2013 Federal Tax Credits Are Available For House Wrap When You Install New Siding On Your Home

The federal government continues to offer federal tax credits in 2013 to homeowners who take advantage of various energy star products in order to make their homes more energy efficient. One of the best tax incentives is for "Consumer Energy Efficiency" and encompasses insulation, HVAC improvements, certain kinds of roofing and water heaters. Although siding itself isn't listed as one of the materials that you can get credit for, contractors know that most of their customers will be able to get a tax break for the house wrap that's installed beneath the vinyl or fiber cement because it is an approved form of insulation.

How Much Credit Can Consumers Get For Insulation?

The government will give consumers credit for 10% of the cost of the insulating materials used, up to a maximum of $500 in 2013. There are several kinds of insulation that meet the federal guidelines, including: Batts, Expanding Sprays, Rolls, Rigid Board, Pour-In-Place and House Wrap. It's important to note that the government incentive for insulation only applies to existing homes that are the primary residence for the individuals applying for the tax break. It doesn't apply to summer residences, rental properties or new construction. But a savings of up to $500 on your federal return can be significant, particularly if you add additional energy efficient products to your residence. The cost of installing any insulation isn't included in the 10%, regardless of whether you do the work yourself or hire home improvement specialists or siding contractors to do the work for you.
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Blown-In Insulation Vs. House Wrap And New Siding

One of the best insulating materials available is the blown-in foam variety, which should always be installed by a professional. If you have an older dwelling and want to seal the many air leaks and improve the comfort of your home year-round, blown-in foam can be installed between the walls with little or no damage to the interior walls. House Wrap is another insulating material that is extremely energy efficient, but it can only be installed when the current exterior material is removed and a new exterior material is installed. If you've been considering hiring siding contractors to install new vinyl or fiber cement siding on your home, be sure you ask them what kind of moisture barrier they will be installing to protect the frame of your residence. House wrap is the best choice for a moisture barrier and insulator and is eligible for the 2013 tax credit.

Do-It-Yourself Projects That Qualify

Homeowners can also earn the 10% credit up to $500 for smaller projects that they can tackle on their own, such as installing weather stripping or caulking that creates an air seal. For homeowners with drafty windows or doors, using eligible air seal products such as canned spray foam, certain kinds of caulk, or weather stripping is an easy way to improve their home's energy efficiency and get a tax credit at the same time.
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If you're interested in having new vinyl or fiber cement siding installed on your house, this may be the best year to do it so that you can take advantage of the tax incentive in 2013. Contact your local siding contractors to learn about more ways to improve your home's energy efficiency.

When you have to choose a surgeon to do a medical procedure, you probably take the time to talk to more than one doctor and ask lots of questions to make sure you're getting the right surgeon and are comfortable with him. Yet many people like you hire siding contractors without putting in the time and effort to learn more about them. Sadly, the end result when people hire the first contractor they talk to is often disappointing. Considering the value and importance of having new vinyl or fiber cement siding installed on your house, architectural, manufacturing and trade associations suggest that every homeowner spend at least an hour talking to three or more potential contractors and getting a detailed bid before signing a contract. Asking the questions below should be a part of this process.
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How Will Your Siding Contractors Do The Installation?

It's critical to learn how any home improvement professionals will handle the installation of your new exterior. Regardless of whether you've chosen fiber cement or vinyl, the installers should be experienced with the appropriate materials and certified by the manufacturers. Certification is only given to professionals who have been trained by the manufacturers to properly work with their materials. Also ask about how they will protect your home in the event there is a storm or some other problem that could interfere with timely installation.

What Products Are Appropriate For My Home's Siding Project?

Let each installer educate you regarding the various kinds of materials, such as fiber cement or vinyl, that they work with. They should be able to give you the pros and cons of each material as well as explain what they are made of and how durable they are. Ask questions about routine care and maintenance of the product as well. If they can't explain the differences between the products, you may want to hire someone else to do the job.

How Were Your Contractors Trained And Certified?

The best installers are those who have been factory trained by the manufacturers and certified as preferred installers for their products. Because the reputation of their materials is on the line with every job, manufacturers take the time to properly train and test any installers they certify. Siding contractors who don't have this continuing education should be avoided because improper installation may void the warranty on the materials.
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What Will Be The Estimated Cost Of The Job?

While many people feel that this is the most important question to ask, it shouldn't be. If you get three or more bids and one of them is significantly lower than the others, start asking questions. Generally, a low-ball price means inferior quality or improper installation. While you should consider cost to some extent, it shouldn't be the only deciding factor. When you compare bids between multiple siding contractors, be sure you are comparing the same materials, time and craftsmanship.

Are You Fully Insured?
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All siding contractors should carry liability insurance, worker's compensation insurance and complete operations insurance. These protect you as well as the installers in the event something unexpected happens. If a company can't produce proof of these types of insurance policies, move on to the next potential installer.

Finally, be sure you take some time to read through the scope of work in each bid so that you fully understand what the siding contractors' proposals do and don't cover. Ask questions and make sure that nothing that has been left out of the estimates that could turn into cost overruns down the line.

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