Basic Siding Information

Stripping. Stripping is the process of tearing off the old siding. It may not be necessary to strip the old siding before installing the new. As long as the old siding is not rotting, new vinyl siding can be put on top of it. In this case, the old siding provides added insulation. Some contractors choose to install a layer of foam between the old and new siding. If a portion of old siding is rotting, it is often easier and more cost effective to replace only the rotting portion of the old siding before putting up the new siding.

Materials. Different materials offer varying levels of quality. While higher-quality materials usually look better and hold up better over time, they are also more expensive. Most companies offer a variety of quality grades for a variety of budgets.

Trim. While attaching long, horizontal pieces of siding to the wall is relatively easy, correctly installing the trim on corners, window casings, and overhangs is not. On quality jobs, pieces and trim will be straight, properly aligned, and neat. Since putting siding on a home is a large investment, homeowners should educate themselves about the quality offered by various contractors. A good way to do this is to look at one or more of the jobs completed by potential companies.

Cutting corners. Siding installers can cut corners in several ways. One is to use scrap pieces. Vinyl siding and fiber cement siding are usually manufactured in 12-foot-long pieces. When an area of the house requires less than 12 feet of siding (for example, between two windows), only one piece of siding should be used. There should not be a seam or a joint in that area. Some companies cut corners by fitting together pieces of scrap to fill these areas. Seams or other breaks in the siding may allow water to enter the home, resulting in mold or rot.