In terms of the visual appeal and quality of your home, few elements matter as much as your siding. If you’re currently thinking about replacing your siding, it’s vital to choose the best available contractor for the job.
But that task isn’t necessarily as easy to accomplish as it might sound.
How to Select the Right Contractor
Siding contractors are a dime a dozen, to be honest. Reliable siding contractors who perform high-quality work are relatively few. Here’s how you can make sure you get one of the better ones.
Good, bad, or nonexistent, contractors’ reputations nearly always precede them. You can tell a lot about a particular builder by asking around, reading online reviews, and getting a feel for how that firm has been received by the community.
Be wary of engaging a contractor who doesn’t have any discernible reputation in your region, or someone who has only recently moved from another state or market. This won’t necessarily mean they’re bad at what they do, but it limits your ability to conduct essential due diligence.
It’s best to work with established contractors who have at least a few years of local experience. This will have given past clients sufficient time to see whether the contractor’s work stands up over an extended period of time.
A reputation is one thing. An actual referral from a past client is considerably more valuable. Just keep in mind that not all referrals are created equal. There are two basic types:
- Contractor-provided referral. These are referrals that a contractor provides to a prospective client such as yourself. They’re typically genuine, but you have to remember that the contractor has hand-picked them. So they’re unlikely to have anything negative to say.
- Organic referral. These referrals are ones you gather firsthand from people you know. If a neighbor voluntarily tells you how satisfied he or she was with the siding contractor hired last fall, this qualifies as an organic referral. It’s relatively unbiased and therefore highly credible.
Try to gather at least one organic referral for each contractor you are trying to vet. If you receive contractor-provided referrals on top of it, that’s fine. Just be sure to take those with a few grains of salt.
- Past Work
Although most siding contractors use similar products and installation methods, it can be very helpful to see photos of past work. If nothing else, this can put your mind at ease and show you what you might expect. If a contractor refuses to show any pictures, or doesn’t have a portfolio, this should set off alarm bells.
The siding industry is highly competitive, and major manufacturers want to be sure qualified people are installing their products correctly. This has inspired major companies to provide credentials to leading contractors.
Take James Hardie, for example. This company awards a select few contractors its Elite Preferred Contractor title. This means the honored firm has years of experience, maintains a commitment to excellence, is homeowner recommended, and installs 100-percent Hardie products.
Pricing shouldn’t be the primary determining factor, but it’s definitely worth considering. If all other facets are fairly equal, it’s certainly acceptable to select the contractor who offers you the best pricing. Financing deals should also be discussed.
The actual siding material that gets installed on your home should include a warranty from the manufacturer. However, you should give preference to a contractor that guarantees its labor.
“Guarantees on their service, or workmanship, ought to be at least a half a year and up to 10 years,” SidingCost.org explains. “This provides you ample time with anything that was installed incorrectly. Poor installation could lead to issues of moisture leaking in or accelerated wear and tear occurring in that time frame.”
Finally, verify the fact that the siding contractor is licensed and bonded in your state. The company should be able to cite a specific license number and provide documentation.
Don’t be shy about requesting this information if it’s not readily volunteered. You should never work with a contractor who isn’t licensed and insured. Should something happen on your property, you could be held liable.
Trust Your Gut
Perform your due diligence, but don’t overcomplicate the process. In the end, you have to trust your gut and go with the siding contractor who appears to be the most reliable and trustworthy. Good luck!