Re-Siding Our House: Estimates and Decisions

So after a little project hiatus (and a much-to-be-desired hallway closet post) we are tackling our biggest, most expensive project to date. Replacing our siding!

It’s something we’ve known would need to happen since we moved in four years ago and we decided that we couldn’t put it off any longer. This past winter was not only the coldest winter I can remember, it also brought the highest energy bills we’ve ever paid; two things we hope to never repeat.

Before Siding August '14

We set the plan into motion at the beginning of May by making a list of siding companies in our area. (This is one project we had no desire to take on ourselves.) We pretty much knew that we wanted vinyl siding since we liked the idea of a material that would require less maintenance than our current wood siding and wouldn’t break the bank. Also, most of the houses on our street have vinyl siding so it will fit right in. We had also considered trying to salvage our wood siding, but the damage has already been done and it was going to cost almost as much to repair, as it will be to replace it.

Before Siding August '14

For those of you who are wondering wood siding needs to be painted or stained every 3-5 years to ensure it is properly protected from the elements. If you have wood siding and don’t have a lot of rotting boards it may be more cost effective to spruce up what you already have.  It never hurts to get some estimates!

After googling, reading reviews and perusing websites we chose ten companies to contact. I should mentioned that one of these companies only did steel siding; I thought it would make a good comparison and was curious to know what the cost difference would be.

Since all of the companies requested someone be home I had to schedule them after work over a two week period. Most of them lasted between 30-40 minutes but a couple were closer to an hour.

Rotting Siding August '14

Because we have a lot of rotting siding boards one of our big questions was if they would plan to remove the existing siding or just side over it. I was shocked that 80% of them said that we should only remove the rotting boards, and in some cases not even replace them with anything before putting new siding up. Their reasoning for this was that by removing the existing siding we would be decreasing the R-value (the measurement of insulation’s ability to resist heat) and we could be opening up a can of worms. I wasn’t sure I agreed with this theory, since years of outdoor elements had taken a mighty toll on the siding, I rather liked the idea of opening the house up to make sure the structure hadn’t been affected as well. It would also mean that the new siding would not project past the window trim around the old windows.

Old Windows Before Siding

In addition to the siding we also want the soffits, facia, gutters and downspouts updated so they match the new siding. One guy brought up the gable vents as well, which was not something I had even thought about until he pointed it out, but after he brought it up it seemed like the only logical thing to do. Lastly, we wanted to go with another color and since I’ve always envisioned our house as a blue-grey Peddy was nice enough to let me have my way.

Soffits and Facia

Most of the companies got their estimates to me within 24 hours after meeting with them. Peddy and I started trying to dissect each one individually but decided it would be best to wait until we’d received all ten and since he was out of town for work we also wanted to wait until he was home before narrowing them down.

Some of them were easy to eliminate since they were over our budget (including the steel siding). I had already ruled out one company during the estimate process since he was overly pushy and gave me a bad vibe. Then it came down to personal preference. We both decided that we would feel more comfortable having the existing siding removed in order to check the structural support of the house and at the same time would ask to have OSB boards installed around the house to make up for some of the lost R-value. Since only two companies had agreed with us on this fact it was easy to narrow down.

Old Corner Soakers

I contacted both companies with some additional questions and scheduled another meeting at the house with one of them. The main reasons I chose to meet with this particular company again was due to the fact that their estimate was within our budget and would allow us some room should some unexpected costs arise. After going over the plan again and adding in some additional items he wrote up a new estimate for us. Peddy was out of town for work again, so I e-mailed him the new estimate and we decided to wait a day to mull over everything before making a final commitment. A few days later, near the end of June, I mailed out the signed contract!

To be continued…

Have you been saving up for any big projects? 

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