How to Use a Zip Tool to Remove Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding
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  • 01 of 03

    The Vinyl Siding Removal Zip Tool

    zip tool
    Vinyl Siding Removal Zip Tool (Malco SRT2). © Malco


    Vinyl siding is very long-lasting, but it can get cracked or otherwise damaged, requiring that you remove one or more pieces in order to replace the damaged sections. But because vinyl siding pieces interlock at the top and bottom of each panel (a design that allows them to resist wind and moisture), they can be tricky to remove. But it is relatively easy to remove (or install) a piece of siding if you have a special hand tool called a zip tool. The zip tool safely and easily separates...MORE the top and bottom adjoining/interlocking panels.

    Compare Prices for ​a Siding Removal "Zip Tool"

    TIP: Finding a matching piece of siding to replace a damaged piece can be difficult because siding manufacturers regularly change offerings and discontinue old styles and previous colors. You may, though, find a piece of matching siding stored away in a garage or utility space. If you're unable to find an exact match, take your damaged piece to a siding distributor and ask for the closest match available. 

    Tools & Materials

    • Zip Tool
    • Pry bar
    • Hammer
    Continue to 2 of 3 below.
  • 02 of 03

    How to Use a Zip Tool to Remove Vinyl Siding

    Vinyl Siding
    How to properly use of the zip tool. © 2007

    How to Use a Zip Took to Remove Vinyl Siding

    To properly use the zip tool to remove or replace a panel of vinyl siding, proceeds as follows:

    1. Starting on the bottom edge of the damaged siding panel, wiggle the curved tip of the zip tool blade under a loose spot in one end of the panel, and hook the tool onto the back lip of the butt lock (the J-channel interlocking joint where the two panels are held together). The best place to start is at an end of the panel, where you will find a slightly...MORE enlarged hole that is designed for the tool to slide into. Or, you can look for another loose spot along the length of the panel joint. To unlock the siding, exert downward pressure on the zip tool. Then, slide the tool along the length of the siding panel. 
    2. Now use the zip tool to unlock to top joint holding the damaged panel to the panel above, using the same action. This will expose the nail row on the panel of siding you want to remove.
    3. Once the butt lock joints are unlocked, use a flat pry bar to pry out the nails that are driven through the slots in the nailing flange running along the top of the damaged panel. With nails removed, the panel is completely detached from the wall. 
    Continue to 3 of 3 below.
  • 03 of 03

    How to Install a New Siding Panel

    Vinyl siding
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    How to Install a Replacement Siding Panel

    In new installations, siding is installed row-by-row, beginning at the bottom. It is a little trickier to install a single new panel in a wall section where the other panels are already attached. 

    1.  Use wood spacer blocks to hold the row of siding panels above the open space so the panels gap out from the face of the wall. Position the new replacement panel up under the spacer blocks, positioning it in alignment with adjoining panels on each side. 
    2. Secure...MORE the new panel by driving siding nails through the slots in the nailing flange along the top of the new panel and into the wall sheathing. This will be easiest to do by placing the face of a pry bar over the head of the nail, then striking the pry bar with a hammer. 
    3. Secure the interlocking butt lock joints at the top and bottom of the panel, using the zip tool.