An important factor in deciding whether to change the siding of one’s home is how much replacement will cost. Having a ballpark figure before approaching a siding contractor will also help in assessing whether the price quoted by the contractor is reasonable. SidingMagazine.com’s Siding Calculator tool is a user-friendly online program designed expressly for this purpose.
There are several parameters that need to be filled so the program can provide the user with a siding estimate. These are house design, regional location in the United States, siding type, siding material, and whether to include shutters in the estimate or not. Once these are supplied when the online tool requests them and the “Calculate” tab clicked, a number of price options are provided.
Understanding The Various Parameters
House design is used to make things easier for the house owner, instead of putting in wall measurement. It is used to determine the amount of wall space that needs siding. This is basically an estimate. Each house design implies an equivalent average wall space. This is enough to make a quick ballpark estimate. There are twelve house designs to choose from and these range from the cape design to the larger split-level and colonial designs, and even to Tudor and Victorian designs.
The cost of siding a house, or replacing its siding, varies depending on its location in the United States. This is related to the differences in building codes from state to state. In general, states close together have similar siding costs, so the country can be divided into five regions. These are Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, and West, which includes Alaska and Hawaii.
There are three main siding types to choose from, shingle, clapboard, and other. Shingle refers to siding whose length and width differ by only a few inches. Clapboards have significantly longer lengths compared to its width. It is also considerably larger than shingle sidings. Thus more pieces are required for shingle siding compared to clapboard. Other siding types fall under a third category labeled “Other” and may include siding such as bricks and siding types not covered by the two already mentioned.
There are generally seven kinds of materials used to make a siding. From least expensive to most expensive, these are vinyl, foam-backed vinyl, fiber cement, premium composite, wood, brick, and stucco. The type of house design also determines what siding material may be best. The program allows for this and grays out siding material that is not applicable for certain siding types.
The “Shutter” parameter is a straightforward question on whether shutters should be included in the pricing estimate or not. These parameters are easily filled out with just a few clicks of the mouse and in less than a minute a number of pricing estimates are generated after clicking the “Calculate” button at the bottom.
After Clicking “Calculate”
The program shows five pricing options. Each option specifies what each price estimate might cover and what it might not cover. This will give the user an idea of how each price option differs from the next higher, or lower, one.
For instance, compare the two ends of the price estimate spectrum for a cape design where the siding chosen is the foam-backed vinyl shingle. The price estimate at the least expensive end may include siding with lower quality, corner boards, painted aluminum for the eaves, basic house wrap, and basic warranty. It may also include the minimum demolition necessary for removal and disposal of the original siding. It might not extend to casing wrap or replacement and additional insulation.
On the other hand, at the other end of the price estimate spectrum at double the cost, the siding used will most likely be premium vinyl and the corner boards and trim will be of the decorative variety. Warranty coverage is going to be best-in-class and will include a materials warranty as well as installation warranty. Also included are full demolition and high-efficiency rigid foam. What might not be covered by the price are decorative accents and possibly in-wall decoration.
If the house owner would like to change some of the parameters, he or she may do so for region, siding type, siding material, and shutters. The “Recalculate” tab which replaces the “Calculate” will run a new computation of the modified parameters and show a new set of price options.
Negotiating With Professional Siding Installers
When talking to professional contractors about the actual siding job estimate, the prospective customer who used the siding calculator will know what to expect and what to ask about each estimate. If the siding contractor includes some of the things which might be expected at a higher price range, this might signify the makings of a good deal for the customer.
Of course, it is also important to check the track record and reliability of the contractor. There are those who make good promises but are not able to deliver. Also, having several estimates from different siding installation companies or contractors will help the house owner either chooses the best offer or negotiate a better offer. This makes the siding calculator tool an excellent guide in gauging which offer is better.