Whether for wood, metal or vinyl siding, the devices used to attach them to a home are called fasteners. There are screws and nails which are both types of fasteners. Which type of fastener is best for attaching vinyl is obvious once you realize the properties of the material and the methods of driving screws as opposed to driving nails.
Screws are the obvious choice for many reasons.
– Vinyl can split or crack, especially in cold temperatures and if subject to a swinging hammer or powerful nail gun the impact to the surface could destroy it. Even if the installer were very careful.
– The speed, precision and accuracy of a power screw driver with adjustable torque is far superior to a hand held hammer and even a nail gun.
– The penetration of a screw is more precise than a nail and if a mistake is made in the depth of the penetration, one or two turns in the opposite direction and the problem is corrected. If a nail should be driven too far, backing it out is virtually impossible.
– The height of a screw head can be controlled. The panel needs to slide underneath the fasteners as it expends and contracts. Nail depths cannot be controlled.
– Nails are generally made of steel that can rust and corrode causing loss of integrity and staining of the installed product. Screws used for vinyl can be corrosion proof stainless steel or another corrosion proof material.
A few of the vinyl fasteners that are recommended are also the same as those used for aluminum siding. Some good choices are those that have a penetration of at least 3/4 of an inch and have a head diameter of 5/16 of an inch. They should also have a flat head bottom surface for proper torque and less binding. Some screws that are recommended by installers are #8 zinc round washer head screws and #8 pan head stainless steel screws. These are readily available in any hardware department of any home center or the local hardware of building supply store.
It is recommended when installing vinyl or aluminum panels with screws to start in the middle of the panel, centering the screw in the slot and working toward each end in both directions. Proper spacing between the material being installed and the head of the screw can be achieved by taking a scrap of siding and cutting a notch or V in the end. By slipping this under the screw head when driving it, and then removing it, will cause an even spacing between the fastener head and the vinyl that will be uniform from one to the other. This will give the finished project some breathing room.
Vinyl siding is available in a very wide variety of style and colors and when quality siding is properly installed it can add both lasting beauty and value to any home. Insulated vinyl siding can also reduce heating and cooling costs drastically. It is best to leave the installation of any home improvement products to a licensed home improvement specialist.