Your home’s siding is an aesthetic element that contributes to its curb appeal, but it also provides invaluable protection against the elements. You want to ensure that old and damaged siding is promptly replaced by a professional home siding contractor. Professional siding installers have the knowledge, expertise, and tools necessary to install various types of siding, including fiber cement, vinyl, wood, or metal.
In hiring a contractor for your siding cladding, be sure to do your due diligence. There are many reputable home siding contractors with the knowledge and experience to get your siding job completed. Unfortunately, there are also scammers and imposters lacking the appropriate credentials leaving you with inferior work. To avoid wasting money on siding installers who won’t do the job right, follow these tips for hiring a siding contractor.
How to Hire a Siding Contractor
When you determine you need new siding, educate yourself on your options. Siding makes up the bulk of your home’s curb appeal and protects it from the elements. Its looks, makeup, and durability all impact your home for decades. Here are some tips on how to find the top siding installer.
1. Ask for Referrals
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?
2. Research the Company
Take time to look online for reviews from your potential contractor’s past customers. Look the company up to learn about their ratings on the BBB, Yelp, Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor. . Look on the company website for testimonials.
3. Get Several Bids
It’s always advisable to get more than one bid or estimate on your siding project. Most reputable siding installation 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. It could also mean they are low-balling the bid to get your business, only to tack on “extras” later on.
4. 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 time frame promised?
- Accuracy--Was the job done to your satisfaction and 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 all questions or issues that came up during or after the project?
5. Ask for a Portfolio with Pictures
Every professional home siding contractor who’s been in business for a while will have photos of projects they’ve completed. If you are having any type of specialty work done, before and after photos can offer some insight.
6. 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.
7. Find out about Permits
Many contractors will apply for necessary permits needed to do home repairs. Be sure to cover your bases and make sure the contractor will get the necessary permits or if it’s your responsibility to do so.
8. Know the Payment Plan
Reputable siding contractors don’t ask for the full price of materials and installation upfront. Beware of any that do. If a potential contractor wants the payment in full upfront, don’t hire them.
Questions to Ask Siding Contractors
Not every siding installation contractor is a true siding craftsman who takes pride in enhancing a home’s details and protecting it for years to come. To find a capable, trustworthy siding company, there are common questions you should ask the siding installation contractors you are considering for your siding project. They should be able to answer all your questions and explain the process to your satisfaction.
Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to understand what’s involved in the work. Here are some suggestions on what questions to ask of potential siding installers.
How Long Have You Been Installing Siding?
Installing siding is not a project that you can become an expert in overnight. 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.
Do You Have a Local Office?
There are many home siding contractors nationwide. 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 in the local community doing business, the chances of them ripping you off are much lower.
Do You Offer Warranties?
Most siding products include warranties, but they vary in terms. Ask the siding installation contractor what the product warranties are and if they offer guarantees on their workmanship. Reputable contractors will fix issues due to incorrect installation within a certain period after the job is completed.
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 hire them. If you do, and an accident occurs on your property, you would be responsible for any paying for medical bills and damages incurred.
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 upfront who to contact and what the process is for getting issues resolved. A reputable contractor will resolve issues quickly and to your satisfaction.
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. An accurate estimate requires details they can only acquire by personally assessing the home.
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, 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.
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.
What about Cleanup?
Cleaning up debris and waste 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 contractor should gather any scraps and debris as well as your old siding and remove it from the area. For your safety, the contractor should use a rolling magnet on your lawn to thoroughly clean nails and metal scraps. Once the siding project is 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.
Hire a Siding Installer Who Specializes in the Siding Material You Want
There are various options for siding, including wood, metal, fiber cement, and vinyl. Each option has a different look, function, and benefits that you can research to determine the best fit for your home and budget. The installation method and tools vary from material to material.
While some home siding contractors may routinely work with all types of siding, many may specialize in one or the other or even exclusively work with a specific brand. Before choosing your home siding contractor, you should have in mind which siding type you’d like. This will help you target your siding installation contractor research for one experienced in installing the specific material.
If you’re not sure about the materials you want or need, you may want to do some additional research. Or you can check out our article on choosing the best siding for your home to get some ideas.
James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding Installers
Contractors typically specialize in installing a particular siding material type, and it’s best to find an expert in your area who regularly installs your top choice of siding. For example, James Hardie fiber cement siding installation should only be done by contractors trained by the James Hardie Company themselves, ensuring you get the best installation possible.
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.
James Hardie Preferred Contractors and Elite Preferred Contractors are trained in the best practices of the James Hardie Company, and they are committed to installing this durable siding with precision. When you hire a James Hardie Preferred Contractor, you can rest at ease, knowing that your fiber cement siding will perform as it was designed to. Your warranty will be honored by the James Hardie Company because you had one of their Preferred Contractors install your new siding.
Before certifying companies as an Elite Preferred or Preferred Contractor, James Hardie verifies they 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.
Signs It's Time to Replace Your Siding
As a homeowner, it is in your best interest to detect small problems before they become big ones. To prevent you from paying for potentially expensive repairs that could result from outdated siding, here are six signs that you should get new siding for your home.
1. Visible Damage
If you notice multiple cracks, chips, dents, or rotting, you need to consider replacing the siding. Siding can get damaged in storms or from objects hitting it. Any of these types of damage to your siding can impair the quality of your home. Compromised siding lets moisture into the home, which will eventually cause rot and mold.
2. Chalky Texture
If the siding feels chalky and you get a white residue on your fingertips, it means oxidation has occurred. If caught quickly, oxidation can be cleaned away and the siding restored.
3. Bubbling Wallpaper
Bubbling wallpaper inside the house means that there’s probably an issue with your siding. Water has likely entered from outside and is trapped in the walls resulting in water damage.
4. High Energy Bills
Your siding and electricity bills go hand in hand. Drafts near electrical outlets and windows are often produced by compromised siding on the home’s exterior. Poorly performing siding is a leading cause of high heating and cooling bills. Added insulation can help, but if the siding is letting air in, it should be replaced. New quality siding will seal your home from moisture and drafts, reducing your utility bills.
5. Frequent Maintenance
If you find that your siding needs to be painted regularly because of cracking, peeling, or chipping, replacing it may be the way to go. Occasional care and maintenance are required for any siding, but if it starts to need care every year, it’s worn out.
6. Selling Home
If you have plans to sell your house soon, new siding can increase its value dramatically. A home buyer is far more likely to put an offer on your property if they see new, attractive, modern siding. If your siding is damaged or simply outdated, you may deter potential buyers.
Banner Construction Installs and James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding Products and Premium Vinyl Siding
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 and the Metro East in Illinois.
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 imagery, 3-D models, and field measurements to provide a precise and accurate quote.
Banner Construction has met and maintains 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.