Trimwork and Layout Tips for Vinyl Siding Installation

January 29, 2020


Use real trim stock and give some thought to the layout—it will improve the look of your job 100 percent


Vinyl siding is an affordable and low-maintenance first-line of protection against the weather. It gets a bad wrap because of J-channel, but with a little thought, you can make it look great.


Detail 1: Ditch the J-channel

One step above off-the-shelf J-channel is to bend wide casings on a metal brake, but better yet is to step up to wide trim stock with the edges rabbeted to accept the vinyl. This gives room for expansion at windows, doors, and corners. 

It also looks dope.


Detail 2: Align siding with window trim

At the bottom of the wall, a water table can help kick rain away from the foundation. It should be located according to the size of the siding courses. 

Begin at the windows. Siding that is aligned with the bottoms and tops of windows is faster to install and looks better. Count your way down to benchmark where the starter strip will go. Snap a line around the house signifying the top of the strip, and then put the strip on the line and nail it.


Detail 3: Make the starter strip into a kickout flashing

If you seal the top of the starter strip, then you can tuck flashing behind it later to protect the trim and kick water out from the wall. Always use a roller to mash the tape down. Many of them are pressure-sensitive.

Now, you can run the first course of vinyl, nailing it according to the manufacturer’s specs. Tuck the water table flashing under the starter strip, and install the mudboard. Now you can roll your way up the wall.

At the top, you can use a frieze board and head casing to adjust for course width, or to fill the space.


—These details were harvested from Professional Remodeler's 2017 Model Remodel project in Woodbury, CT—as seen on the Model Remodel Show starring Ben Bogie.