Roofing and window replacement contractors have benefited from certified installation programs sponsored by manufacturers such as GAF and CertainTeed and groups such as the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA).
Until recently, the vinyl siding industry had nothing comparable. The Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI) intends to offer a solution to this problem with its new Certified Installer program.
The Washington, D.C.-based association is sponsoring a program whereby experienced installers can earn certification from a course comparable to the Installation-Masters program developed by the AAMA for window installers. A two-day training course involves hands-on work, classroom study, videos, and PowerPoint presentations, progressing toward a test that must be passed to achieve certification. VSI and Architectural Testing, in York, Pa., designed the curriculum and the test.
Criteria to Meet First, an installer must prove he's been actively installing vinyl siding for at least a year, says David Moyer, vice president of certification at Architectural Testing. That requires a letter or affidavit from his employer. Next, the installer has to attend the class, which is offered only by trainers who the testing company has certified. After that the installer must demonstrate he can satisfactorily put up siding on a wall mock-up and pass the written test. The class includes leaving proper clearances, avoiding over-nailing, allowing for correct overlap, and proper flashing details.
Installers with three or more years experience who feel particularly confident may try to earn certification by taking specially scheduled tests without going through the course.
Marketing Advantages Once they pass the test, graded by Architectural Testing, installers are certified for two years. They then may display the VSI Certified Installer logo and will be listed online as certified. “When we have enough installers, we will market it to consumers, so they know to ask for someone certified,” says VSI spokeswoman Kathleen Brady.
Marketing, however, is not the only advantage. “The program will increase the quality of the pool of installers,” Brady says.
The first courses were offered in the Atlanta and Detroit areas; VSI plans to roll them out nationwide and eventually to certify companies, too. Fees include a $150 administrative charge plus additional charges at the discretion of trainers. Program information is available at www.vinylsiding.org.