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How to Hire a Vinyl Siding Contractor
Every siding project starts with hiring the best vinyl siding contractor. Before we get into the nuts and bolts of the checklist below, the first question to ask potential siding contractors is for their certifications — the majority of the larger vinyl siding manufacturers certify installers in the proper installation techniques.
Check with the state contractor licensing boards for any consumer complaints, as well as complaint lists registered with local or state business associations. Before we give too much away, here are 13 tips on how to hire the best installer for your siding job.
13 Steps To Hire A Vinyl Siding Contractor
When you've got a basic plan of attack mapped out, then it's time to tackle what many consider the most daunting step of all: hiring a siding contractor.
Hiring a contractor doesn't have to be traumatic, tiresome, or tempestuous. Armed with a budget and a clear idea of what you need and want in terms of quantity, siding material and style, finding a reputable contractor becomes just a simple checklist of tasks and traits.
1. Locate and speak with several contractors (a minimum of three). Ask friends, relatives, and co-workers for recommendations. Check the yellow pages, or, better yet, the Better Business Bureau.
2. Have each contractor come out, inspect the site, and provide a quote. Be sure to let him or her know about your choice of siding material and what type of experience they have installing this particular material.
3. Find out about the contractors' work experience, especially with trim. The trim around windows, doors, and overhangs, etc. will make all the difference -trim work is labor intensive, and more critical to the overall appearance of your home. You also need to determine if the contractors are familiar with your roof type.
4. If you have issues with rot, etc., make sure the contractors discuss it with you. If other unexpected issues arise during the inspection, this should be communicated immediately, and the contractors should be able to state how the problem will be addressed.
5. Present the contractors with written specifications for your project, ensuring that they are all not only as precise and accurate as possible, but also giving cost estimates on the same project.
6. Make sure the contractors incorporate the removal of the old cladding material. Not only should it be included in the bid, but they should also be able to tell you their process, and have a plan for dispensing with it. In fact, they should also be able to tell you where they plan to store the materials and trash during the job.
7. Inquire about the application of the moisture barrier, the siding, flashing, the nail penetration, and so on. What kind of caulking will they use? If appropriate, depending on the siding type you've decided on, ask about the paint and finish as well. Lastly, be sure to ask about the application of the all-important trim.
8. Get references! Each contractor should be able (and eager) to provide several. When you contact them, ask if the job was finished on time, if there were cost overruns, if the contractor was professional, and whether they were happy with the work.
9. No deposit! Don't choose a contractor that asks for a deposit. You should determine a payment schedule that coincides with completion milestones or material deliveries, or pay the whole amount upon completion.
10. Warranty. The contractors, in addition to offering references, should also stand by their work. Get it in writing. Read more about vinyl siding warranties.
11. Choose a contractor based upon their price for vinyl siding, experience and references, communication (Did they respond quickly? Were the answers clear? Was the quote provided promptly?) and your impression (trust your gut).
12. Once you've decided on a contractor, make certain your contract lays everything out in detail - such as the work to be done, start date, estimated completion date, cost, and payment schedule.
13. The contract, like the bid, should also stipulate the removal of trash and the old exterior cladding material.
Additional Tips To Keep In Mind
Siding is usually sold in 100x100-foot squares. If you've determined your square footage, decided what type of material you want, and shopped around for good deals, you probably already know that. You should also know that labor costs are also typically quoted in terms of squares.
The most popular forms of siding available are vinyl, aluminum, cedar clapboard and cedar shakes. Although the cost of
siding squares varies by material, the range is generally $125 to $300 per square, with wood the most expensive option. Wood also needs to be painted or stained, while vinyl and aluminum usually come factory finished. Wood also needs to be repainted or restained frequently. Find out more pricing information using our vinyl siding cost calculator.
When you call contractors for bids, try to introduce at least one smaller firm into the process. The larger companies, especially the ones that advertise on TV and radio, often - not always, but often - tend to have higher prices. You can counterbalance that by including smaller, independent firms and comparing the bids and services.