Choosing between two siding contractors

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Choosing between two siding contractors

Postby CFIT » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:11 am

I need to have new siding put on the south side of my house and intend to use Jame Hardie fiber cement siding. My house extends over a hillside so that the job will require scaffolding over a three story drop. I've gotten two bids and am trying to decide between them.

Contractor 1: The guy who put the new roof on my house after I purchased it. The roof as very well done and I was impressed with his attention to detail. His crew consists of his son and others who have worked for him for years. When he came out to look at the siding he was here for 45 minutes, measured, and made notes about the odd things the original builders did that would need to be accommodated in the job. He sent me a very detailed quote with specifications of the work to be performed, products to be used, and measurements.
Price: $16k

Contractor 2: A contractor who runs several crews, he recently renovated the house of our friends. They thought that the exterior work on their house was very good although there were problems with work inside due to the fact that the contractor wasn't onsite on a regular basis. When he came to look at the siding job he took some measurements and was gone about 20 minutes later. His bid is a spreadsheet with costs for painting, materials, labor, etc. but no product specification or detail descriptions of the work to be done.
Price: $11,500

I suppose that I should get another bid but I'm really leaning towards going with the first contractor since he is detail oriented and has done good work for me in the past. Still, the cheap side of me thinks that saving $4,500 would be good and that siding is not that complex.

I thought that I would call on the wisdom of the forum for your thoughts.


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Re: Choosing between two siding contractors

Postby URSnshn » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:20 am

I would have gotten at least three estimates, checked references for the new work (siding instead of roofing), and would verify insurance and workers comp.

That said, if I had to choose, I'd heavily lean toward #1 - they sound like winners.

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Re: Choosing between two siding contractors

Postby lthenderson » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:57 am

I would contact contractor one and tell him that I really would like to work with him but the other quote I had was for $4500 less and could he at least come down a bit in price. They generally will then knock a bit off.

Nothing beats a contractor that you have worked with personally in the past that does great work and has an eye for detail and doing things right.

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Re: Choosing between two siding contractors

Postby adamthesmythe » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:15 pm

Am I correct that contractor #2 did not specify materials?

At minimum you would want a revised estimate adequately specifying the job.

Even though it was different types of work, you have a reasonable idea of the relative quality of work. #1 rates very good #2 OK.

> I would have gotten at least three estimates

Sometimes it's easy to get three estimates, other times the first estimate ceases to be valid before you get the third one.

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Re: Choosing between two siding contractors

Postby fishmonger » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:34 pm

Maybe follow up with #1 and see if he'll meet in the middle, say $15k? I would be hesitant to go with the contractor who did not specify materials. Quality disparity in siding is not as dramatic as say windows, but you're leaving yourself open to him using the cheapest products available

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Re: Choosing between two siding contractors

Postby CFIT » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:01 pm

I appreciate the suggestions and advice. With your help I've decided to go with the first contractor, the one I've used before. I guess that there is a money value to me in going with someone who has done good work for me in the past.

Thank you.

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Re: Choosing between two siding contractors

Postby staythecourse » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:12 pm

I would say get one more quote to see if the 16k is high or 11k is too low. Make sure the comps. are truly apples to apples. If nothing stands out then go with no.1. Extra 5k doesn't matter when you are talking about siding which is a lifetime decision.

My approach to decision making is if there are 2 options that are similar then go with the cheapest OR the simplest. The two quotes I consider relatively close so I would just go with the simple decision: You know the work of the first guy and have a relationship with him.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

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Re: Choosing between two siding contractors

Postby renue74 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:24 pm

I'm installing Hardie Plank on a high end rental I'm rehabbing now. It's a pain to put up, it's dusty and the 12' boards break easily if you don't carry them correctly.

I would try to get some references for siding projects the contractor #1 did. Putting up siding and roofing are different trades.

Here's some of the things I would look out for on your Hardie project.

• Make sure siding to trim has a 1/8" spacing for caulk.
• Using at least 1 3/4" siding nails (if installing into 7/16" OSB sheathing)
• Make sure butt joints in the siding field are flashed with 6" wide coated aluminum flashing. Coated aluminum is important because fiber cement siding will react with bare aluminum.
• Make sure the butt joints are tightly fitted. In the past Hardie suggested a gap and filled with caulk on the butt joints, but they changed their installation guide. Butt joints should be tight.
• Make sure they prime all cut joints. Preprimed Hardie is fine, but when it's cut, the ends need priming
• Make sure siding doesn't "break" over windows. (No seems directly above a window)
• Any wall penetrations (outside outlets, Hvac pipes, exterior light fixtures, etc.) need proper Z-flashing above them.
• Spring for premium caulk. Don't skimp. I use "Big Stretch" brand (Found at Lowes or Amazon). It's great stuff.

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Re: Choosing between two siding contractors

Postby victorb » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:50 pm

I would go with contractor number 1, without hesitation. In construction work, $4500 of grief could appear instantly and you would be kicking yourself that you didn't go with number 1.

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