Jim Mallery | Improvement Center Columnist | December 13, 2011
Whether you need new siding or repairs to existing siding, if you're not handy with saw and nail, you're going to need a siding contractor. And if you don't have contacts, finding that contractor can be worrisome. Here are six tips for selecting the right person.
How to locate a good siding contractor
- Take names: You can use the form on this page to get quotes from siding contractors in your area. If you have friends or neighbors who have had new siding, pick their brains, or if you know a general contractor, query him. Most general siding contractors will install any of the common lap-type siding, such as cedar, vinyl or cement-fiber; however, if you need stucco, brick or stone work, you need a contractor who specializes in that material.
- Check up: Make sure your contractor is licensed, insured and bonded - check with the pertinent licensing agency in your state, and ask the contractor to provide proof of insurance and bond. Also, check with your state and the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been undue complaints filed against the person.
- References: Get references from the contractor. Ask the references if their work was done satisfactorily and on time. And ask if the contractor was easy to work with, responded to phone messages, etc. Ask if the crew was courteous and tidy, or if it played the boom box at top volume and left cigarette butts and cola cans strewn about.
- Bids: Get detailed bids, and don't compare apples with oranges. Vinyl siding, for instance, has a huge range of grades (and cost), based on thickness, insulation, fade-resistance and crack-resistance. Cedar siding can vary on thickness and wood grade. Is the siding to be painted, and if so, will it be primed first? Does the bid include clean up and disposal of old siding? Does it include taxes? If permits are required, are they included in the cost?
- Learn: You should read about siding installation so that you can discuss the project intelligently with the contractor--it helps you get just what you want, and lets the contractor know that you will watch his work carefully.
- Payment: Contractors usually want their money up front, but it always is best to hold a large portion of the payment until after the job is finished--it motivates the contractor and protects you.
Hiring someone you don't know personally can be nerve-wracking, but following these six tips for selecting a siding contractor may greatly ease your angst. Get started in your contractor search now by completing the simple form on this page.