The 14 Questions to Ask A Siding Contractor Before Signing a Contract

Home siding lasts a long time, protecting your home from the elements and serving as a defining feature of its curb appeal. That means when you need to replace your siding it is essential that you take your time to find a great siding contractor to do the job.

These are the right questions that every homeowner should ask prospective installers before starting any new siding project:

What type of siding replacements do you offer?

Not every siding company installs every type of siding! There are some companies which specialize in vinyl siding, while others are stucco experts. Some brands of siding, like James Hardie fiber cement, need to be installed by certified installers.

Asking this question first can help you find an installer who offers the type of siding you are interested in!

New grey blue siding put on house.

What brands of siding do you carry?

This is a good follow-up to the first question, as there is a lot of product variability even within siding styles. For example, the cheapest vinyl siding may last only half as long as more premium vinyls. In the process of asking this question, your installer will usually tell you a bit about the products they carry and which they recommend for you.

How long is the product warranty and what does it include?

One indicator of quality siding is a comprehensive and lengthy warranty. This means that the manufacturer is willing to financially guarantee that their product will provide long lasting durability.

For example, James Hardie siding offers a 15 year warranty against fading on top of their 30 year warranty against cracking, splitting, warping, rot, and termites while other fiber cement brands may offer shorter durations and cover fewer conditions.

Keep in mind that warranty and product lifespan are not the same thing – high quality products can easily outlast their warranty duration. Your contractor will be able to give you a better estimate of how long the siding products they carry last in your local environment.

Are you licensed and insured?

This is another question to ask upfront as working with an unlicensed or uninsured installer is a huge mistake! Siding installations are big jobs which should be left to the professionals.

Licenses ensure that your siding installer knows and adheres to local regulations while liability insurance protects you in the event that someone is injured or your property is damaged during the installation.

Do you have workers’ compensation insurance?

In addition to liability insurance, it is important to ask if your installer has workers’ compensation insurance. The reason for this is simple: in many jurisdictions, if a worker gets hurt while working on your home, you as the homeowner can be considered the de facto ‘employer.’ This means that the worker could be entitled to pursue compensation directly from you!

Professional siding contractors will have workers’ compensation insurance to protect both you and their highly skilled employees.

Do you have any referrals or past work I could see?

Siding installation is a skill that is won with practice and experience. A good contractor will have ample evidence of their past work, and may even have completed some recent local siding jobs which you could view in person.

Check online reviews!

Ok, so this isn’t a question that you are going to ask your siding contractor per se, but it is still an important step! Read online reviews of the companies you are thinking about working with.

You want to see lots of good reviews, and ideally plenty of them should be recent. Additionally, keep an eye out for how the company responds to negative reviews.

If you do enough siding jobs, a mistake will eventually happen. However, a good contractor will do what it takes to make it right.

Rennisons James Hardie Preferred Contractor Alliance badges

“Workers did an excellent job replacing siding on my house.Took time to do it right and were very neat.. Good job at a fair price.”
Don Bishop

Crews working to protect this house with James Hardie Siding.

“They did a great job! Everything went smoothly and they finished faster than I expected. I’d definitely recommend them.”
Allison Reese

Crews working to protect this house with James Hardie Siding.

“Rennison Roofing made the experience of having a new roof installed very pleasant. Lloyd was very professional to deal with and his crew did an excellent job. Everyone who has seen it says how good it looks. I would highly recommend Rennison Roofing to get the job done right.”
Charlene Counts

Do you include a workmanship warranty?

In addition to product warranties, it is not uncommon for siding installers to provide a warranty on their work as well. These vary in length, but typically last for 6 months to a few years. These warranties offer peace of mind and ensure that you aren’t left with unexpected repair bills shortly after your new siding is installed!

What is the payment schedule?

Talking about money is sometimes considered rude – but this is not a time to be shy! Ask your contractor how they accept payments and when each payment is due. It is quite common for contractors to take part of the payment upfront and the rest after the siding job is completed. However, some contractors may have other ways of divvying up the payments.

One payment style that is a red flag is paying most or all of the total in advance. This is a practice used by some scammers and con-artists and we recommend proceeding with caution.

Can I get an itemized, written estimate?

By getting an itemized estimate you eliminate uncertainty over what is included in the cost. This covers everything from siding and soffit material costs, labor, waste disposal, and more.

If you have any questions about something you see (or don’t see!) on the estimate, follow-up with your contractor and get it clarified before you begin.

What permits will I need to re-side my home?

Depending on local regulations and building codes you may need permits in order to re-side your home. In general, the permitting process is the homeowner’s legal responsibility, but an experienced contractor will be able to help you with the process.

How are any needed repairs handled?

There is a non-zero possibility that there is some minor damage hiding beneath your siding which will need to be fixed before your new home exterior can be installed. It’s a good idea to know what your installer’s policies and prices are when it comes to this sort of thing so you can be prepared for the eventuality.

Architectural siding by James Hardie. Installed in and around Columbia South Carolina.

Do you have your own crews or use subcontractors?

This question is good to ask – but it is important not to oversimplify the answers you receive. In general, when the crews work directly for the contractor they will be more experienced and reliable. However, it is not correct to say that subcontractors are incapable of performing good work!

If they are using subcontractors, you should ask how the company is ensuring quality work is being performed as well as check that the subcontractors are covered by their insurance.

When can you start?

Oftentimes good contractors are busy contractors and they may have a waiting list which is weeks or months long. It’s a good idea to plan out your siding projects with lots of time to spare so you can choose the contractor that you want, even if they won’t be able to start immediately.

Another thing to keep in mind, is that some types of siding may have product backorders. This can add considerable delays which may influence your choice of siding.

How long will the installation process take?

This is important! An experienced installer will be able to give you a clear idea of how long it will take for them to complete your installation. Ask for a timeline so you’ll know when to expect the siding materials and dumpster to be delivered, when siding removal begins, and when to expect them to be finished installing your new siding.

There Are No Dumb Questions!

While we think these are the questions that everyone should ask – we are not suggesting that these are the only questions you should ask! Whenever embarking on significant home improvement projects it is essential that you get as much information as you need to feel comfortable with the process.

If you’re ready to find the right contractor for your siding project, we are the Midland’s vinyl and James Hardie siding specialists!