Tips for using the Lowe's vinyl siding calculator include sketching each wall of the house, measuring everything twice, transposing all measurements to the drawings for visual confirmation, and entering the measurements as directed into the tool. While the calculator adds 10 percent to the total for cutting errors and waste, many contemporary homes include extensive bump-outs that increase the total square footage needs and amount of trimmed materials.
Lowe's vinyl siding calculator works in stages. The tool first asks for the sum of the square footage of all walls, figured by multiplying each wall's height by its width, and then adds those totals together. The second entry is the total space made up of dormers and gables. Each surface equals the height times the width, except for triangular areas that equal the height times 1/2 the base of the triangle.
The third entry deals with negative space, including doors, windows and wall space faced with other materials. Each item's area equals its height times its width, and all areas are added together for the entry amount. The calculator derives the total square footage, adds 10 percent for waste, and displays the number of required siding squares. Each square is 10 foot by 10 foot, or 100 square feet.
The next entry is the total square footage of soffits, porch ceilings, and other downward facing areas needing siding. The tool calculates the amount of material required to cover these areas. Typically, this is not vinyl siding, but another product. The final entry is the total linear footage of any trim material measured by the areas around windows and doors.
A final tip involves finding out the limitations of returning trimmed and cut areas before purchase to ensure an economic renovation.