For many home and business owners, the very first step toward installing new siding can be the most intimidating. Hiring a contractor is a new experience for many, and it can be difficult to know what it is you are supposed to be looking for. It doesn’t have to be difficult, though. With a few simple questions, you can get things off to a great start.
Here are some of the questions that our siding contractor friends recommend you ask the professionals that you interview with.
How many years have you been in the siding business?
This is one of the very first questions you will want to ask your contractor. The number of years they have been in the business will greatly affect both the price that they charge for their services and the peace of mind you can have when the project is in their hands. At the minimum, a contractor should have one full year of experience.
Do you have a current and valid contractor’s license?
Asking this question will ensure that you are not being taken advantage of by an unqualified individual. It will also ensure the validity of your home insurance, as some policies will render void payouts on a house that has had new siding installed by someone without a contractor’s license. This will also provide some measure of security that the contractor is current with building codes and construction trends.
What does your quote include?
This is an important question to ask because not all builders draw their contracts up the same. Some will include only labor costs, others will include labor and materials, and others will include labor, materials, and waste removal. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you know exactly what it is that you are getting for your money.
Is siding your main area of business? If not, what is?
The best siding contractors tend to work almost exclusively with siding. While some do branch out into other areas of construction, the majority will remain close to their paneled siding boards. If the contractor you are interviewing has a different area of expertise, it is wise to find out what that is and how their skills transfer.
Are you familiar with the major exterior materials, including cedar, fiber cement, vinyl, and natural wood?
You want to make sure that the contractor you are hiring is well versed in the various siding materials that you are looking into. The better informed your contractor is, the better their recommendations for your home will be. Make sure that you ask about climate specific siding materials as well.
When can you start work on this project?
In many cases, siding contractors will be booked out for a few days to a few weeks, and sometimes even a few months. If you’re on a time crunch, you’ll want to make sure that the contractor you are hiring is able to start the job in a timely manner. Ask them what their schedule is like before you get too far into the process.
How long do you expect this project to take?
Different contractors have different paces, and it will often depend on how many people they have working with them. You will want to check in with your contractor and find out how long they expect this project to take. Plan your schedule accordingly.
With these questions in your repertoire, you are already ahead of the competition in seeking out the best siding contractor. Take a deep breath and enjoy the process. You’re about to have a beautiful new exterior.
Christina Warner is an interior and exterior home designer. She graduated from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, BC and is working with different construction companies to help them build dream homes for their clients. Christina loves Scandinavian simplicity and Italian coziness in design.