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Guide to replacing home siding

F

ew home improvements can
transform a home more than
the installation of new siding.
Replacing siding can be a costly
venture, but the right siding will
maintain its appeal for years to come.
Updated siding can improve home’s
energy value by enabling owners to
save on heating and cooling costs. A
new design and color also can improve
a home’s property value and set it
apart from neighboring properties.
According to the Professional Builder’s
Home Exteriors Survey, exterior design
and materials used are a top priority
for new home buyers.
Project costs depend on the size of the
home as well as which siding material
homeowners choose. Considering new
siding is a major renovation, it pays to
get the job done right.

Choose a qualified contractor
It is important for consumers to
do their research when it comes to
siding materials and contractors. A
contractor who takes shortcuts or
improperly installs the siding may void
a manufacturer’s warranty. Always
ask family members and friends for
recommendations before choosing
a contractor, and check out each
prospective contractor’s work for
yourself. Interview more than one contractor and compare both their costs
and what they offer. Ask plenty of questions of the contractors, and avoid
those who try hard-sell methods. Questionable contractors may try strategies
like a promise of a considerable discount if you “act now” or scare tactics that
your home is unsafe in its present condition.
Be sure the contractor carries general liability insurance as well as workers’
compensation insurance for their subcontractors. Ask for a license number as
well and verify its accuracy.
Select a durable material
Siding comes in all types of materials — from wood to plastic to fiber cement
— but vinyl is among the most popular due to cost and availability. Research
how well particular brands of siding stand up to conditions and which are
the least likely to crack, warp or discolor. Find this information from online
reviews or through consumer advocacy groups. Also remember, vinyl and
other synthetic materials have improved and can now mimic the look of

Finding a qualified
contractor is an
important component
to any siding project.

many other materials for a fraction of the cost.
Calculate how much you need
Before you price out siding with contractors, estimate how much you will need
for your house. Consumer Reports suggests multiplying the height times the
width of each rectangular section of your house in feet, going by what you can
measure from the ground, to determine their areas. Multiply the approximate
height and width of gables and other triangular surfaces and divide each total
by two. Then add all the totals. To allow for waste, don’t subtract for doors,
windows or other areas that won’t
be covered. Finally, divide the total square footage by 100 to estimate how
many squares of siding you will need.
A square represents 100 square feet. Knowing how much you need can
save you money.
Vinyl siding can completely transform the look of a home and make it more
energy efficient. Consumers who do their homework will get the best value for
their investments.

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