Vinyl and aluminum siding: a repair and care guide

August 14, 2015

If you want an exterior surface that's tough, attractive and affordable for your home, go for vinyl or aluminum siding. It's also easy to repair and maintain. Here are some handy tips and a practical guide.

  • Shallow cracks in vinyl siding are easily repaired. Gently lever up one side of the crack with a toothpick, apply some copolymer adhesive and then press the crack closed.
  • To fix vinyl siding with deeper cracks in it, remove the damaged section and glue a piece of scrap siding to the rear. Prepare the area with PVC cleaner, apply PVC cement and press the patch in, finished side down.
  • For a subtle repair, replace damaged siding with a patch of weathered siding cut from an inconspicuous spot around the back of the house. Use brand-new siding to fill the gap.
  • You can cover up small scratches on aluminum siding using a dab of acrylic paint. Sand the scratched area gently with fine steel wool first and prime with an oil-based metal primer before applying a finishing coat of paint.
  • For smooth edges when trimming vinyl with tin or aviation snips, cut with the first two-thirds of the blades only. Closing the snips fully will produce ragged edges.
  • It is possible to refresh vinyl siding with a coat of paint. Sand it lightly first to improve paint adhesion, and use an acrylic paint with a high solids content.
  • When painting vinyl siding, choose a colour that is at least as light as the original, if not lighter. Darker shades absorb more heat, which can cause the siding to overheat and warp.
  • The natural self-cleaning action of the finish on your aluminum siding is what causes a powdery white residue, called "chalking," on this kind of siding. Rain will wash the chalking away eventually, but to get rid of it sooner rub your siding with a soft rag and a solution of 80 millilitres (2.7 ounces) of dishwashing soap in 4 litres (1 gallon) of water.
  • Use liquid car wax to give areas of dull aluminum a sheen (but only after your warranty on them has expired). First, wash the siding with a mild solution of dishwashing soap and water, then rinse off. When your siding is completely dry, apply the car wax with a damp sponge, then use a soft cloth to polish it to a gloss.
Vinyl and aluminum siding: a repair and care guide

Raising a dent

What you will need

  • Drill
  • Sheet-metal screws with flat washers
  • Pliers
  • Two-part car body filler and plastic spreading tool
  • Fine abrasive paper
  • Oil-based metal primer
  • Acrylic paint and paintbrush

1. Drill into the dents

  • When repairing large dents, the first step is to pull the siding back into place.
  • This will make the dents as shallow as possible.
  • Drill 3 millimetre (1/8 inch) holes into the deepest parts of the dent to start.

2. Raise the siding

  • Next, insert sheet-metal screws into the drilled holes.
  • Take your pliers and, gripping the heads, gently pull the screws outwards.
  • Doing this will raise the dented areas. Remove the screws.

3. Fill the dents

  • Patch the dent with two-part car body filler and level it off with your plastic spreader.
  • Let your patch harden.
  • Once the putty's set, sand the patch and apply an oil-based metal primer before finishing with two coats of good acrylic paint.

To keep your aluminum or vinyl siding sturdy and beautiful, follow these handy tips and practical guide on what you can do to fix it.

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