What I'm Seeing Now

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When Historic Home Siding Installation Does Not Follow Best Practices

What do you do when historic home siding installation does not follow Best Practices?

What do you do when those Best Practices are demanded by the product manufacturer?

What do you do when diagrams describing installation Best Practices are available for anyone to see?  That link above is to a page with 14 diagrams for flashing installation alone.

Obviously neither of these crews employed by this contractor have seen any of those diagrams.

You should know, this project is only about 6 weeks old.

The kick-out flashing seen on the left has four diagrams to see, each advising that the flashing meets 2012 IRC code and be a minimum of 4"x4".  The installation on the right is a joke, is pieced together, lacks any flashing, is not square or fitted together flush, exposes the tracks behind the trim and has a nail sticking out!  Do either of these impress as employing Best Practices in any way?

Protective cover plates, like the one on the left, do not look like a base suggested in any diagram, and this one is already cracked!  That receptacle is live and soaking wet in the rain falling during the inspection.  And the product on the right, the base for the light fixture, not decorated or even routed on the edges, is merely stuck on the wall (apparently glued) and "Certainteed" can be read on the bottom.  Clearly it is a Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF), and not called for in this historic home restoration's contract.  My eighth-grade shop teacher would give me a very bad grade for this. 

Very cute indeed.

I could entreat you with many more photos.  No matter.  It bores after a while.

But my original question still stands.

And I asked that question in three different contexts above.  It's an important question to consider.

What do you do?  Think about it, what do you do here?

My recommendation:  my job as a home inspector is not to judge, or condemn, or diagnose, or tell others how things are "supposed" to be done.  It is to observe and report.  And I have to say, I LOVE IT when I can report really good stuff!  And it's disappointing, to say the very  least, especially for a homeowner in the middle of an effort to restore an old and historic property, to see work like this.  What do you do?

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 21 commentsJay Markanich • February 17 2014 03:37AM

Comments

I have seen the fiasco that occurs when siding is not installed properly. I have seen a friend's home literally fall apart from the outside. It is so important to get the job done by true professionals who know how to do it right. It is such an unnecessary to have to do it twice.

Posted by Tanya Van Blake-Coleman, Improving the Quality of Your Life (Van Blake-Coleman Realty, St. Thomas/www.talk-to-Tanya.com) over 4 years ago

Tanya - this particular manufacturer requires that any installer of its products be trained and certified by them to insure that things don't fall apart from the outside!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Oh vey.  Looks like it may need to be done again.  So avoidable.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 4 years ago

Not sure how far this will go Debbie.  But the contractor has almost been fully paid.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Morning Jay I wonder if the contractor is going to fix all those problems.  I would bet whoever installed the siding is going to be in the unemployment line soon. 

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 4 years ago

I don't know that the homeowner would want this guy making any changes, seeing as how so much has been done incorrectly James.  Why would it be done right the second time?  Where will he suddenly get his training?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

I think the homeowner needs to read the contract. Historic conservation and restoration is a specialty that many so called contractors don't understand. I wonder if they have a local historical society that owners could call to stop by and inspect this work? I wouldn't want them doing any work on our house.

Posted by Jeff Pearl, Full Service Full Time Realtor (RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA) over 4 years ago

This is a very serious homeowner Jeff.  He called me, before the work was completed, stopping it midstream because things didn't look right.  I agree, not on my house either - and my house is only 15 years old!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay, as you say, this is worse than disappointing. A really good product, improperly installed becomes as big a problem as if it had been a lousy product. Water and weather getting in=bad news for the homeowner!

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) over 4 years ago

Good morning Jay. I see my fair share of this type of workmanship reading as many home inspections as I do. I just recently got a report on a new home that must have been sided by the same person. What a mess it was.

Make it a great week!

Posted by Joe Petrowsky, Your Mortgage Consultant for Life (Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709) over 4 years ago

Hi Jay,

Next step for the home owner is to get a contractor that has the proper training to install the siding materials. Then they will have to get legal advice for the crappy work done or left un done to this point. A bad situation for all involved except you unless the customer wants you to testify in court.

Have a good day in Bristow.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 4 years ago

I have to disagree with you about how to report on improper work like you show. I wrote a post recently where the contractor did not follow the manufacture's guidelines for installation of the product. I used links and diagrams from the manufacture in my report to demonstrate the installation errors. I went as far as to say the deck was structurally weak based on the information. 

Observe and report, yes that is part of the job. I also believe the expectation is to explain why something is wrong and to give our opinion. I do not generally go into how something is to be repaired, that is not my job. I do go into detail why it is wrong with as much evidence as I can find to back up what I say. Otherwise it's just a comment without substance. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 4 years ago

Ditto, what that guy Jim said---and---sometimes I do give the client some options as to how proper repairs might be done because that might include taking it all off and starting over.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 4 years ago

Crews?  Contractor?  Tha looks like a DIY nightmare. 

Posted by Fred Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Well, Tom, in this case it is bad news.  Hence my questions!

Agreed Joe, this was most disappointing for everyone, especially the homeowner.

I did all that on this report Jim.  My reports do not pull punches, and sound very much like my blogs.  Some of the verbiage in this blog came right from the report (I did not use the word "joke" in the report though).  I am frank, forthcoming and hit where it needs to be hit.  What I never do is say, "here is how they should have done it."  Instead I say, "here is what James Hardie wants to see instead."  I say "here is the diagram and here is the job." 

On an EPDM roof recently (I blogged about it) Firestone was called by the builder to look at it because the builder thought I was unfairly critical, and based on my report and photos Firestone came.  Firestone condemned the EPDM roofs on all the houses and wanted them all replaced.  I pulled no punches in the report - I just said here diagram, here job.  Tarzan no like. The builder really hates me now, and the neighborhood thinks I am one of the Beatles.  That report was all links and photos.

To me, that is observe and report.

Valentine Boy (none sent to me, mind you - which is fair as I did not send one to you) - see above!  And one of the options is ALWAYS rip it up and start over!

Fred - one contractor, two crews, NO DIY.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

I stand humbly corrected Ringo.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 4 years ago

I wasn't smashing back Jim!  Or trying to correct.  I just reread my post and it could be interpreted as you did.  No plah-blem.  That's not Spanish.

And Ringo was underrated.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

I know you weren't amigo. That is spanish. 

And yes he is. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 4 years ago

Believe it or not I have a framed Beatles poster in our bedroom!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

"Best" practices? More like "Let's do what ever is easiest" practices.

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) over 4 years ago

They weren't employed here Suzanne!  And this manufacturer requires them.  They call their trained installers GuildQuality.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

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