I’ve been in this industry for over 11 years now and I still get surprised from time to time. In particular, I’m always amazed when I have an opportunity to look in on a finished siding job that we didn’t get and see how many of the basic installation requirements were not followed. I won’t bore you by reciting every tiny detail that goes into a quality siding installation, but this topic does provide me with an excellent opportunity to offer some general recommendations and guidelines that you can help ensure that you get what you expect from your siding project.
Do Your Homework
When having siding installed, it’s well worth the time to do some research on how your siding of choice should be installed. You don’t have to become a qualified contractor, but you should be an educated consumer. Visit the manufacturer’s website. Chances are you’ll find the warranty and installation guidelines available for download. Read them. They’re dreadfully boring, but considering the size of the investment you’re about to make, it’s worth it to slog through them to gain a better of understanding of how the manufacturer says the product should be installed.
There are some excellent sales people in this industry who are masters at making you feel like you are getting the best product and that theirs are the most qualified installers. Which is fine as long as it’s true. And if it is, those salespeople shouldn’t have any trouble answering some basic questions, such as:
Are you certified to install the product or have you ever installed the siding yourself?
If not, who is responsible to ensure your company installs it properly?
Are your crews certified?
What is your labor warranty? Do you guarantee to install to meet manufacturer’s or industry standards? If a problem arises and it’s determined to be an installation error, what will you do?
These questions are important because almost all products specifically state that the warranty will be voided if the siding is installed improperly. It’s easy to understand why a manufacturer would protect themselves and their warranty for being liable for shoddy workmanship. Asking a few direct questions can afford you the very same protection!
The Vinyl Siding Institute has a Certified Installers page on their website (www.vinylsiding.org) that lets you locate a qualified contractor in your area or even determine whether the company you are considering is certified. The feature is free, easy, and quick so be sure to use it.
Fiber cement products are somewhat different. There is no centralized authority as with vinyl siding, so you’re left to check with the individual manufacturers, some of whom have certifications and others who don’t.
Also be careful of “preferred vendors.” This designation doesn’t necessarily mean a contractor has been certified to install a product properly, but simply means that they’ve committed to selling that product exclusively so they can get leads directly from the manufacturer. Through the years I have seen many jobs installed improperly by these so called “preferred vendors” and it’s really frustrating. I have heard horror stories over and over and they never end well for the home owner. Oftentimes these disagreements come down to small deviations from the manufacturer’s requirements, but it can still be enough to void the warranty.
Before you spend thousands of dollars of your hard earned money for a siding installation, take the time to learn as much as you can about the specific product you’re interested in, the qualifications and certifications of the installer, as well as the manufacturer’s warranty. And don’t be afraid to ask direct questions of the salesperson you’re dealing with. You may find that with that little bit of research you actually know more about a product and a manufacturer than the salesperson does. In that case, keep looking. It’s your home and you shouldn’t settle for anything less than the very best siding you can afford installed by a certified, professional, fully-qualified siding installer. Make sure you get it.