Does this James Hardie siding installation look right?
All over this new construction I saw things seen in these photos. If it doesn't look right, you can bet it isn't! And if you were the buyer what would you think?
Siding members should not be fastened, or face nailed, with brads. And gaps between siding members should not be filled with caulking, putty, or anything of the like. Brads puncture the skin and expose the interior to moisture. Filling gaps with cracking and bulging material, and leaving it to be painted, is utterly poor practice. Both of these things lead to moisture migration into the material, and its ultimate deterioration. Such deterioration can happen quickly!
Leaving cracked or damaged siding members, aside from being unsightly and unprofessional, is never an appropriate installation. And nailing a corner and apparently removing the nail is even worse. And when things like this are seen in many places it becomes more disconcerting. Cracks and holes expose the cellulose material in the siding to moisture, and, again, quick deterioration.
Using brads is bad enough, but leaving shot brads in place that stick out from the siding, and then painting them, is unbelievable. And holes in the siding for speakers, or cameras, or whatever should be covered with flashed blocks on which such things should be mounted. And hammer dents in the edges of the siding, all over the house, is utterly inappropriate.
Worse, when I looked at other houses in the neighborhood it appeared that quite a different crew did that work there than did the work on this subject house. Showing that other more professional work to my client, and comparing it to my client's house, was quite the object lesson!
All in all, and considering that this sub-standard work was all over the house, was a big deal to my client and will be a big deal come the final walk through with the supervisor. I always provide links to the James Hardie website and to diagrams that show how thing should be done. That makes it clear that the home inspector is not making these things up!
By the way, instructions on the website are in English and Spanish, so language cannot be an excuse, if, that is, you can read. Oh, and diagrams are easy to read in any language...
My recommendation: private home inspections are essential in new construction! This would be considered an expensive house in anyone's book, and as such professionalism should reign. But INSPECT WHAT YOU EXPECT and let the chips fall. Hire peace of mind - hire a home inspector.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560