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Karen O’Leary lives in a quiet, little Connecticut town called Guilford, located on the Long Island Sound. While the city boasts beautiful old houses, historic landmarks, and a thriving downtown district, Karen’s home lacked character. The house’s exterior was a bland mix of aluminum and vinyl siding resulting from additions and updates over the years.

So, hoping to win an exterior makeover for her home, Karen entered the Royal Building Products’ “Build Bold” contest on our website. Her submission essay described giving her home the “Build Bold” treatment, which won Karen her choice of Royal Building Products siding, trim, shutters, and accessories valued at $25,000.

Removing the Old Siding

Before installing the new siding, the Royal crew, led by Neil Velasquez, removed the existing siding and trim. During removal, they discovered water damage on the second story, leading them to cut out rotten wood and make repairs. Then, they hauled the old aluminum siding off to be recycled.

Removing old siding prevents damage to the walls underneath and contains environmental hazards like lead paint.

Karen O’Leary’s house before the “Build Bold makeover.

As they uncovered each section, the team tacked house wrap on the bare wood to protect it for the new siding. They used Tyvek HomeWrap to keep air and water out while allowing vapor to escape. The wrap prevents rot and mold inside walls, improving energy efficiency.

Installing the New Siding

Karen used Royal’s HomePlay to explore different siding options for her home. To make it stand out, she chose deep blue Wedgewood siding with white shutters and trim.

Installation began with wide corner boards, soffit, fascia pieces, and J-channel flashing around the house, hiding vinyl edges. Flashing protects vulnerable spots — corners, windows, doors, material transitions.

The crew from Royal Building Products installs the new siding.

Leaving proper gaps between siding panels allows for expansion and contraction. Aluminum or vinyl J-channel flashing gives siding a clean, finished look.

Next, they quickly installed the siding panels, carefully nailing them to avoid driving the fasteners down fully. That would make panels bow out when expanding, causing a wavy appearance. Leaving a gap between nail heads and panels allows vinyl expansion and contraction, preventing buckling — a common overdriving mistake.

Before adding a crown molding detail above each window for character, the crew wrapped them in metal flashing. Finally, white shutters against the deep blue siding created Karen’s desired bold contrast. The navy siding and bright white accents make the home striking.

Tackling Some DIY Projects

With Royal Building Products handling the siding installation, little remained for Allen and me. But Karen had some to-do items for us.

On the front porch, we fixed the storm door’s broken handle and filled the gap above where it met the brick lintel. The rusty lintel also needed painting. We secured a dangerously loose electrical box and repaired a missing hose spigot handle — small fixes that improved the curb appeal.

Today’s Homeowner Tips

Storm doors often sustain minor damage, so periodic maintenance ensures proper function and security.

Loose electrical boxes risk safety hazards if the wiring pulls free, requiring secure refastening. Fixing minor eyesores like a missing spigot handle enhances aesthetics.

So, Is Updating Home Siding an Effective Improvement?

Installing vinyl siding benefits home exteriors. Vinyl is affordable, low-maintenance cladding available in styles and colors matching architecture and tastes. Siding updates thoroughly modernize materials such as wood, stucco, or aging aluminum or vinyl panels.

With proper installation using house wrap and flashing, vinyl siding lasts 40 to 50 years and requires little upkeep. Its insulating properties can reduce energy costs.

Karen’s “Build Bold” design included siding in deep Wedgewood blue with white shutters and trim.

Siding facelifts also increase curb appeal and home resale value significantly. Vinyl siding requires minimal long-term care and upgrades a home for years.

FAQs About Vinyl Siding Upgrades

How much does vinyl siding installation cost?

Professionally installed vinyl siding costs $2,500 to $15,000, averaging $7,500 for a typical single-family house. Your home’s size, accessibility, and region impact overall costs.

Should you do it yourself or hire a professional?

You can do a DIY vinyl siding installation, but homeowners are prone to making mistakes that jeopardize the product’s long-term performance. Overdriving nails, inadequate flashing, and improper seam alignment often occur. Professionals possess the expertise, tools, and experience for correct installation and durability.

How long does vinyl siding last?

Properly installed and cared for, vinyl siding lasts 40 to 50 years on average. High-quality vinyl better resists fading, cracking, peeling, and denting compared to lower-cost alternatives. Following manufacturer guidelines maximizes longevity.

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Jonathon Jachura

Jonathon Jachura


Jonathon Jachura is a two-time homeowner with hands-on experience with HVAC, gutters, plumbing, lawn care, pest control, and other aspects of owning a home. He is passionate about home maintenance and finding the best services. His main goal is to educate others with crisp, concise descriptions that any homeowner can use. Jon uses his strong technical background to create engaging, easy-to-read, and informative guides. He does most of his home and lawn projects himself but hires professional companies for the “big things.” He knows what goes into finding the best service providers and contractors. Jon studied mechanical engineering at Purdue University in Indiana and worked in the HVAC industry for 12 years. Between his various home improvement projects, he enjoys the outdoors, a good cup of coffee, and spending time with his family.

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