Money Hit: The Siding And Steps

Part of our Money Makeover strategy for this year was to have the north side of our house resided, and the insulation addressed during the process.  The cheapo panel shtuff is not doing its job anymore, the draftiness is much worse than previous years, and it looks horrible, too.  Unfortunately, it is the biggest exterior wall of our house, and it faces the main entrance street (we live on a corner).  So care in selecting materials and contractors was in order.

This is one of the worst parts of being a homeowner: finding reliable contractors.  Open one web browser with, and another with Google, begin researching.  Ugh.  I also relied on my observations of contractors in our neighborhood the past few years, and the stash of business cards I’d collected in my file. It shouldn’t be this difficult.

Four contractors did not provide the information I asked for with careful explanation of the project and specific requests for two product estimates.  Loooong story short, I finally found my guy.  Actually, I prayed for it, and God delivered.  The cool thing is that this project will come in under the budget I originally set, which was based on some emergency repairs we had done seven years ago, by another company.  The contract doesn’t include the insulation, but I’ve estimated that, too, and we’re still good.  After all, we won’t know what the insulation situation really is until they start taking off the panels (the point of no return).  It also doesn’t include paint, which I’m still researching, but I can estimate that based on the last time we had the whole house painted. My worst-case scenario is still manageable.

But, there’s a twist.  Isn’t there always?  I originally planned to have the work done in May, so that we could have some additional funds set aside, and so the weather would be nicer.  Well, the crew had a week open.  This week.  Now.  Fortunately, My Guy is flexible on when our payment will be made.  How awesome is that?  We will not have to make payments.  We will not have to forfeit budgeted expenses.  We will be glad to pay for this very soon (anticipating a big check, maybe by the time they’re done).

So they start tomorrow, because it’s pouring rain today.  I’m okay with how the scheduling played out, and am glad for a reason to stay home for a few days.  And I’m glad my little project can keep a crew working!

My research for mudjacking the front porch steps yielded a good deal, too.  The steps have settled 4.5″ and are officially a tripping hazard — I almost took a header on the cement a few weeks ago.  The BBB was helpful again, and the contractor I chose is very professional, with an acceptable product and very doable fee.  I found out one highly-recommended contractor had a minimum job dollar, and that was a huge negative.  Right now, I have certain tasks that must be done, not several just to reach a contractor’s minimum.

In a few weeks I’ll be able to report back on the final verdict and who these contractors are.  Meanwhile, even though I’ll be involved in the insulation consultation, I’m simply trusting that everything will get done, correctly and promptly, and within budget.  There are more important things to think about.

Bottom line: Google doesn’t provide enough reviews, and the BBB is a great resource.  Check it for complaints, violations, and to see if a business cares enough to be registered.  Also, a reliable company will provide insurance and licensing information up front.  Keep looking until you get the service and personality mix you need.  A little prayer helps, too.



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