and hopefully teach you not to make the same ones. I still love to build and have a garage workshop that I use for hobby projects like the walnut bookshelf I made for my wife. I like to write and let people know that working with your hands and tools does not need to be intimidating.

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