Are you looking to decorate the exterior of your house with your favorite accessories? If your house is clad in vinyl siding, you must be extra cautious when hanging anything, whether that’s a planter, sign, or awning.
Heavy items will quickly pull down and destroy your siding, leaving you with a huge repair bill. I learned this the hard way! So, I wrote this article to show you some easy ways to hang heavy things on vinyl siding. With a few basic tools, you can install inexpensive hanging solutions and decorate your exteriors safely.
You will need:
- Zip tool
- Siding hooks
- Stainless steel washer screws
- Utility knife
Table of Contents
3 Ways To Hang Heavy Things on Vinyl Siding
Drilling and inserting a screw or nail in vinyl siding may seem the easiest and fastest way to hang heavy items. But, I recommend trying other methods first before you resort to drilling.
The three methods I will show you are:
- Siding hooks
- Wire hooks
1. How to Hang Heavy Things on Vinyl Siding Using Siding Hooks
Siding hooks are the safest and easiest way to hang things from vinyl siding. As the name implies, these small but handy hooks are specifically made for use with vinyl.
You can buy siding hooks online or from your local home improvement store. Be sure to purchase high-quality hooks; these are usually thicker and studier and may cost slightly more than the sub-standard hooks.
Good siding hooks can carry weights of up to 12 pounds without bending or breaking. I recommend buying stainless steel hooks, as these will not rust and eventually stain your vinyl siding. Stainless steel hooks might cost slightly more than aluminum, but this is a small price to pay for protecting your siding against streaks of rust.
Proper installation of siding hooks ensures that any item you hang remains safe and intact. Follow these easy steps to install siding hooks on vinyl siding:
- Locate the horizontal seam where the siding pieces snap together.
- Lift the upper siding piece lightly and slowly insert the hook between the seam, with the hooked side facing out.
- Push the hook firmly until it snaps into the seam.
- Hang any item no more than 12 pounds or according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
That’s all there is to hanging things on vinyl siding using siding hooks. Let’s now look at another great alternative: installing a wire hook.
2. How to Hang Heavy Things on Vinyl Siding Using A Wire Hook
I prefer this method for hanging items slightly heavier than 12 pounds. Like the siding hook method, a wire hook is non-intrusive and will not damage your vinyl. This method is a bit more demanding, but you should pull it off in less than 30 minutes.
Here’s how to install a wire hook in vinyl siding.
Step 1: Identify the location where you want to hang the item
Decide where on the siding you want to position the item. You will need to remove the vinyl slat here to install the wire hook.
Step 2: Disconnect the seam between the slats
Using a zip tool, unhook the vinyl slat where you want to hang the item from the slat below. Insert the zip tool in the seam between the two vinyl slats.
Hook the zip tool to the seam connecting the two slats and apply downward pressure to disconnect the seam. This will leave the upper slat hanging away from the slat underneath it.
Step 3: Lift the upper slat
With the seam broken, you can now easily expose the house wrap and locate the stud to install the wire hook.
Before you insert a screw into the house wrap, you must first locate a stud nearby. What you want to do here is drive a screw in a stud. Never drive a screw in the space between studs as electrical wires or plumbing pipes might be lying in waiting.
Use a stud locator to identify studs around the area where you want to hang the item. Pass the stud locator over the vinyl slat, and you will see the location of the studs. Here is an excellent video on how to use a stud locator.
Once you locate a suitable stud, lift that upper slat a bit and drive a strong, long screw into your preferred stud.
Next, coil a heavy-duty wire around the screw and leave some of it hanging down. Then, use a utility knife to form a small notch on the lower lip of the slat. The hanging part of the wire will come out through the notch.
Step 4: Reassemble the siding
Pass the hanging wire through the notch you just made so that it hangs loosely on the vinyl siding surface.
Reassemble the siding by locking the lower lip of the upper slat into the top channel of the slat below it. It is a good idea to use the zip tool to reconnect the seam. Hook the tool on the lower lip of the upper vinyl siding and then pull it down and snap it into the slat below it.
With the siding reassembled and the wire well positioned, you can hang your desired item. This method is pretty safe for hanging relatively heavy things, but you should not over-exert the wire, or else it will break, and your item will, inevitably, fall. That said, a wire hook will not damage your vinyl or let in water behind the siding.
If you want to hang an even heavier item such as an awning, lamp, planter, or chunky sign, your only option would be to drill. You must follow the instructions for drilling vinyl siding to the tee to avoid costly damage to your siding.
3. How to Hang Heavy Things on Vinyl Siding By Drilling
Bad drilling practices can break vinyl siding. Remember that the best time to drill vinyl is in warm weather; warm vinyl is less prone to breaking than cold, rigid vinyl siding.
Follow these steps to drill through vinyl siding correctly and hang your heavy items safely.
Step 1: Mark a hole
There is no room for mistakes when drilling through vinyl siding. Marking exactly where you want the hole to be drilled will help minimize errors. Be sure to make the mark (s) visible.
Step 2: Select the right drill bit
The bit you use to drill will depend on the type of material behind the siding. You may need to unlock one vinyl slat to examine the sheathing material behind it.
Usually, vinyl siding requires installing some material such as plywood, foam, or fiberglass. Use a wood drill bit if the sheathing is wood and a masonry bit if there’s concrete or bricks behind the siding.
Step 3: Drill through the siding
Attach the appropriate bit to the drill and place it right on top of the marking you had made earlier. Turn on the drill and firmly drill past the siding and into the sheathing behind. Drill through the sheathing but stop before drilling past it. You want to create a hollow hole in the sheathing material just enough to insert a screw.
Step 4: Insert screws
Now that you have successfully drilled the holes, you can place screws for hanging your item. Opt for tough screws such as lag screws as they can withstand the weight of heavy items. You are now ready to accessorize your vinyl walls.
Check out some extra tips to help you get the most from this project.
Choose the right screws for the job
There are many different types of screws, each with its use. I strongly recommend you invest in high-quality screws. When shopping, check the manufacturer’s recommendations on how to use the screws so you can buy the right screws for vinyl siding. The best ones are vinyl-coated or stainless steel Philips head screws.
Make use of pilot holes when drilling through metal sheets
Drilling through metal sheets such as eaves and roof beams with vinyl trim can be challenging; the screws are prone to wobbling and become loose. Instead of going full scale and drilling through the trim, use a hammer and nail to tap in small pilot holes. You can then drive in the screw from which to hang your item.
Practice drilling on a separate surface
There is no room for mistakes when drilling vinyl siding. Consider practicing on another surface before drilling through your vinyl siding if you are new to using drills. The correct way to drill is to push the bit straight and horizontally; you shouldn’t tilt your drill as this will cause the screw to work loose, and any item you hang on it will fall.
Vinyl siding can improve your home’s aesthetic appeal and protect it from weather elements. But, accessorizing vinyl siding comes with its unique challenges. If not handled well, this material can break or endure irreparable damage.
Before drilling, try other equally safe methods, such as using siding hooks or wire hooks to hang heavy things on vinyl siding. Always prioritize your safety and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how much weight the hooks and screws can withstand without breaking or coming apart.