A home’s exterior is something that a lot of homeowners tend to forget about until an issue occurs. When it comes to other components of a home’s outside structure, like the shingles on the roof, or the siding on the walls, these less visible, less “sexy” parts of a home tend to be lower on the priority list compared to interior features like renovating a kitchen or bathroom.
But the home’s exterior plays an important role not just in presenting an attractive exterior, but in protecting your home, and playing a role in your HVAC efficiency. It’s a good idea to maintain the siding of your home, especially if a casual, visual inspection reveals some damage and rough spots. But as with any major home improvement, to get the best results, you need to hire a siding contractor with the expertise and experience. How do you do that? Read on.
The most important thing you can do before you even talk to a potential contractor is research—and shortlist—your best candidates. What you’re looking for is a combination of experience and quality results. You can first lookup available siding contractors in your area, then compare those possible candidates with online reviews, or even evaluations from trusted sources like friends and family if they’ve already had experience with these contractors.
If you see that a contractor has had many years of experience working in your area, that’s a good sign. It means the contractor is intimately familiar with the effects of local temperature and weather and has been successfully protecting homes in the region from the specific challenges the local environment poses.
The reviews about a siding contractor will tell a different, no less important story; how well a contractor operates.
Keep close tabs on both positive and negative reviews, and make note of how many positive reviews are present, and also why the reviews are positive or negative. If you’re finding a lot of negative reviews, especially if the reviews cite problems like final bills much higher than initial estimates, or poor workmanship, then stay far away.
Get All The Siding Options
Another important aspect of a good siding contractor is that you should be getting a range of different siding options. A contractor will obviously make some recommendations based on expertise, and the needs of your home after you’ve explained them, but you should always have a choice of different types of siding. If the contractor is only offering vinyl siding—which is usually the cheapest choice—and doesn’t have the ability to offer more premium choices such as composite, brick, or even wood, if you’ve really got your heart set on that, this may not be the contractor for you.
Get Your Guarantees & Coverage
The other thing you want to ensure before you sign any contract to start work is that you and your contractor are both legally protected. Professional contractors will be insured, and be able to provide documentation about themselves and the work that’s about to be done. If a contractor doesn’t have insurance coverage for either themselves or their employees or refuses to provide you with an estimate in writing, these are all warning signs.
Documentation is legally binding. Provision of insurance documents or even your estimate and contract for the work done should, in theory, protect both you and the contractor in the event of a disagreement or dispute. A contractor that is unwilling to provide anything in print form is trying to reduce the chances of evidence that can be used in court. Stay away from any contractor that refuses to leave a paper trail behind.