Not All Siding Installer Contractors are the Same
So your old siding has seen better days and it’s time to take care of this important home improvement. Depending on the material on your home, you maybe experiencing peeling and rotting on your wood siding, dents and faded color on your aluminum siding, or maybe you even have some kind of old, out-dated material like asphalt shingles or tile panels that may or may not contain asbestos on your exterior walls.
Regardless of why you are changing your house siding, the next decision you must make is what siding contractor do you choose to do the work? Keep in mind, vinyl siding, fiber cement siding, and even wood siding have rules and techniques that must be followed or the job will look bad, not seal your home off from the elements properly, and won’t last like it should. The last thing you want to do is make a big investment in new siding, only to have to do it all over again 3 years later because it wasn’t done properly in the first place.
Hopefully the following guidelines will help you choose the best siding installer for your project.
1. Avoid Joe Pick-Ups!
Siding is an interesting thing because anyone with a ladder and some tools can install it…the question is are they installing it correctly? We call these truck and ladder guys Joe Pick-ups and hiring them is like putting your money on black at the roulette table. These guys never have establised businesses, they usually work out of their garages or worse, travel around working out of their trucks. They almost never have the proper insurance coverage to protect you and your home from disaster. And if you think you are going to get a warranty of any kind you are dreaming. They offer a tail light warranty, you have coverage as long as you can see the tail lights of their truck, after that good luck.
2. Make sure they have a brick and mortar location.
A brick and mortar location says a lot about a siding contractor. It shows they are established and you will always know where to find them if you have to. A location with a showroom is a nice addition. Although it’s not absolutely necessary, a showroom shows an even more established business because they invested in displays and extra space to show them. It also allows you to visit them and see what they are offering in a bigger setting.
3. The longer the Contractor has been in Business the Better.
With the recent economic downturn, no business was safe, but a business that has been around for 5 years is always going to be more stable then a company that is a few months old. In fact, it is a well known fact that 9 out of 10 businesses fail within their first 2 years. If your siding contractor bellies up, so does your workmanship warranty. It is worthwhile to choose a siding contractor that has been in business for some time. The longer the better.
4. Research the Company Online.
The internet is a wonderful tool when it comes to researching any contractor. Just go to google and type in the name of the company. Literally hundreds of pages of information on a well established company will come up. Note: if nothing comes up on google, be suspiscious! The company is new or has recently changed it’s name for some reason…very questionable.
Any company that is worth it’s salt will have a good online reputation. The internet age now allows folks to voice their options and share their experiences with others in real time. Lots of bad information about a company is a definite red flag and a lots of good information goes a long way. If there are only a few reviews…it’s a coin toss unfortunately.
5. Check with the BBB.
Three reasons that BBB membership is important. One, it’s not cheap for a company to become a member. This shows that the company at least is financially stable enough to fork out for the membership fee. Two, the BBB is a great organization that protects consumers by arbitrating disputes between individuals and businesses. And three, they list the number of complaints a company has had in the past three years. Lots of complaints…red flag!
6. Look into other organizations the Siding contractor belongs.
Trade organizations and specific industry qualifications are very important. Many product manufacturers have programs that elevate superior contractors especially more difficult to install products like insulated vinyl siding. Organizations like the Vinyl Siding Institute have training and testing programs that ensure the siding installer is competent in the correct procedures and techniques for installing certain siding materials. And memberships into chambers of commerce and other local organizations shows that the company is established and active in the community.
7. Check References.
The biggest red flag that a siding contractor can raise is not being able to give you addresses of siding jobs they have installed. Being able to drive by a few jobs to see the quality of the contractors work is very important. I would commend getting a few addresses or a list of work that has been performed in your area before you even have a salesman come out to measure your home. This way you can see how many they offer up and then you can drive by a few to see the quality of work that was done. If you are really brave you can even knock on a few doors to see how the homeowner’s experience was with the company.
Feeling comfortable about the company that you choose to install your siding is very important. Let’s face it, installing new siding on your home is a big investment that you want to last. Choosing the best siding contractor isn’t always easy. But if you do your due diligence and choose an installer company with a good reputation, that cares about it’s work, that is established, and has references, you will be ahead of the game when it comes time to have a siding contractor representative come to your home to design and price your project.