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DIY vs. Professional Siding Replacement: Pros and Cons

 

Homeowners will, at some point, find themselves with a need for siding work, a project that carries significant implications for both the aesthetic and structural aspects of their homes. New siding can give your property a big boost in curb appeal, and national data on home remodeling shows that siding repairs improve resale value.

While some homeowners are happy to let contractors handle the details, we understand that the allure of DIY and the independence of home ownership go hand in hand. Is it better to roll up your sleeves for a DIY project or to entrust the job to seasoned professionals? Below, we navigate through both.

Can Siding Work Be Done DIY?

Small siding projects can be done at home with a little preparation. DIY siding projects tend to be the simple replacement of damaged siding panels or aesthetic enhancements. However, just like roofing, the workload of siding replacement starts out small but can grow unmanageable for a single worker. Bigger siding projects usually benefit from professional expertise.

Homeowners must weigh factors such as their own skills, the complexity of the project, and the time they can commit to a DIY project. In many cases, yes—you can handle a task at home. But if you can’t or don’t want to, it helps to know who can.

The Benefits of DIY 

A DIY siding project is an attractive proposition for many homeowners. Beyond potential cost savings, the allure of personal accomplishment resonates with DIY work. Plus, DIY projects empower individuals with control over design decisions, project timelines, and material choices. For homeowners with the time and expertise to pull off the job successfully, this level of control is hard to beat.  

Pros of DIY

  • Potential cost savings
  • Sense of personal accomplishment
  • Full control of project decisions
  • No vendor timetables or schedules to keep

Perhaps the biggest benefits of the DIY approach are cost savings and control. No contractors come by, you work at your own pace, and you make your own decisions. This provides clear benefits like project flexibility, but remember, the return on investment (ROI) of at-home work depends on the homeowner’s ability. Those who learn on the job may need to find online or other guidance. This can extend any project timelines. 

The Drawbacks of DIY

While the prospect of DIY siding entices some homeowners, it has challenges. Right off the bat, homeowners must be sure they have the skills to perform a DIY home repair. They’ll need to purchase the necessary materials, do the job, and perform quality control, all to make sure that any permitting or housing code issues are addressed. These criteria put many home repair jobs out of reach for most of us. Without the knowledge, materials, or ability to be sure the job is done right, how can a DIY job be viable?

Cons of DIY

  • Need for skilled expertise
  • Must commit time and resources
  • Increased investment & risk
  • No guarantee of quality control

The biggest drawback of the DIY approach is that most homeowners lack the skills. Some homeowners can do the work, but for those who can’t, professional help is your best option. 

A Step-By-Step Guide to Overcoming Obstacles

The bottom line is this: For most homeowners, siding projects shouldn’t be tackled alone. They’re feasible for those with home repair or contracting experience, but for others, the time and expense of the DIY route doesn’t pay off.

That said, we understand that the best way to learn is by doing, and some homeowners will be eager to make an attempt. Below, we outline some of the common hurdles that DIY-ers may experience as they tackle the process, and we suggest some quick fixes to keep things moving.

1. Skill Level and Expertise

  • Challenge: Siding installation demands carpentry and construction expertise. Even tasks as simple as cutting, measuring, and aligning the pieces require a certain skill set.
  • Solution: Prioritize acquiring the necessary skills through research, tutorials, and hands-on practice. Start with a smaller replacement project to build confidence before you tackle a larger installation.

2. Time Commitment

  • Challenge: DIY siding projects often require a significant time investment, and some homeowners lack experience setting up and managing work environments.
  • Solution: Plan your project timeline; consider factors such as weather conditions and personal schedules. Realistic time management can mitigate the impact on daily life and ensure that tasks aren’t rushed from an overly-ambitious work schedule.

3. Quality Control

  • Challenge: High-quality workmanship throughout a siding project can challenge individuals who don’t have professional experience. The siding must be correctly installed and properly sealed for long-term durability.
  • Solution: Consult manufacturer instructions and industry best practices. Pay meticulous attention to detail and seek guidance from experienced sources to make sure that any at-home siding repairs keep underlying structures insulated and safe.

4. Access to Specialized Tools

  • Challenge: Siding projects require special tools, such as siding nailers and other cutting implements. Homeowners may not have these in their toolboxes.
  • Solution: Rent or borrow tools as needed. Many home improvement stores offer tool rental services. Make sure the costs of equipment are factored into your overall project cost calculations.

5. Weather Dependency

  • Challenge: Weather conditions can impact the progress of a siding project. For example, those who install siding replacement in Annapolis, Maryland must take into account how regular rain and fluctuating temperatures could pose challenges.
  • Solution: Plan the project during a season with favorable weather conditions. Monitor weather forecasts and be prepared to halt the project if adverse weather conditions arise.

6. Safety Concerns

  • Challenge: Ladder heights, power tools, and construction materials pose safety risks for DIYers. Lack of experience may increase the likelihood of accidents.
  • Solution: Prioritize safety: Wear appropriate protective gear, adhere to safety guidelines, and seek assistance or professional advice about tasks with higher safety risks.

7. Consistency in Aesthetics

  • Challenge: Achievement of consistent aesthetics, like a pleasing finish around corners and openings, can challenge those without siding experience. Quality control here is a must for both curb appeal and eventual resale value.
  • Solution: Take the time to measure and plan. Seek guidance from experts or online resources for techniques that ensure an appealing outcome.

8. Potential for Project Scope Expansion

  • Challenge: As DIYers progress through the project, they may encounter additional repairs or improvements that extend beyond the initial scope. Discovery of rotten window frames or mold can cause a project to spiral out of hand.
  • Solution: Set a clear project scope at the outset and resist the temptation to expand it mid-project. Address unforeseen issues in a methodical fashion and consult professionals if needed.

Make the Right Decisions for Your Project with a Siding Company in Annapolis

Making the decision between DIY and professional siding replacement is multifaceted and deeply personal. It all comes down to what a homeowner is comfortable with, what resources are available, and what the project goals are. It’s crucial to lock down these factors early, as siding work has implications for both aesthetics and function.

We recommend that homeowners start with a personal inventory and decide whether DIY siding is feasible.If you’re unsure about the feasibility of a siding project, or with any other aspect of your home remodel, we’re here to give you a hand. 

Contact American Remodel to discuss your next project!

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