Reducing Labor Costs

Concerned about the cost of siding in Edmonton? When I started with James Hardie Building Products in 2012, I expected that a project had a certain budget, and if our costs exceeded that budget, we either had to reduce our product price or lose the project. As I spent more time working with exterior contractors and really digging into the numbers, I found that we could create significant savings without sacrificing product choice just by changing design elements. In each post on this topic, I will detail some common ways you can save on the cost of your project without sacrificing the overall look you want to achieve.

Most exterior installers are paid by piece work – meaning that any time we are able to reduce the time required for installation, you save the installer money and in turn save yourself on the quote! Simple changes to design can be made that in turn create thousands of dollars in savings. The easiest way to reduce labor requirements on your project is to reduce the number of cuts required for installation. For example, if you want to use panels for your project, the cost of installing one 4’x8’ sheet is going to be significantly less than cutting that panel into 4 sheets and installing them in 1’x8’ panels. Both are fine options depending on the design you want, but if you’re looking to reduce costs on a quote, this can create great savings. Another common area that increases labor costs is using a smaller than standard width plank for installation of your siding – the smaller the width, the smaller the surface area covered by each piece, and thus a higher amount of labor required.

The final area I’d look to for reducing costs is the design of the product you’re using – ie. planks, panels, and shingles. Even though James Hardie makes Hardie Plank, Panel, and Shingle, the cost of each product can be quite different once installed. The same goes for vinyl siding, panels, and shakes. While there are always exceptions, a good rule of thumb is that horizontal siding is going to be your least expensive option. After siding, your next option is panel. Last and most expensive is shingle. The material cost of shingle is typically higher than both siding and panels regardless of which material you go with, but the bigger factor here is time. Shingles provide less coverage per dollar cost than siding and panels, and thus take more time for installation.

Making smaller changes such as those suggested above can allow you to keep the core products/design you want, while potentially saving you thousands. When comparing quotes, it is important to verify that you are comparing apples to apples – which trim product has been quoted, are the back and sides trimmed out, does this include the shingle in the gable you wanted, or just siding? If you have any questions while evaluating quotes, feel free to give me a call!