Metal siding can help any building seem proudly and professionally maintained, while also staying protected from the elements. Additionally, its easy-to-clean, uniform aesthetic can help any building increase its curb appeal and overall appearance.

For this reason, learning how to install said siding can help you unlock the benefit of this most superior of materials. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss the entire metal siding journey, from selecting the correct materials to preparing the space for installation, all the way up to trimming, final inspection, and warranties.

If you’re looking for a one-stop resource to plan your metal siding approach, you’ve found it:

Select The Right Metal Siding

First, it’s essential to select the right metal siding for your needs. There are various options available, including aluminum, steel, and more. The type you select may differ depending on the practical requirements of your geographical location and climate.

You can also select between aesthetic styles such as horizontal which allows for better water shedding, vertical which offers an appealing height illusion and modern elegance, and metal shingles offer easy replacement and varied aesthetics. While is this is by no means an exhaustive list, you can be certain these options are popular among residential and commercial clients alike for good reason.

The benefit of siding is that it can easily be painted, spray painted or further used to hang signs and logos, depending on your domestic or commercial needs. Be sure not to tamper with the security and installation of said metal siding despite your plans for aesthetic renewal.

But what metal types are most common, and what are their benefits? Consider:

  • Aluminum is lightweight, resistant to corrosion, and comes in a variety of colors. 
  • Steel metal siding is sturdy, can resist impact, and offers a diversity of finishes. 
  • Corten steel siding is also popular thanks to its weathering effect which gives it a distinct aesthetic value while requiring little maintenance and offering real longevity.

Gathering Necessary Tools And Materials

Of course, to install metal siding correctly, you need to prepare your tools and equipment in advance.

This will include safety gear like safety glasses, gloves, and sturdy boots. When using power tools to cut metal siding, wear hearing protection.

Circular saws or electric shears will be required to cut your siding to shape unless it’s already been cut by your supplier. Remember to bring fastening tools such as a dedicated metal siding tool, screws, nails, or better yet a staple gun to keep the siding in place. In addition, a standard caulk gun is required for applying sealant.

As cutting the sealant to spec and making sure it’s correctly placed is imperative, a level and measuring tape are non-negotiable. 

Preparation Of Exterior Walls

The old craftsman’s proverb is to measure twice and cut once, and that principle applies here. Measure the entirety of the space you hope to cover with metal siding. Additionally, a smooth, installation-friendly environment will need to be confirmed before you can go ahead with further steps. 

This means stripping rotten or incorrectly placed wood. Sanding or clearing debris,  curling paint, and other embossed protrusions is crucial. The surface area should be smooth, uniform, and clean, ready to take the siding and persist for years under it.

Put simply – you must leave the underside in the condition you hope for it to be preserved in. This may take longer than the installation of your siding itself, but it’s essential work that must be implemented.

Implementing Reliable Underlayment

Metal siding requires an underlayment to protect against weather conditions and form a tight seal. Breathable, synthetic material is preferable. 

This can allow moisture to escape without allowing it in, which will help preserve the undersurface. You can attach underlayment using a staple gun. The lining should be tight, paying attention to the most vulnerable areas, such as openings near windows. 

Be sure to leave enough room for overlap, 2-3 inches will often suffice and can be cut to finish.

Cut Your Siding Correctly

Precision cuts are crucial for a seamless appearance, and attempting to cut installed siding may risk damaging adjacent panels or compromising the overall integrity of your siding installation.

For that reason, it’s highly recommended to plan and execute all necessary cuts before installing the siding whenever possible. As we mentioned, measure twice, and cut once, and you can be certain that the dimensions have been appropriately planned for.

Installing Your Metal Siding Panels

The sealing strip should be placed at the bottom first and foremost and should accommodate the sheet metal that will be placed here. The sheet metal sliding should be lined in parallel, perfectly uniform. 

You can use a level to make sure it is placed correctly on both sides. Hammering nails every eight inches in a common approach, or in the pre-cut holes provided by the siding panel, but never too tightly. Additionally, leave enough corner room (3-5 inches of space) to further accommodate the corner caps. More on that below.

Implementing Corner Caps

Corner caps help keep the structural application stable. Use the rims to brace under the sheets of metal siding, and hammer in the nails to connect. Ensure they are firm, secure, and uniformly installed. 

Remember, corner caps are there to secure the siding, not to cause an aesthetic issue, so using a rubber mallet or other tools less likely to cause dents can prevent you from harming its appearance before you finish the job. You may hear those installing metal siding talk about “trimming the siding,” and here they’re most commonly referring to corner caps.

Ensuring Correct Ventilation And Insulation Measures

It’s one thing to install metal siding correctly, it’s another to ensure its maintenance is guaranteed over a number of years. To guarantee this, adequate ventilation and insulation must be ensured.

Proper ventilation facilitates air circulation, preventing heat buildup and potential moisture issues. Soffit vents, ridge vents, and other ventilation elements must be strategically placed to create an effective airflow system – similar to if you were installing passive metal roofing ventilation. This also makes certain the siding remains waterproof and weatherproof as required.

Moreover, incorporating insulation enhances energy efficiency, regulating indoor temperatures and providing an extra layer of protection against the elements. You can achieve this by applying caulk and sealant to ensure the insulation is correctly implemented and no airflow is permitted outside of the defined ventilation channels.

Of course, that insulation material will be installed from the underside and may include fiberglass, expansive foam foam board, or even reflective foil. Depending on the structure you’re building, such as an open-faced exterior shed or barn, you may choose to forgo the insulation entirely outside of practical weatherproofing necessities.

Final Inspections

When all measures have been undertaken to consistent quality standards, it’s important to undergo a series of final inspections to ensure high-quality craftsmanship.

  • Evaluate overall appearance.

Look for any dents, scratches, or other blemishes. In some cases, issues like dents can be carefully hammered back with a rubber mallet, in other cases, full replacement of the panel section may be necessary.

  • Check alignment and symmetry.

This will not only define aesthetic appeal but also water and weatherproofing. Sealant isn’t enough to cover up mistakes, alignment must be re-established if incorrectly placed.

  • Inspect fasteners.

All fasteners must be secure and at regular intervals along the siding. They must also be sturdy and withstand pressure.

  • Verify sealant and waterproofing.

After the sealant has dried you can test your siding’s waterproofed properties with a hose, and identify any potential leaks ahead of time. It’s much better to see this now than in a rainstorm.

  • Review trim and accessories.

Make certain corner caps have been installed correctly and that they don’t interfere with the siding of your aesthetic.

  • Confirm ventilation and insulation.

You can ascertain ventilation capabilities using a controlled safe smoke test to verify airflow dynamics.

  • Check color and finish.

Metal siding can be treated or painted but it’s important to check the finish before then.

  • Inspect caulking and edges.

Any inconsistencies will be clear to see and must be replaced.

  • Perform post-installation cleanup.

Clean debris and wash your metal siding for its best shine.

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RPS Metal Roofing & Siding, Inc is a manufacturer and distributor of metal roofs. Located in Welaka, Florida, our company has state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment resulting in fine quality metal roofs for commercial, residential and agricultural use.

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