My wife and I purchased a new (to us) house last fall. When the nice weather brought me back out into the yard to do work this spring, I began to take note of the many things that eventually will need maintenance on my home. From the painted wood railing on the front porch to the wood window sills on the outside of my sun room, there are a whole bunch of places where I am eventually going to need to scrape, sand, putty and paint or I will have to update with a low maintenance or no maintenance solution.
As I considered the variety of items that would need updated in order to properly maintain the exterior of my home, it occurred to me that to say I needed "new siding" completely missed the scope of the eventual project. I needed an exterior renovation. Fortunately as a home improvement expert and the owner of a company which does these types of projects, I could easily tick of the specifics of what products I wanted installed and where. Most homeowners however don't have that kind of info easily at hand, and instead look for a contractor who they believe can help them. Unfortunately most home improvement contractors are not adequately prepared to provide the level of detail needed to deliver a really terrific finished job.
There are many companies that can install new siding. However, siding installation is only one aspect of an exterior renovation that should be considered. The attention to the other details like how windows will be trimmed, how soffit and fascia work will be done, what will be done with gable end vents, light mountings, dryer vents, etc will make all the difference in the quality of the final job. When selecting a company to do a siding project, be sure to determine what exactly is included in the quote and how these types of details will be handled on a project. Believe me, it looks much better when an outside hose faucet is mounted on a mounting block than when the siding is simply run around it and sealed with a whole bunch of caulking.
Items that are often over looked when contracting for exterior renovation include: gable vents, railing, porch ceilings, shutters, window trim, house trims or moldings, mountings for hose faucets, dryer vents, exterior lights and electric outlets. In many cases this is simply a case of a contractor having trouble finding the appropriate accessories. Just because he doesn't know what to use though, does not mean that a good solution is not out there. Be sure to pay attention to these details.
A quality contractor should be able to address all of these issues specifically and in writing when discussing a project. In order to determine what kind of contractor you are working with, be sure to look at examples of similar projects that they have installed. If the details on this job are not right, you can bet that you wont be happy with your project either.