Vinyl siding is flexible and thin, so it doesn’t require much effort to cut. That doesn’t mean you can attack it with any tool, though. A tool that requires too much sawing motion will chew up the ends of the siding. Plus, you’ll need a flat workspace to secure the lightweight sheets before you begin. While options abound, we’ve narrowed the search down to the top 4 ways to cut vinyl siding, whether you’re putting it up or sawing through an existing setup for an installation. We’ve also provided our top product reviews for the best tools to get the job done right. Read on to learn how you can get started cutting vinyl.
|Rank||Model||Our Favorite Product|
|#1||An Electric Shears|
Our Preferred Method
|DEWALT DW890 18 Gauge Swivel Head Shear
|#2||A Dual Slide Compound Miter Saw||Makita LS1018 10″ Dual Slide Compound Miter Saw
|#3||A Tin Snips||DeWalt DWHT14676 Aviation Snip Set 3 pack
|#4||A Utility Knife||MulWark Heavy Duty Zinc-Alloy SK4 Snap-Off Easy Loading Retractable Razor Utility Knife
Let’s face it, for a big project you don’t want to do a lot of manual cutting. While a plain pair of shears can slide right through vinyl siding, a pair of electric shears will get the job done twice as fast. That makes it our top pick for vinyl cutting, hands down. When you’re ready to get to work, place your siding on a firm base and secure it (you don’t want it to slide around while you’re cutting). Don some goggles, too, to keep bits of vinyl shrapnel out of your eyes. A word to the wise, as well: you’ll want to leave about a quarter-inch of extra space on your ends to allow for expansion. Vinyl siding is malleable stuff and summer heat can make it spread. Check out our top recommendation below to find the perfect pair of electric shears. And don’t worry too much about the blade. You won’t need anything fancy for these cuts.
We recommend DEWALT DW890 18 Gauge Swivel Head Shear:
A miter saw is not as flexible or portable as a pair of electric shears, but the dual slide miter saw runs at a close second place for the best way to slice that vinyl. Simply secure your vinyl sheet over the saw’s base, pull down the blade and slide for a precision cut. For best results, go for a blade with the most teeth for a smooth edge. The only real downside to this method is that it won’t work for cutting vinyl if it’s already on the house. You’ll want to reserve the miter saw for new projects. Don’t forget to wear goggles when using power tools, as well, to keep vinyl shrapnel out of your eyes. Below is our top pick from the market of dual slide compound miter saws.
We recommend the Makita LS1018 10″ Dual Slide Compound Miter Saw:
If you want to get the job done simply, quickly, and economically, a pair of tin snips (or aviator snips) will work fine. We don’t need to go into a lot of mechanical details here. We all know a pair of snips are easy to use, free of toxic smoke or shrapnel, and great for portability. One tip to get you started, however, is to avoid closing the snips completely as you cut. To keep your lines straight, only close them about two-thirds of the way. Use the color-coding to help you, as well. Yellow is for straight cuts, green for cutting to the right, and red for left. Make sure you secure your sheets before you start so your lines don’t veer off course. While you may already have a good pair of tin snips lying around, we recommend the product below to get the best performance.
We recommend the DeWalt DWHT14676 Aviation Snip Set 3 pack:
We’d be remiss not to mention the classic standby: a good old utility knife. Vinyl is pliable and thin enough to respond well to a knife’s sharp blades, and since they don’t require any sawing motion, you’ll still get clean cuts. This is also a great method for cutting away existing siding on your house, as you won’t have to worry about damaging the surface beneath as you would with power saw blades. It’s cheap, it’s easy, it’s lightweight, but it will require much more manual effort than any of the methods above. If you’re up for it, though, it’s worth the savings to get your job done simply. While hundreds of great utility knives are out there, we recommend the snap-off blade model below for great performance and quick access to sharpened blades.
Vinyl may be easy to cut but using the wrong tool can cause more harm than good. Stick with our recommended DEWALT DW890 18 Gauge Swivel Head Shear and you’ll get the best power, portability, and economy. If a power tool just isn’t in the cards, though, go for the tin snips over the utility knife, as you’ll have a little more control over shaping and angles. If you need to snip out existing siding, steer toward the utility knife, and remember to leave yourself a quarter inch of space for expansion. Again, don’t worry about your blades if you’re cutting vinyl siding. You don’t need anything fancy.
The bottom line is, you’ve got options with a good economic spread when it comes to vinyl cutting. If your budget is tight, go for snips or a knife. If you’ve got the means, go for the power of those electric shears to get the job done quickly. Many options abound when it comes to simple cutting methods, so we hope our definitive guide has narrowed the playing field for you. Now get out there and cut that vinyl!
Ryan is a freelance writer from Arizona. When he's not blogging about his favorite hobbies, he's writing fiction, hiking or running in the great outdoors, and spending time with family.