I was recently asked to conduct a pre-purchase inspection of a beautiful and expensive 10-year-old residence. The home had a two story foyer, hip roof colonial, three-car garage, Texas sized master suite, finished walkout basement for the playroom, elegant entertaining spaces, etc. The disclosure statement listed “No problems.” Sorry, but I wasn’t born yesterday…
If there are “no problems,” what is the big water stain on the ceiling of the office? Why is there a big patch in the ceiling between the family room and the breakfast suite? Why is the paint peeling and saturated at drywall sections of the ceiling in the basement playroom? Why is there mold growing at the base of the exterior doors of the family room? Construction standard practices are often at fault.
The house is located in an expensive neighborhood in an exclusive town. It was surely “professionally” designed and constructed. A building review would reveal few significant defects. The problems I observed are the result of industry standard practices that result in problems like ice dam vulnerability, roof and other exterior leakage problems, and a variety of other condensation and moisture problems.
While cliché, thinking outside the box on how we tackle construction challenges remains one of my favorite topics. For starters, let’s take a look at some common problems with vinyl siding.
Improving Vinyl Siding Standard Practices
When it comes to vinyl siding, the combination of poor water performance and fading make this a less obvious choice today than even a decade ago. Vinyl siding standard installation practices require a water barrier below. Most building wraps are not designed to last for decades as a water barrier. We have observed dramatic deterioration of standard house wraps installed under siding. A big brand name does not necessarily equate to a best practice. The photo here shows one of the most common trouble spots for vinyl siding – the roof/wall interface. The detail shown – with lead kickout flashing and j-channel terminated outside the siding will help reduce water penetration into the wall assembly – assuming the roof system is not also vulnerable to ice dams.
If you’re having problems with your siding or spot problems on a home you’re considering purchasing, be sure to contact us to schedule a home inspection.
Watch for our next blog where we’ll talk about how a few more standard construction practices fall short, including: Ice Dams, Wood Siding & Trim, Decking and Heating System Design. Come back soon!