What should you ask your siding contractor?
Is your home’s siding over 25 years old? Has it suffered from weather related damage? Or, are you just looking to upgrade the look of your home? Regardless of your reason for taking on a new siding project, there are important questions to consider for yourself and to ask siding contractors before you dive in.
Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Siding Preference
What materials will you use?
The most common siding material contractors work with today is vinyl. It comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the quality of it has improved over the years. It requires little to no maintenance and is durable, which means depending on the quality of the material, it could last 20 to 40 years.
Fiber cement siding is becoming increasingly popular as it has amazing qualities, including the fact that it can look like actual wood, stucco or masonry. It’s durable and fire proof (class 1A rated). It won’t rot or decay but tends to be a little more costly than other materials.
Cedar shingles offer a unique aesthetic that some homeowners can’t resist. It’s a great insulator, which means it prevents heat from escaping in the winter and your cool air from leaving the home in the summer. It’s also a natural acoustic barrier, separating the din of the busy street from your quiet interiors.
Metal siding has great qualities, such as it can’t mold or rot and doesn’t require much maintenance. It’s eco friendly and fire resistant. However, it it’s not installed right, it can rust.
There are a variety of wood choices you can make too but ask your siding contractor about any material concerns you have – they should be able to address all them and recommend the right material for your home.
Do you have a specific brand in mind?
If you’re truly sold on a specific brand, such as James Hardie siding, you need to make sure you contractor is certified to install it. If you sign on with the wrong contractor, you won’t get the brand of your choice, so make sure any estimate lists the exact brands they can and will install for you.
Questions to Ask Your Siding Contractor
When you canvas the internet or ask your friends, family and co-workers whom they recommend replacing your siding, make a list and do some homework of your own. Most of this can be done online, but you’ll need to ask for some honest answers from your contractors, and perhaps from their clients. Here are some sample questions to consider for this crucial part of the project:
How long have you been in business?
The preference here would be to hire one with years and years of experience, dealing with all types of materials, architectural styles and clients.
What materials are you most experienced installing?
If you’ve requested a specific type, make sure they’ve installed it before and know what they’re doing.
What are the insulation properties of the materials you use?
If you’re looking for better insulation properties, ask if they can add insulation when replacing your old siding.
What guarantees and warranties do you offer?
Know all the conditions of their guarantees and warranties going in.
Are you licensed, bonded and properly insured?
You don’t want to be responsible for paying workers if an accident happens, so make sure they’re covered.
Can you offer a list of references?
Don’t be shy – contact a couple of them to get their opinion of the work.
What is your expected payment schedule?
It’s not unusual to pay a little up front and a little along the way with full payment due on completion.
How long does it take you to finish a job?
Ask what they do to reduce waste and make sure they can get the job done quickly, but accurately.
Will you also replace the soffit, eaves and trim?
Don’t be left out on a limb with a partially finished job – make sure your contractor can do it all.
Who handles permits?
Will you have to pull a permit, or can the contractor do it for you?
These are just some of the more common questions siding contractors are asked, but don’t be afraid to ask questions of your own. Contractors work for you and if they want the job, they should be able to answer any questions you have and give you peace of mind that you have hired the right person for the job. If they seem reluctant to offer information, walk away.