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Put a Match to Your Siding

When I was a teenager still living with my parents, a neighbor's son was mowing his yard when he hit a rock and sent it flying about 40 yards across our backyard and through the vinyl siding on our house. After chuckling with the neighbor about it for a bit, my father went to the spot where he stored siding, left over from when he installed it just a couple of years before, and replaced the damaged piece.
Quick and easy, no harm done. Like a lot of folks that put siding on their homes or have it done for them, my dad was smart enough to save a few leftover pieces. He also saved one of the boxes they came in, which had a tag clearly naming the manufacturer, series and color of the siding. But what if you bought a house that was re-sided two owners before you and there are no remnants to be found? What if you do have a few pieces but not enough to cover your planned addition, and there's no box or any identifying marks anywhere?
Then maybe your next course of action should be to go to www.sidingmatch.com and let them pick through their database to find a match for your siding. A web-based service that provides personalized, custom siding identification services for vinyl, aluminum and steel siding, SidingMatch.com has become a hit with homeowners, insurance companies and contractors alike. If you mail them a piece of your siding, they will search their database of more than 80 manufacturers with more than 200 textures, 30+ profiles and thousands of colors, to try to find a match. Within 48 hours, they will send you a comprehensive report telling you the manufacturer's name and contact information; the exact series and color of your siding; local distributors and contact information; and whether or not a match is available. Quite often, manufacturers will make improvements and/or dimensional, color or texture changes to a series of siding but won't change the name - or sometimes they simply discontinue a series.
And sometimes a match of the original color may be different than the weathered color on your house, so what happens then? Most homeowners would probably give up or re-side completely, but SidingMatch.com will keep looking for a likely match from other manufacturers and series. Nearly two-thirds of all requests the company gets are either matched exactly or a similar match of grade 1 or 2 is found. (Similar matches are graded on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 representing the next best thing to an exact match.) Of course that means that nearly one-third of the time no match can be found and no salvage stock is available. If that is a common occurrence with a database like SidingMatch.com's, imagine how frustrating it could be for a typical homeowner to find a match. That is why people are willing to pay $75 for hand-matching services, or $50 to either email them an image of their siding or for access to the company's database over the Web. A 24-hour expedited service is available for an additional $25.