(NewsUSA) - No doubt, finding a qualified siding contractor can be tricky. Do you use a contractor who did a good job down the block? A cousin or in-law? Maybe crowd sourcing services such as Angie's List or Home Advisor?
Recommendations, whether personal or anonymous, might work out, but no matter the task, you'll have greater peace of mind with someone who has been certified in their industry.
"When you need someone to do your taxes, you look for a CPA. When you need your car serviced, you go a certified mechanic. Why wouldn't you want the same level of confidence with someone working on your home?" said Jery Y. Huntley, president and CEO of the Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI).
Vinyl siding, including insulated vinyl siding, is the only exterior cladding with a certified installer program to ensure that installers demonstrate knowledge of industry-accepted application techniques, and a product-certification program that ensures that vinyl siding, insulated siding and polypropylene siding meet or exceed industry standards. Both are sponsored by VSI and administered by independent agencies.
"Siding is more than just aesthetics; it's the home's first line of defense against Mother Nature. If not properly installed, any siding product can be vulnerable to extreme weather conditions like high winds and rain, which can lead to degradation, repair or replacement," Huntley said. "Trained, experienced and certified professionals help ensure that your home's siding will not only look great, but perform as specified."
VSI Certified Installers have at least two years of experience, have successfully completed a training course and have demonstrated knowledge of vinyl siding installation based on internationally accepted standards. They must recertify every three years.
The specific knowledge Certified Installers are tested on includes knowing how to correctly fasten vinyl siding securely on the wall, accounting for normal expansion and contraction properties so it lies flat, and properly preparing the area around doors, windows and other openings to prevent water infiltration.
In addition to withstanding winds of 110 mph (and most achieve a wind rating higher than that), and resisting the weathering effects of heat, cold and moisture, properly installed certified vinyl siding comes with the strongest guarantees for any exterior cladding -- vinyl siding manufacturers generally offer lifetime warranties for the original homeowner and typically carry prorated warranties of at least 50 years to subsequent owners.
"Neither the fiber cement nor engineered wood industries put their products through a stringent third-party certification program, nor do they sponsor programs to independently certify the professionals on knowledge of proper installation and best practices," said Huntley. "Certification provides homeowners with an unprecedented degree of confidence that their vinyl siding will provide lasting value to their homes."
For more information, visit www.vinylsiding.org/homeowners/why-vinyl-siding/.