Start with Product Certification,
Then Choose a Certified Vinyl Siding Installer For Your Project
When siding or re-siding your home, your satisfaction depends on quality – quality of the product and quality of the installation. To ensure home improvement success, the Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI) provides certification programs for both product performance and quality installation.
When it comes to a home building or home renovation project, the average homeowner may look at the term “certified” and wonder if it’s just sales speak. VSI’s Director of Workforce Development Rob Balfanz would tell you that when it comes to VSI certification programs, “certified” is synonymous with “superior.” Superior products, superior installation.
First Up: Choose Certified Products
Sara Krompholz, VSI’s Director, Technical and Product Certification, elaborates: “The VSI Product Certification Program provides continual assurance through a long-standing independent third-party verification process. Manufacturing plants and their QC processes are inspected on an ongoing basis, and samples of labeled, certified products are routinely tested to the applicable test standards. Real-time information related to certified products can be found on our website.”
According to Rob, the VSI Product Certification Program tells you that the siding you have chosen meets or exceeds industry standards for numerous categories of performance, including wind and fire resistance. Knowing that you have quality assurance, you can then search hundreds of vinyl siding products from the most trusted brands using the Product Certification Page.
Rob feels that this page on the VSI website is the ultimate place to start planning your siding project. “A typical homeowner goes to the home improvement store to find a type of cladding. Even with the best customer service, they’re often not judging the product’s quality by its certification,” Rob states. “With the VSI Product Certification page, homeowners can better understand why product certification is so critical to the project’s success.”
As a former installer and operations manager to the trade, Rob realizes that the decision to do a home improvement project or build a house from the ground up can be very emotional for the consumer. Back then, he said he would go on the “sits” with his salespeople and the property owners to ensure that his team delivered a positive customer experience.
Knowing that the vinyl siding industry makes such a big commitment to its certifications speaks volumes about all the other great features of their products.
“It’s certified for performance. It has lots of eye-catching colors. It has amazing design advantages, so it’s architecturally-pleasing. It’s one of the most sustainable and recyclable claddings out there,” he says. “And did I mention it’s a high-performance product?”
Rob also points out that the VSI Product Certification page includes a feature in which you can find certified vinyl siding installers close to where you live. This single page eliminates the trip to the store and the search for an installer, which is equally important to choosing the right products.
Next On the List: Choose a Certified Vinyl Siding Installer
A home improvement project can be an emotional roller coaster. “Choosing someone from start to finish and knowing that the installer is certified along with the product, you know that the actual installation will be done right,” Rob states. I also want to know that my installer is complying with local residential and international building codes. A VSI-certified installer gets you a quality product and appearance, but he/she also helps deliver performance.”
As noted above, the VSI Product Certification page enables you to choose a certified vinyl siding installer close to where you live (once you’ve selected certified products using the same page), saving you several steps in the traditional sourcing process.
More than a piece of paper, Rob holds that VSI certification is an industry-recognized validation of the person that’s installing siding on your home. He adds that VSI installers are trained to fasten siding in a way that enables the unique expansion and contraction properties of vinyl. They know how to prevent water infiltration around all openings through proper preparation. And Rob loves that the installers are instructed – as part of their certification – to follow up with manufacturers’ code specialists and local code enforcement officials to support their work on each job.
Rob stresses that certifications are not just handed out to anyone. As a pre-requisite to the VSI certification program, the candidate needs at least two years of industry experience. “They have to validate their experience,” Rob stated. “We don’t certify each performance, but the professionals we certify are experts at performing the highest quality installation for your project.
Rob adds that choosing a certified vinyl siding installer from the beginning helps deliver a quality installation that makes you feel good about where you live. The VSI does not certify companies, they certify individuals, and Rob likes that it’s all about the individual professional that is supposed to be hanging the cladding.
Finding a VSI-certified installer has become easier thanks to a record-breaking 2020, in which VSI trained over 2,000 new people in the program. But Rob is actively pursuing more opportunities to make “superior products, superior installers” more accessible to the customer base.
The VSI Workforce Development program has added monthly Joint Partnership Education events in 2021. According to Rob, this partnership program will result in hundreds of more certified installers… and (HINT, HINT) the sky’s the limit!
Stay tuned in the coming months for more exciting developments from VSI’s Workforce Development Program.