As a rule of thumb, you should always vet contractors before hiring them. In addition to checking their qualifications, you may want to find out where their main office is located. Hiring contractors from a local siding company has its advantages after all.
What are the advantages of hiring a local siding contractor?
Faster and Easier Vetting
Asking a prospective contractor for references is part of the vetting process. The problem is checking references and getting a feel for the contractor’s reputation can be tricky if the references are not based in the same area as you. If the references are in your local area, at least you’ll be able to easily find them and even ask them a few questions about their experiences with a prospective contractor. Plus, it’s also easier to check the work of local contractors. Instead of relying on edited pictures, you can visit their offices to see their portfolio or model homes yourself.
Here’s a tip: if you’re planning a siding replacement, don’t just rely on online research. Natural lighting can affect the aesthetic appeal of certain kinds of siding, which is why it’d be better if you can examine siding samples or the exterior of model homes up close.
Familiarity With the Local Climate and Building Codes
Another reason why you should hire a contractor from a local siding company is that their contractors are more familiar with your area’s climate, which can affect the durability of your siding. For instance, Virginia often experiences hot and humid weather conditions, which is why contractors in the state would usually recommend moisture-resistant siding, such as fiber cement or vinyl siding.
Plus, if you’re starting a large home improvement project, local contractors have extensive knowledge about local building codes, ensuring your project is always up to code.
Quicker Emergency Response
Every second counts during a siding emergency. The longer it takes for your contractors to repair holes in your siding, the higher the risk storm damage will affect other parts of your home. Given these time constraints, it makes practical sense to hire local contractors. Since their office is not too far from your home, they’ll be able to quickly conduct emergency siding repair to mitigate storm damage.
Extensive Local Network
In cases wherein your exterior suffers considerable damage, or storm damage affects other parts of your home, your contractor may need to bring in other professionals, such as plumbers or electricians. Ideally, plumbers and electricians should also be based locally for the reasons discussed earlier. Fortunately, the issue of finding local plumbers or electricians shouldn’t be a problem for local siding contractors – they usually have extensive local connections.
Quality Service and the Personal Touch
A siding project, or any home improvement project or roof repair for that matter, is essentially a collaboration between you and your contractor, which is why it’s important to hire a contractor with whom it’s easy to talk. Most homeowners prefer hiring local contractors because of their personalized service. Local contractors have a reputation to uphold in their local community, which is why you can rest easy knowing they’ll do their best to provide quality service.
Support for the Local Economy
Small businesses are the lifeblood of the local economy. Hiring local contractors ensures the money you spend stays in your community. Some analysts estimate that 68% of the $100 you spend hiring local companies goes toward supporting other local businesses and families in your area.
Questions to Ask a Prospective Contractor
Keep in mind you still need to ensure your local siding contractor is qualified for the job. Here are some questions you should ask a local contractor:
- Are you insured? – A license is proof contractors are allowed to practice their trade in the state. Make sure to ask for their license numbers as well as proof of workers’ compensation, which is a requirement in most states. Workers’ compensation insurance protects you from liabilities should an accident occur on your property.
- Do you hire subcontractors? – The use of subcontractors is a red flag for any contractor. When contractors hire a subcontractor, they’re essentially hiring someone else to do the job you paid them to do. The problem with hiring subcontractors is that there’s no guarantee they’re qualified for the job and as such can potentially compromise the quality of the project. Should problems arise in a roofing or siding project involving subcontractors, it’s nearly impossible to find out who’s responsible for the workmanship defects. As such, it’s best to hire a contractor with full-time employees.
- What brands do you offer? – When doing a siding replacement project, it’s best to stick to reputable brands, such as James Hardie® and CertainTeed®.
- Do you have any certifications? – Certifications are proof a contractor has undergone additional training. If you’re using a specific brand, it’d be a good idea to look for factory-certified contractors who are specifically trained to install a specific product.
- What types of projects have you done in the past? – Certain exterior projects, such as siding installations, require a high level of expertise. That’s why you should ask your potential contractors about the siding projects they’ve handled in the past.
Questions About Your Siding Replacement
Of course, asking a contractor about their qualifications can only tell you so much. You can gauge their qualifications better by asking them questions about your project. If you’re planning a siding replacement, you can ask a prospective contractor these questions:
- What are the pros and cons of this particular siding? – A local siding contractor who’s familiar with your area’s climate should be able to give you some recommendations. Before choosing one from the recommendations, make sure to ask the contractor about the advantages and disadvantages of a particular siding.
- What are your alternative siding options? – It’d also be a good idea to ask about your alternative options – don’t just settle for the first few recommendations your contractor gives you.
What are the qualities you should look for in a siding replacement? Durability, ease of maintenance and aesthetic appeal. A siding replacement’s ease of maintenance, in particular, can affect its warranty. Failure to routinely maintain your siding can void its warranty, which is why you should look for a siding replacement with excellent durability and minimal maintenance needs.
- What are the other parts of your exterior they’ll be replacing? – Most homeowners prefer to update the trim, soffits and eaves during the installation of new siding. As such, unless the contractors ask about any of these details, most contractors will assume you want to update these parts.
- Can they recommend visualization tools that can help you finalize your exterior design? – Siding is the largest part of your exterior and, therefore, has the largest impact on your curb appeal. For instance, to help homeowners plan the exterior design for their home, James Hardie created an online visualization tool. Keep in mind that this tool isn’t a substitute for assistance from a professional contractor. Coordinating different colors can be tricky, which is why it’s best to consult a professional siding contractor.
Vetting contractors can be tedious, but it’s a necessary task. Here’s another vetting tip: the number of years a contractor has been working in the industry should give you a good idea of their level of expertise.
Looking for experienced contractors in your area? Orion Home Improvements LLC, a contractor with over a decade’s worth of experience offers professional exterior services, including siding installation as well as residential and commercial roofing services.