Renovating a house can be stressful, nerve-racking, and time consuming. But it can also be incredibly rewarding. I spent countless hours scouring the web looking for reviews on contractors and siding choices all while researching the best options for long term investment. This past year I had a new roof installed on the little blue house as well as the garage. Next up is siding and gutters!
You might be asking why a woodworking company is writing a blog about house renovations. Honestly, I think it might be helpful for anyone going through the process to follow along on this journey to not feel alone or over burdened with similar choices and the process.
Let me begin with the backstory of the little blue house. I do not live in a tiny home. However, when I tell folks the size of my house everyone says it is a tiny home. The little blue house is a mere 768 square feet in size, excluding the basement. Constructed in 1943, it is very similar to almost every house in the neighborhood. When I purchased the house it needed to be repainted or have new siding. I chose to repaint because at the time I wasn't ready to make a decision on siding. The color I chose was similar to Sherwin Williams Revel Blue (disclaimer: I don't remember the actual color name but that is the closest color match), hence the nickname, The Little Blue House. Why blue? It's calming yet stands out and blue houses have always appealed to me.
The color has since faded (it's been a few years) and the trim paint is starting to peel. So now it's time to make the leap to vinyl siding. The thought of this brings me great anxiety. Vinyl siding is such a permanent choice and can't easily be painted over if design aesthetic changes. But alas, it is time.
This blog post isn't going to name which contractor I decided to go with because the work remains to be seen. Instead, let's talk about the quoting process itself. There are a plethora of siding and gutter contractors in the Metro Detroit area and it's quite daunting to scroll through reviews and research different companies, let alone scheduling each appointment during a pandemic. The contractors I had quote the job ranged from national companies to small neighborhood contractors, and the quotes covered the full spectrum accordingly.
One company in particular, started the quote out at well over $20,000 (a completely absurd amount), without having even seen my house and merely used Google Street View. I should have known to end the call when the salesman stated how large my house was. He clearly wasn't well prepared if he stated my quaint 768 sq. ft. house was large. It was also a negotiation strategy so they could come to the table with a multitude of discounts to appear as though they are helping the customer out. Not interested in playing that game. Thus began an overwhelming month of my life having numerous contractors onsite to quote the work.
Some companies recommend downloading an app that allows the homeowner to upload photos of the house prior to the consultation. This not only helps the company with rough estimates but provides the homeowner a visualization tool to choose different colors, styles, and vertical or horizontal placement. It's helpful but then brings on the stress of designing a long term aesthetic. The app will convert the photos you take into a 3D rendering. Once completed you can change nearly every exterior item of your house to find your ideal design. See 3D rendering of the before uploaded in the app below.
For me, choosing a contractor not only came down to budget but the personality of the salesman. I wasn't looking to be judged or up sold on a full house overhaul. With numerous quotes came numerous personalities. Surprisingly, only one salesman was quite pushy, nearly demanding I make a decision right there on the spot to choose them. Not only is siding a large expense, it's also a strong design foundation to the curb appeal and not something I want to be strong armed into choosing on the spot. Needless to say, I didn't choose that company.
Here is a glimpse of the before (even before the new roof installed in the past year). Follow along for the journey of a complete porch overhaul, new siding and gutters, and eventually kitchen renovation!