Hiring a vinyl siding contractor? How to compare siding installation quotes.

Before hiring a vinyl siding contractor, get at least three bids. Soliciting bids from several contractors not only provides a range of cost comparisons, but you can also review the contractors' personal references, past work experiences, estimated time lines for completion, and communications skills. For accurate apple-to-apple comparisons you need to understand the specifics of each estimate.

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Essentials for vinyl siding contractors' estimates:

  1. The cost and description of all materials needed for your project, including a vapor barrier, nails, rigid insulation, and the vinyl siding itself with matching trim pieces and siding accessories. Choose a style and brand of vinyl siding only after thoroughly researching the product and inspecting an actual siding sample.
  2. The cost and description of the labor needed to complete your project, including removal and disposal of your house's old siding, installation of the new siding, and the clean-up of the site after completion.
  3. An hourly cost and materials mark-up for unforeseen work. This might include replacing damaged exterior sheathing, or caulking and sealing your home's windows. Oftentimes these needed "extras" are not known until the old siding is removed, but ask that the quote includes an hourly rate for possible complications.
  4. The cost and description of any rental equipment needed to perform the work and complete the project, such as a man-lift, scaffolding, or on-site dumpsters.

In order to fully understand and accurately compare the quotes for your siding project, each written estimate needs a detailed time line for completion, a copy of the contractor's license and liability insurance, and any other information specific to your project. If a contractor is unwilling to provide such details, but instead submits a total project cost, then you'll be better off not hiring him. Instead, hire a communicative contractor who provides all the details, costs, and timing for your siding project.

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