Qualified Remodeler Magazine

JUL 2015

Qualified Remodeler helps independent remodeling firms to survive, become more professional and more profitable by providing must-have business information, namely best business practices, new product information and timely design ideas.

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siding contractor," Forchetti says. "We want to make them comfortable installing our product. And we do that training through multiple methods." Most siding manufacturers today ofer contractor programs like LP's. Te business benefts often go straight to a contractor's bot- tom line. At the same time, siding companies want to know their product is being handled by professionals who will ensure mistakes that refect badly on the product will be avoided. A contractor who wants access to some of the newest products can best do so by engaging with the training and business programs of- fered by siding manufacturers. CertainTeed's Brian Kirn says their two contractor programs, Te Five-Star Contractor Program and Te Five Star Green Contractor Program, come with very tangible benefts videos — frst in English and coming soon in Spanish. Tey are designed to show how to troubleshoot specifc issues like how to deal with butt ends, etc. In addition, the company is heavily involved in face-to-face local train- ing. Teir BuildSmart Preferred Remodeler Program comes with many benefts including preference in getting the company's consumer leads. But the key to the program is online learning — where a 90 percent or higher test grade is required by a remodeler before moving on to a full day of training at one of the company's numerous BuildSmart events held annually around the country. So far this year the company has conducted nine all-day events for training. "We have found that proper installation is key and want to make sure the product is installed properly by the remodeler or the residential focus for us. Tey have given us a coating that actually lasts." Why all of the color now? Many industry experts suggest advancements in visualization software are driving the change. Te theory goes that as more people are allowed to up- load photos of their homes and subsequently experiment with new colors and new fnish- es it allows them to gain more comfort with choices that otherwise would have been out of their comfort zone. CertainTeed's Brian Kirn says the company has seen a big spike in the number of consum- ers and contractors coming to its website to use its visualizer tool, ColorView. "You can use one of 80 stock images or you can upload your own home free of charge and map it yourself. Or you can have one of our designers map it for $15," Kirn says. "Historically, homeowners are risk averse when it comes to choosing a color. Tey would always go with a neutral color that was mono- chromatic," he explains. "Now we are seeing people having more confdence to choose dif- ferent materials or a contrasted color shade. Visualizers helps consumers overcome a lot of concerns." CONTRACTOR PROGRAMS Key consumer desires are driving siding in- novation — durability, low maintenance, the ability to customize, and a desire for authentic architectural details or aesthetics. Other driv- ers are contractor driven: ease of installation, and access to support tools that help sell jobs or make them more proftable. With 100-plus SKUs across its engineered wood siding and trim platform, LP SmartSide is an example of a company whose new products are attractive for consumers and contractors. LP's Vice President of Marketing, Michelle Forchetti, says its products are growing for several reasons. LP SmartSide is a wood prod- uct, and consumers continually opt for a wood look and feel when given the choice. From a contractor standpoint, the siding is very easy to use and install. SmartSide planks come in 16-ft. lengths that are easy to handle be- cause they are lightweight, fexible and hard to break. Te product also does not require special saws or fastening tools. It hangs like cedar or any other lumber product. For SmartSide, the focus is on training. Te company just released a series of six ROYAL BUILDING PRODUCTS introduced a new line of premium vinyl siding this spring, its Estate brand, pictured at left and below. It comes in a broad color palette and offers good panel projection from the wall. Here shakes and horizontal siding mix well together. So too does the board-and-batten vertical siding below. Circle 9 on inquiry card QualifiedRemodeler.com | ForResidentialPros.com QR July 2015 47

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