Tips on Hiring a Siding Contractor
If you’re looking to have siding installed or replaced on your home’s exterior, you will probably be hiring a contractor. The professional siding contractors have the knowledge, expertise and tools necessary to install various types of siding, including fiber cement, vinyl, wood or metal. However, before you hire a contractor to install the siding, you need to ask questions and do your due diligence to ensure you’re hiring the right contractor.
There are many trustworthy and competent contractors available who install siding, but unfortunately, there are also scammers. In order to avoid wasting money on contractors who won’t do the job right, follow the tips we’ve provided here.
Determine What Type of Siding You Want
There are several types of siding materials available and siding contractors may specialize in some of them but not others. You’ll want to hire the contractor with the expertise in that specific type of siding. If you’re not sure on the materials you want or need, you may want to do some research. Or you can check out our article on choosing the best siding for your home to get some ideas.
If you have friends or neighbors who have recently had siding installed, ask them who their contractor was and whether they would recommend them. Ask them about their experience with the contractor. Did they get what they were promised? Was it done on time and within budget? How was the customer service they received? Look at the siding on their home--is it a quality job?
Don’t Just Speak with One Company
It’s always advisable to get more than one bid or estimate on your siding project. Most reputable contractors will provide a free estimate. Have them come to your home and review the requirements and specifications to come up with a bid. Beware of bids that are way lower or higher than others. It could mean they don’t understand the business enough. They should be able to answer all your questions and explain the process to your satisfaction.
Check References and Reviews
Ask the contractors for contact information of other customers they’ve done jobs for. They should be able to provide at least three references. When you check their references, ask questions regarding:
- Timeliness--Did they complete the job in the timeframe promised?
- Accuracy--Was the job done to your satisfaction and to specifications?
- Costs--Did they stay within the initially-quoted budget?
- Durability--Did the siding stand the test of time or were there issues with it as time went on?
- Customer Service--Were they responsive to any questions or issues that came up during or after the project?
You should also check online reviews. Yelp, Angie’s List, BBB, Homeadvisor, etc. Look on the company website for testimonials.
Ask for a Portfolio with Pictures
Every professional contractor who’s been in business for a while will have photos of projects they’ve completed. If you are having specialty siding or other types of specialty work done, before and after photos can offer some insight.
Get a Written Estimate
Whatever you do, don’t hire a contractor without a written contract. The contract should include all terms, exceptions, details of the job and the price. It should also include a guarantee of workmanship; don’t accept contractors who don’t offer that guarantee.
10 Questions to Ask Siding Contractors
There are common questions you should ask of any contractors you are considering for your siding project. The contractors should be willing and able to answer all of them in a way that you will understand. Here are some suggestions on what questions to ask of potential siding contractors.
1. How Long Have You Been Installing Siding?
Installing siding is not a project that you can become an expert in overnight. Although companies that are new in the business may have experienced installers, you want to beware of businesses who have just hung their shingle. They could be gone before the project is finished.
Contractors who have been in business for a while will have experience in the challenges that can arise during the project. They know how to manage a project to ensure its success. They know what is required and have the resources and tools needed to do the job, so the estimate they provide will be more accurate.
2. Do You Have a Local Office?
There are many contractors nationwide who install siding. Unfortunately, there are scammers in this business who will take your money without doing the job you expect and pay for.
Having an actual office in your vicinity can be beneficial when you have questions or problems. You can visit their brick-and-mortar location if you’re not getting the results or answers you expect. When a company is located in the local community doing business, the chances of them ripping you off is much lower. They couldn’t continue to do business if they didn’t produce.
3. Do You Offer Warranties?
Most siding products include warranties, but they vary in terms. Ask the contractor what the product warranties are, as well as whether they offer guarantees on their workmanship. Reputable contractors will fix issues due to incorrect installation within a certain period after the job is completed.
4. Are You Insured and Bonded?
The contractor installing your siding must maintain adequate insurance to cover accidents and workman’s compensation. If they cannot provide proof of this insurance, do not, don’t hire them. If you do, and an accident occurs on your property, you would be responsible for any medical and other bills incurred.
5. What Is Your Policy for Resolving Complaints or Issues?
Assuming that no issues will arise is overly-optimistic. Not to say that they will, but you don’t want to be caught off-guard if they do. Find out up front who to contact and what the process is for getting issues resolved. A reputable contractor will resolve issues quickly and to your satisfaction.
6. Do You Offer Free Estimates?
You shouldn’t have to pay for a company to look at your home to evaluate the project. That should be part of the sales process before signing the contract. The contractor should meet with you to determine your goals and preferences.
The company should be willing and able to come to your home to get all the details for the bid. An accurate estimate requires details they can only acquire by personally assessing the home and white it will need for a successful job.
7. What Does Your Bid Include?
The final bid for the job should include detailed information for the siding project. It should itemize products and services with costs for each. If additional or optional services or products are included (soffit, trim, eaves, gutters), they should be priced separately. The estimate should also specify a timeline for the project.
When they present the bid to you, the contractor should take the time to answer any questions you might have. If they can’t explain any part of the bid, you should be skeptical.
8. Do You Handle All the Required Permits?
Legally, it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to research and acquire the necessary permits to do any type of home repairs or improvements. However, many contractors include this service as part of the job.
9. What About Debris and Waste?
Cleanup during and after the siding installation project should be the responsibility of the contractor, not the homeowner. They should bring their own bins for collecting debris. These bins should not be parked on your lawn or driveway, as the weight could cause damage. The street is the proper location for these.
Once the siding project is totally complete, a good contractor will go over your entire property to make sure that all waste and debris is cleared, leaving it as it was before the project began. This includes using a rolling magnetic across your lawn to clean up any nails or other metal objects.
10. What Types of Siding Do You Install?
There are several different types of material that siding is made from, including fiber cement, vinyl, metal (aluminum, steel) and wood. Each material can require specific knowledge levels and some even require certification from the siding manufacturer. One such example is James Hardie Fiber Cement siding.
Fiber cement siding is constructed using a composite material made of cement reinforced with cellulose fibers. James Hardie is the premier manufacturer of fiber cement siding and they set the bar for all others. Because they want the best experience for their customers, they only certify those contractors who complete their training program.
Prior to certifying companies as an Elite Preferred or Preferred Contractor, James Hardie verifies the meet the following requirements:
- Compliance with Installation Best Practices
- Professional Sales Approach
- Satisfactory credit report
- State Licensed
- Liability insurance $1,000,000 per occurrence
- Workman’s compensation Insurance
- Satisfactory background check with at least 6 past clients
In addition to consistently demonstrating the highest standards in quality and customer satisfaction, James Hardie Elite Preferred contractors specialize in the installation of a wide range of James Hardie product profiles and designs, including siding, trim, soffit, wrap and flashing products.
Banner Construction Installs Premium Vinyl Siding and James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding Products
Banner Construction is a full-service Exterior Restoration Contractor, in business since 1993. We have installed premium vinyl and James Hardie fiber cement siding for over 8,000 customers in the St. Louis area.
Our free estimation process includes visiting your home and discussing your goals and preferences. Once we’re sure we have all the details, we develop a comprehensive detailed proposal that includes digital imaginary, 3-D models, and field measurements to provide a precise and accurate quote.
Banner Construction has met and maintains the rigorous standards to achieve the status as a James Hardie Elite Preferred Contractor. That ensures your siding will be installed to the exacting specifications that James Hardie sets forward.
Don’t make the mistake of hiring any contractor to install your siding. Hire the experts at Banner Construction to get the job done the way you expect and deserve.