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Category Archives: Hiring a Contractor
When to Replace the Vinyl Siding on Your Home
Even though replacing your home’s vinyl siding is not on the top of your to-do list, this is definitely something everyone must do at a certain point. After all, the siding is something that cracks, breaks or simply wears out. Eventually, it will begin to leak, which can cause even bigger problems and more expensive, major repairs.
But, how do you know when it’s time to replace the vinyl siding on your home?
There are several signs you should pay attention to if you want to avoid additional expenses. For this purpose, we have made a list of the 10 top signs that indicate that your siding needs attention.
1. High Bills for Cooling and Heating
When you start noticing an increase in cooling or heating bills, the reason for this is very likely to be the vinyl siding. However, make sure to rule out other factors that can cause this, such as:
- A leaking, bad roof
- Lack of insulation on your attic
You can best check if the vinyl siding is the culprit for your ‘through the roof’ bills if you speak to your neighbors. If there are houses with similar structures to yours that have smaller cooling and heating bills, this is an indication that your wall insulation on the home’s exterior is seriously flawed.
2. You Must Frequently Paint Your Home
If your home requires frequent painting, this is a sign of damaged or aged vinyl siding. When your siding is good, it should keep the color and shape for at least eight years. However, if your house needs painting that is more frequent than this, this is an indicator that the existing siding is peeling, chipping or cracking.
3. Visible Signs of Damage
Every once in a while, take the time to perform a visual inspection of your home’s siding. You can even use a screwdriver in the following way:
- look for warped siding or rotting boards
- poke under warped siding and check how solid the layer is
You can also look for cracked or loose siding. Still, do not be alarmed if only a few boards are cracked after a storm. You can always replace one or two bad boards without spending a fortune on the entire siding.
However, always be sure to check underneath layers and see if there is damage you have not noticed.
In the case that large sections of your existing vinyl siding are visibly damaged, this indicates that you must immediately replace your siding.
4. Fungus, Mildew or Mold on the Siding
Any type of growth such as these three points out to the fact that you must replace your siding to avoid bigger costs down the line. Look for mold, fungus or mildew at or near the seams in your home’s siding. If you notice such problems, this means that water is being held inside your walls.
5. Siding is Fading Severely
Color fading is not that grave, but can certainly show you that the vinyl siding ages as everything else does.
Every siding has a life expectancy, even the most expensive ones. Some are formulated to hold color for a longer period, while some colors fade severely after only a few years.
Once you notice that the siding’s color has faded a lot since the installment, considering replacing it with a new one. As the colors age so does the waterproofing and function of your siding.
6. Presence of Bubbles Under the Siding’s Surface
Bubbles under the surface of your home’s vinyl siding are a certain indication that there is water trapped underneath. And we all know that if water gets trapped underneath your siding, there is something wrong with it. After all, keeping moisture away from your walls is one of the main purposes of a siding.
7. Dry Rot Below the Surface
Use the screwdriver to check if your siding has dry rot problems. Checking this before the problem becomes visible is a great option to save some money in the long run since it is usually too late for your siding once the dry rot comes to the surface.
Tap on the siding’s surface with the screwdriver’s handle. This will help you reveal weak dry rot spots, even if they are not visible on the exterior.
8. Holes in the Siding
When you notice even minor holes in your home’s siding, look at this as a cause for concern. Insects can damage your siding and cause holes and if they got through your siding, this can easily be followed by other troubles such as water entering the vinyl siding and walls. If not prevented in time, the repair later can cost you a fortune.
9. Maintenance is to Hard
Maintenance can also be an indicator of when replacing vinyl siding on your home. If you no longer have the time or energy to maintain the siding, consider upgrading to vinyl siding that requires lower maintenance.
10. Higher Resale Value
If you are planning to sell your home and move to a new location, consider changing the aesthetics of the property. Changing your siding comes at an affordable cost when compared to other types of repairs and it is one of the best returns on investment.
Even if you do not want to sell your home, but simply want it to look its best, a new siding is a great way to make the home look better.
There are many reasons why you may want to install a new vinyl siding on your house. Starting from protection from rain, wind, insects, and snow to aesthetics preferences, replacing your siding in time is the best investment you can make. Letting the siding age and get damaged may cost you a fortune later on.
Finally, a word of caution – replacing your siding is not as simple as you may think. For this reason, it is best to hire a professional who will cut and fit the siding by making sure it is windproof and waterproof. This is a job that requires a certain amount of experience.
Upgrading the exterior of your home improves its value, enhances its appearance, and also creates a more comfortable environment in which to live. For projects that require a professional’s help, it’s important to work with a professional contractor who has a history of providing exceptional service to customers.
Finding the best contractor means acting like your own human resources department and examining the qualifications of a few local renovation businesses to decide who is the best candidate for the job. A great contractor will earn your respect by remaining on schedule, offering clarity in pricing, and providing consistent communication.
Here are some essential characteristics that separate a ho-hum contractor from the best contractor in your area, as well as some of the steps you’ll want to take to find a great home improvement partner.
