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How to Cut Aluminum Siding

How to Cut Aluminum Siding
When it comes to increasing the overall value of your home without spending a good amount of money, a great idea is to install aluminum siding on your home exteriors. Indeed, there are lots of benefits that come with aluminum siding and it is definitely a great siding option to enhance the curb appeal of your home.
But the best thing about the aluminum siding is that you can actually choose to install it on your own, without the need to hire a professional siding installer. So if you are among the homeowners who would prefer to do task on your own, then you can choose to install the aluminum siding of your home all by yourself.

But perhaps, one of the things that you want to know when it comes to installing the aluminum siding is how to cut it. On this article you will learn more about aluminum siding and the steps on how to go about cutting it in order to be installed on your home.

Benefits of Aluminum Siding

Before you go on with cutting and installing the aluminum siding, you may want to first find out the reasons why lots of homeowners would prefer the aluminum siding as compared to other materials for your home siding. So here are the benefits of choosing aluminum siding:

  • Durability

One of the biggest benefits of aluminum siding is that it is very durable. For as long as you maintain this siding material well, it could last for up to a decade without any major flaws. If there are any issues or problems that you might encounter when you install the aluminum siding, this can be addressed easily.

Unlike other siding options, aluminum is truly very versatile and it comes in a wide variety of prefabricated colors and can even be painted in your own preferences. This siding material is truly made to last, and is certainly a great option for your home siding.

  • Low Cost

The best thing about the aluminum siding is that it is generally cheaper as compared to other types of siding materials out there. As a matter of fact, it is about 50 to 75 percent cheaper than other siding materials that you can find in the market these days. And if you learn how to cut it and install it on your own, then you will be able to save even more. So if you want to improve the looks of your home in order to increase its value and you have no means to spend for a major renovation, then getting an aluminum siding installed would be a great decision.

  • Customizable

Another great benefit of aluminum siding is that it is fully customizable. You can choose to update it, replace the sections, paint it and then remove it in the future if you want to. Moreover, the aluminum siding is easy to clean up and maintain. Customizations of the siding material can be interesting especially since there are lots of options for you to choose from and you will surely be able to find something that is in the exact visual aesthetic that you are looking for.

Cutting the Aluminum Siding

So now that you know the many benefits of the aluminum siding, you should be all set to learn the steps on how to cut aluminum siding so you can proceed with the installation. As stated, aluminum siding is a great choice for your home siding as it provides a permanent weatherproof exterior and it also comes in a wide variety if prefinished colors. Although it is very versatile, the aluminum siding might be a bit difficult to cut, except if you have the proper tools and that you know some basic techniques when it comes to do it yourself home improvement projects. But with a little bit of patience and some practice, you will end up making smooth and accurate cut of aluminum siding for your home.

  • Prepare the things you need. Just like with any home improvement job, you have to start by preparing the things that you will need for such project. Most of the things can be easily acquired at a hardware store or on any home improvement store in your area so you will not have a hard time on this. The things that you will need are radial arm saw, nigglers, chop saw, leather gloves, panel blade for saws, safety goggles and color coded tin snips, in red and green.
  • As you can see, some of the tools needed are for your safety such as the safety goggles and the leather gloves. Do not ever start with your work if you do not have these things ready. As you know, the job itself would require cutting and thus you will be using some sharp tools and materials and these can be dangerous if you do not have the proper safety tools.
  • The first step is to make cuts right across the contours of the aluminum siding using the radial arm saw or perhaps, a chop saw that is fitted with a panel blade. The panel blade is a kind of blade that has very fine tooth and therefore, it allows for smoother cuts on the aluminum siding without having to snag or tear off the aluminum material.
  • Next, you need to install the panel plane backward with the use of a power saw if you are experiencing snags with the panel blade. This is often a common builder’s trick and it certainly works since the teeth on the blade of the saw are cutting out from the smooth side instead of on the jagged side.
  • Make use of a straight tin snip in cutting on the width of the aluminum siding material. On those areas below the doors, eaves and windows, you may need to cut the siding in a horizontal manner so as to fit it within a smaller space. Cut off the top edge of the siding so that the bottom feature strip will appear uniform and will match with the other rows of the siding.
  • The next step is to cut with the use of red handled tin snips if you are using your right hand and that you want a portion of the aluminum on the left of the tin snip to rise. Do the opposite with the green tin snips if you want the right portion of the aluminum to rise. It will take some time in getting used to when alternating your hands in cutting, however, as soon as you get the hang of it, everything will turn out just fine.
  • Try using the niggler in cutting the log straight sections in a horizontal manner. The niggler is a type of hand tool which vibrates in two small blades up and down in high speed and will allow you to cut in a straight line to a flat stock siding. The nigglers will not cut through the contours of the siding. For these cuts, make use of tin snips or power saws.
  • Finally, follow the general rule in using the big saws only for the cuts that will extend all the way, coming from the top towards the bottom part of the aluminum siding. Because both of the radial arm saw as well as the chop saw are a bit difficult to control in precision when ending the cut, you can make use of the tin snips if you are trimming the aluminum siding in order to fit right around the vents or windows.

Siding Cutting Tools

As you can see, it can be quite easy to do. However, the job may not be easy if you do not have the right cutting tools. Since aluminum and vinyl siding is relatively soft and thin, they are pretty much easy to trim and cut and in fact, you can make use of a utility knife or a scoring tool for the job. A pair of high quality tin snips can help to speed up the shaping and cutting of the aluminum siding and is especially helpful in cutting the curves.
A radial arm or bench power saw can help to speed up the process of cutting and installing the vinyl siding. The best option is to purchase a saw blade that is specifically made for the purpose of cutting the aluminum siding. A great alternative is a fine tooth blade. It must be mounted right on the saw in a reverse of the usual direction. But do not use this tool in this manner for other materials like wood. Make sure to wear goggles or safety glasses at all times when cutting the aluminum siding with a saw.

Aside from learning these tips, you have to also learn the proper tools and materials to use for the installation. It is important that you only make use of aluminum nails for the installation of the aluminum siding. The nails must be about 1/8 inch in shanks and the heads should be at least 5/16 inches in diameter. Most importantly, it should be able to penetrate the backing for at least 3/4 inches.

Generally, 4D nails will pretty much do the job,but we recommend you learn more about nail sizes. When it comes to nailing the aluminum panels, slowly place the nails right in the middle of the nailing slots and avoid driving them all the way through. The siding panels must hang from the nails and should not be nailed fast.