Vinyl siding in Philly: get it right!

Philadelphia, on the northern edge of the humid, subtropical climate zone has an average annual temperature swing of 60 degrees--from 25.5 degrees in January to 85.5 degrees in August. In 2010, Philadelphia recorded the highest snow accumulation ever recorded in the city and 2011 levels are already higher than average. Choosing the right vinyl siding can help you even out the temperatures--at least on the interior of your Philly home--and stay toasty as the snow levels rise.

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Whether you live in a pre-war twin or Victorian in Phoenixville; a bungalow in Ambler; or a ranch, split-level, or colonial in Rittenhouse Square, you want to protect your investment. So when it's time to remodel and perk up your home's exterior, here are some considerations when selecting vinyl siding in Pennsylvania:

  1. Moisture barrier? The Farmers Almanac predicts a stormy, wet 2012 in Pennsylvania. CertainTeed, with headquarters just 20 miles down the road in Valley Forge, recommends their weather-resistant barrier, which breathes to prevent mold, mildew and water damage.
  2. Philadelphia weather? You've heard the phrase, "bigger is better?" In the vinyl siding world, experts agree that "thicker is better." Thicker, insulated siding can keep out more cold in the winter and more heat in the summer and can also last longer and resist damage from that 60 degree seasonal temperature change. Siding generally runs from standard (.044 inches) to super thick (.050 inches). Evaluate the differences with a siding professional; you may not need the most expensive option.

6 tips for researching Philadelphia siding contractors

Your job isn't done until you find a Philadelphia siding contractor for installation. Here are some resources that can make your research easier:

  1. Fill out the simple form on this website and receive information from a few qualified contractors in your area.
  2. The Pennsylvania Builder's Association provides articles about understanding "remodeler jargon" and hiring a reputable contractor in Pennsylvania.
  3. The "find a licensed contractor" widget on this website can point you toward reputable Philadelphia siding contractors.
  4. The Vinyl Siding Institute provides a search tool to find VSI-certified installers and installation companies in Philadelphia zip codes.
  5. According to the Contractors License Reference Site, construction contractors in Pennsylvania are not required to have a license; however, home improvement contractors must be registered with the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General. You can search on their Home Improvement Consumer Information site to see if a contractor is registered; the site does not provide recommendations.
  6. The Philadelphia Better Business Bureau provides consumer reviews. Three long-standing, Philadelphia siding contractors who've received A+ ratings include Bianchi Siding and Windows (1982), McCarthy Brothers Carpentry Inc. (1989) and McNulty Roofing and Siding (1992).

These tips and resources can help you choose the best vinyl siding and siding contractor for your Philly home remodeling project. Informed consumers generally make better choices; be informed and be confident in your choices.

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