Bob Marrash, sales and operations manager for Accurate Roofing & Siding, Trenton, N.J., says four out of five siding prospects he presents to have no idea that decorative detail options are available. "They think siding is siding."

Marrash shows them that's just not true. Windows, doors, gables, dormers, and corners, he says, can be dressed to the nines. Typically, Marrash starts by describing what Accurate Roofing & Siding can do for the clients' windows & installation of lineal surrounds, mantels, corner blocks with rosettes, or the addition of dentil molding or keystones, for a start.

All Around the House

The windows are just the beginning. Other areas where decorative detailing presents options are doors, where systems incorporate elements such as columns and pilasters, and gable ends, where round, oval, or octagonal louvers add distinction to a wall. Contrasting half-round cedar shake panels in dormers and gable ends are a favorite.

"Fish scales," adds Jeff Monsein, owner of Aluminum Co. of North Carolina. "We use a lot of fish scales." A slight contrast in color -- white horizontal siding with cream-colored fish scales on gable ends -- lends class to exteriors, he says. In addition to window and door surrounds, Monsein's company often installs latticework beneath gables for a gingerbread look.

Selling the Options

Because siding customers are rarely aware of options, Michael Houar, owner of Hawaiian Repair & Remodeling, on Maui, says custom details are almost always an upsell. They can, in his estimation, add 35% or more to the cost of the job, with the preponderance of cost coming from the labor side of the balance sheet.

"We show [homeowners] a menu of decorative options," Monsein says.

"Other companies don't take time to learn about what's out there. So you can demand more money, because you're offering a better package. Price isn't the issue. The value and quality of the job becomes the issue." An upcharge of 10% to 20% is typical for his company.

Marrash notes that because most siding contractors seek to close by offering the lowest price, they're reluctant to suggest decorative options. He estimates the cost of accessory items on a typical $15,000 vinyl job at around $3,000.

"The gist of it is you need to separate yourself from other estimators," he says. What Marrash does, on his first visit, is point out that such options are available and direct prospects to the company's Web site ( for a look at their choices.