Installing new siding: what to expect if you DIY

Installing new siding: what to expect if you DIY

New vinyl siding can be costly, even if you choose a lower- or mid-quality grade instead of using a premium-gauge product. One of the ways you can cut down on the cost of installing vinyl siding is by doing the job yourself. But be warned, cladding an entire home is not a job for everyone, even if you are an experienced handyman. Using licensed, bonded and insured* contractors, such as the pre-screened, certified professional builders found through this site, alleviates any potential warranty issues and guarantees the job is done correctly. It also frees up your valuable summertime for more rewarding pursuits, such as a few rounds of golf or trips to the lake.

Vinyl siding installation costs

Labor and materials make up the largest expenses in vinyl siding costs. Material prices are fairly easy to gauge at the outset of a job, but it's harder to pin an exact number on labor costs because contractors typically charge different rates for labor. Factors that influence labor costs from a contractor's perspective include the following:

  • Difficulty of the job
  • Estimated man hours to complete the task
  • Square footage of your residence
  • Tear-off and disposal of old wall covering material
  • Additional services, such as installing housewrap, gutters, fascia, trim and soffits

Contractors discussing labor rates on the website, Contractortalk.com, cite labor rates ranging from $85 to $150 per square (100 square feet). Costs vary depending on geographical region.

Many contractors rely on making their profit through labor costs -- a common, acceptable practice in the construction industry. In a tight construction market, with fewer and fewer jobs, don't expect contractors in your area to budge much when it comes to labor rates.

Do-it-yourself, or hire a siding contractor?

If you are thinking of installing new vinyl siding yourself in order to save money, consider these three things first:

  1. You need the right tools, including an air compressor, nail gun, air hose, ladders, scaffolding, saws, drills and many other items -- gear typically found in the back of a contractor's truck.
  2. Construction often is backbreaking work. Stooping, lifting, climbing ladders and being on your feet are not an easy way to spend several weekends. You need to be up to the task physically.
  3. It's harder than it looks. Slapping cladding on a wall may sound like child's-play, but if you do the job yourself there are going to be many times you stop and scratch your head and try to figure out an action plan.

Economics should not be the overriding factor in your decision whether to hire a siding contractor or do the work yourself. In hindsight you might find it would have been less costly to get it done properly by an expert.

*See terms and conditions at http://www.streetcertified.com/about/Terms.jsp

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