Don’t Rush the Search
If you’re looking at an emergency situation like a giant hole in the roof that needs immediate work, it’s probably not going to be possible to conduct lengthy interviews and research. However, if you’re looking at a timeline that doesn’t require immediate action, the time you take to educate yourself on your project and your potential contractors is worth the extra time it takes to reach the project’s conclusion.
Bankrate offers some “timely” advice on your timeline for finding a contractor:
“The best thing to do before you start interviewing contractors is educate yourself on the project… The more you know, the more able you’ll be to ask savvy questions and make smart decisions concerning the project.”
A good contractor will share a wealth of information with you about your project, but it can’t hurt to come to the table as an educated customer. Knowing what questions to ask will help you find an experienced and trustworthy contractor.
Look at Referrals and Reputation
Many great contractors don’t need to advertise at all because they receive so many recommendations from past clients. They’ll also tend to have a positive vibe on the internet as far as past customers are concerned.
Tip: Don’t rely entirely on the reviews you find online. They’re a good way to enhance the information you have about your contractor, but the internet is a pretty wild place when it comes to total accuracy, particularly on review sites like Yelp.
USA Today provides some sage advice on personal recommendations and online reviews:
“Usually, the easiest is to begin by seeking recommendations from family members and friends. Tap into social networking sites, such as Facebook, to expand your reach. Keep in mind though that anyone making a personal referral may not have had the same type of work done or had it done on the same budget as you’re anticipating.”
A great way to weed through reviews and recommendations is to find instances of similar work. For example, if you’re looking at getting new windows, look for reviews and recommendations that include windows or resemble the project you’d like to plan.
Narrowing the List
Once you’ve narrowed down your list to a few awesome contractors, there are a few additional steps you can take to choose the contractor who will work best for your project.
- Ask friends about their experiences – Some of the best recommendations come from friends. Ask them about the outcome of their own home renovation projects.
- Conduct interviews with each contractor – Ask each contractor simple questions about his or her experience and licensing.
- Meet with your contractor – A meeting with your contractor is important because you need to find someone who you feel can bring your home improvement project to life.
- Check out your contractor’s other projects – You might be able to visit the site of another project where your contractor is currently working.
- Ask for bids – The price isn’t the only consideration you should have when choosing a contractor, but it can be a deciding factor.
Read more about these steps at This Old House or download our free guide: “Seven Questions to Ask When Hiring an Exterior Remodeling Contractor in Massachusetts” for valuable guidance on your home improvement project.
After You’ve Hired Your Contractor
A professional contractor has probably finished many projects exactly like the one you’ve hired him or her to complete. It’s okay to trust what your contractor tells you for things like the scope of the project and the time required to complete it.
It may feel difficult at first to place your trust in a stranger who may be changing a significant feature of your home, but that’s why it’s important to conduct your research and choose a contractor with whom you feel comfortable.
U.S. News & World Report recommends keeping in contact with your contractor throughout the project:
“For a big job, you may need to talk every day. If you see a potential issue, speak up immediately. Something that is done wrong will be harder to fix later after your contractor has packed up and moved on to his next job.”
Even if the job you’ve hired your contractor for will take no more than a few hours or days (such as replacing your exterior doors), it’s okay to ask your contractor questions when you’re confused or need information about the project.
Work With the Professionals at O’Sullivan Installs
Is your home due for an exterior upgrade? Want to learn more about your siding project, new windows, or other home renovation? Contact O’Sullivan Installs for a FREE Consultation and download our free guide: “Seven Questions to Ask When Hiring an Exterior Remodeling Contractor in Massachusetts” for valuable guidance on your home improvement project.
O’Sullivan Installs has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the consumer review service in 2014.
“We at O’Sullivan Installs are deeply honored to once again receive the Super Service Award from Angie’s List. We truly appreciate all of our customers, and their support over the past 7 years. We take to heart all of their reviews, and we constantly make policy change based on our Angie’s List reviews. So we are always working to improve ourselves for our customers. We are very proud of the work our staff has done over the past year, and look forward to providing our customers another year of great service all at a superior value”
~ Tim O’Sullivan, Owner of O’Sullivan Installs
“Only about 5 percent of the companies O’Sullivan Installs competes with in Greater Billerica are able to earn our Super Service Award,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “It’s a mark of consistently great customer service.”
Angie’s List Super Service Award 2014 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company must be in good standing with Angie’s List, have a fully complete profile, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.
Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality. Members can find the 2013 Super Service Award logo next to company names in search results on AngiesList.com.
Want Help With Your Exterior Remodeling Project?
Is your home due for an exterior upgrade? Contact O’Sullivan Installs for a FREE Consultation and download our free guide: “ Seven Questions to Ask When Hiring an Exterior Remodeling Contractor in Massachusetts” for valuable guidance on your home improvement project.
Join our Hundreds of Customers who know why we have been awarded the Super Service Award for past 8 consecutive years.