Having decided to upgrade your home with new siding, you’re probably wondering where to begin. We can help you get started, but first, we’d like to reassure you that you’re doing the right thing. Siding has many benefits:

  1. It’s easy to clean and extremely low-maintenance—it never needs to be sanded, painted, or stained. 
  2. It comes in a wide range of colors and styles to fit the character of almost any home. 
  3. Thanks to lifelike grain patterns and realistic shadow lines, it looks just like real wood.
  4. It creates a return on investment of around 75%.
  5. It’s affordable, and it lasts a lifetime.

Simply put, there’s no better option than siding if you want to maximize your curb appeal and minimize your upkeep without breaking the bank. You can rest easy knowing you have made a good choice! 

Now for the hard part: finding the right contractor to install your new siding properly. It is essential to take the time and ask potential candidates the right questions to determine their reliability and level of expertise. You should also do some investigation into the company on your own first. We’ll show you what to do.

Evaluating the Contractor and Siding Company

Tip #1: Locate the contractor’s office. 

Fortunately, most people are trustworthy and genuine when they approach you or respond to your approach for information. Still, it is always a good idea to be wary of potential scam artists. Scams are commonplace in all areas of life these days. However, siding scams tend to pop up more often after a big storm has caused damage to local homes—these scammers seize the opportunity to get your business but have no intention of actually performing the work. 

A good way to verify that a contractor or siding company is legit is to lay eyes on their office building. A physical address is more trustworthy than a P.O. box. Also, a professional-looking building, preferably with the company’s name displayed on signage or on the building itself, inspires more confidence than a residential building or a spot in a strip mall.

Tip #2: Ask to see examples of their work.

If a contractor is worth their salt, then they have done work they want to showcase. You should be able to find pictures of their work on their website or social media feed.

Check out your candidate's portfolio.

Tip #3: Ask for references and check reviews.

What if the work itself is excellent, but the workers were unpleasant to work with or difficult? Don’t wait until after you hire them to find out—ask for references and speak to previous clients to get the bigger picture. Here are some things you can ask when calling a reference:

  1. Did the contractor show up on time?
  2. Was the work completed on schedule and within the budget?
  3. Was communication with the contractor easy?
  4. Would you hire this contractor again?
  5. Did you have any issues with the contractor?
Tip #4: Ask if they’re insured.

Siding contractors should carry two types of insurance: workman’s compensation and liability. Liability insurance keeps you protected if a worker causes damage to your home, and workman’s comp keeps you protected if your home causes injury to a worker. We recommend that your contractor have both types of insurance. Homeowner’s insurance alone doesn’t always cover damage incurred during siding installation.

Uninsured contractors may be cheaper, but hiring one is always a gamble. Even if an incident does happen to be covered by your homeowner’s insurance, it can result in a higher premium—ultimately costing you money instead of saving it. 

Tip #5: Make sure they’re licensed/registered to do the work.

Some states require exterior modeling contractors to register with the state before doing business, while others require them to obtain a license. To get a license, contractors must take an exam proving their knowledge and skill. In contrast, registration merely provides a written record of who is performing the work—it doesn’t guarantee competency. Licensing is important because the exam involves proving knowledge of state building codes, which ensures the contractor’s work will adhere to local zoning guidelines. Licensing also helps to prevent homeowners from having to deal with potential legal issues. Another thing you can check for is additional certifications. These go beyond state licensing or registration requirements. Additional certificates show that the contractor has put in extra effort to learn about their trade and improve their skills. 

And finally, simply ask how long they’ve been installing siding. If the contractor starts to tell you all about how they got started and how they learned and improved as their business grew, you’ve picked a winner. However, if they hem and haw and lean heavily on their low pricing (or their personality), they may not have enough experience to do the best job possible.

Choosing Quality Siding Products

Tip #1: Prevent Fading from Sun Exposure

Fortunately, this isn’t a problem with quality vinyl siding, which retains its color and appearance for the duration of your home. However, lower quality siding is usually made with lower quality exterior paint, which can fade or discolor over time, turning yellow or chalky. Repainting your discolored siding is always an option, but if you want to prevent faded siding in the first place, invest in quality vinyl siding that has had its color mixed in during manufacturing. This color blending process results in a more even, consistent color and minimizes the risk of the color fading over time. You should also ask your contractor about a color-fade protection warranty. If they are thorough, they will have one.

Tip #2: Pick the Right Brand 

Companies offer a variety of different brands of siding, and as you may expect, some brands are better than others. Ask your contractor beforehand which brand of siding his company uses and do a quick web search to research the product. Your research should tell you:

  1. The availability of energy-saving technologies, such as insulation.
  2. The paint finish options, stylistic elements, and/or features such as realistic shadow lines and wood grain patterns, which will affect the siding’s quality and appearance. (Some of the most popular stylistic options include soffit, scallops, and cedar shakes. To determine the quality of stylistic upgrades, pay attention to their thickness—not sure what to look for, ask us.) 
  3. The measurements of each panel.
  4. The availability of products that aid in the installation process and keep the panels lying flush with your home’s outer walls.
  5. How long the siding can be expected to last. (Be aware that the quality of the installation process itself has a significant impact on the siding’s lifespan. High-quality siding installed by competent, certified professionals can be expected to last even decades longer than the same siding installed by a low-quality contractor.)


Choose the right exterior siding.

Final Tips

Tip #1: Make sure the siding has a warranty.

Quality siding is an excellent investment and can potentially last a lifetime. However, it is still a good idea to make sure you have recourse in the event something goes wrong after installation. Top-quality installers will offer a solid warranty for their siding that covers many different aspects of the product. Unfortunately, there isn’t a warranty out there that covers every condition. Read the terms and conditions of the warranty to find out what the warranty doesn’t include. 

Also, “lifetime” is a relative term. Obviously, there isn’t a vinyl siding out there that will last a literal lifetime – an average of 72 years, according to the World Health Organization. High-quality siding installed by experienced professionals can last as long as 50 years. While lower quality siding (or even high-quality siding installed improperly) may last as little as 5-10 years. Thus, take time to review the warranty to determine its definition of “lifetime”.

Tip #2: Find out who’ll actually be doing the work.

Not all siding companies have a staff of full-time siding installers; some may hire subcontractors. Subcontractors aren’t necessarily less skilled or experienced than full-time installers. But, if it makes you feel more confident, it’s okay to ask what steps the company takes to make sure its subcontractors are capable and qualified. If the company you’re considering does hire subcontractors, it’s essential to make sure the subcontractors are also insured.

Contractors on site.

Tip #3: Ask about their payment schedule.

Take the advice of the Better Business Bureau and avoid paying the full cost up-front, before the project begins. Most reputable siding companies will request a deposit up-front and then accept payments or full payment of the remainder when the work is complete. Some companies offer financing as well, though the money-down and interest rates are often subject to market changes and promotions.

We hope we’ve been helpful!

If you have any other questions about siding installation, please reach out to us on our social media or call us at any of our East Tennessee locations. We’d be happy to help even more!


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