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  1. #1
    Scott Dana's Avatar
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    Default Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    I know the install instructions for Hardiplank says that caulk is needed between joints. However, just about every hardiplank house I inspect has the caulk coming loose and not being effective. How big of a deal is that? I always recommend it needs to be caulked again, but isn't that siding pretty darn...er...hardy? What are the ramifications if it's not caulked? Siding would deteriorate over...10 years?

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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    I think that you will find an alternate method to caulking, in the manufacturer's installation instructions, to allow a sheathing strip at the joints. The ramification of failing caulk would be water penetration, not much of an issue for the siding itself, but water infiltration into the wall would be an issue.
    Jim

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    Scott Dana's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    Yeah, I guess it's really a matter of water penetration as opposed to deterioration with the siding, good point. I guess I was thinking there would still be that protective barrier (assuming it was installed) that would help keep water out. But I guess that is only what it is, protective, and not a water-proof barrier.

    Scott Dana
    Dana Home Inspections, Inc.

  4. #4
    David Banks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    I think that you will find an alternate method to caulking, in the manufacturer's installation instructions, to allow a sheathing strip at the joints. The ramification of failing caulk would be water penetration, not much of an issue for the siding itself, but water infiltration into the wall would be an issue.
    Jim
    May be issue for siding itself also.

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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    David is that Hardi plank brand of siding or hard board siding?
    IF that is Hardi plank, that is the first time I have seen an issue with water degradation with any cemetious(sp?) siding product.
    Not saying it can't or won't happen, but Hardi plank is pretty resistant to water damage in my experience.
    Of course your picture is of a installation that violates all siding installation instructions that I have seen.

    Jim Luttrall
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  6. #6
    David Banks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    That is Hardi plank. Confirmed by seller who was a contractor.
    I do not see much of it here in New England. Thanks to this forum I called out poor installation in different new house last week. Sent client Hardiplank PDF. He was very grateful.
    I doubt the joints would get same deterioration.


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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    That damage could be a regional thing, we don't see nearly as much freeze/thaw damage as your part of the world.
    Where that product is damaged, I could easily understand it staying wet and having multiple freeze/thaw cycles.
    Any type of siding would have problems there and no amount of caulk would help, that 2" clearance to roof shingles would though.
    Think maybe that's why the manufacturer instructions say that?

    Jim Luttrall
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    How old was the siding in that picture? Granted, I am a relatively new inspector but I have not come across such bad deterioration. Like Jim, we don't have the freeze/thaw issue here in Georgia, so we may not come across something so damaged. But very interesting to see. Thanks.

    Scott Dana
    Dana Home Inspections, Inc.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    Scott. House was built in 1998.


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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    Just as I said I don't see much damage to Hardi plank, I saw some today where it was installed against shingles. Not nearly so bad as what your picture showed, but definite moisture damage. Clearance to the shingle is important and moisture damage is possible on Hardi plank!
    Jim

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    Our house has hardie plank siding that has large gaps between the planks. In some cases, the planks are cracking near the nails as the siding has apparently expanded and contracted too much. Our house is only 7 years old and we live in Boise, ID where it's pretty dry - high desert plains, but we do get snow and rain too.

    How often should I expect to need to recaulk hardi siding? Do these photos look "normal"? It doesn't look like this siding was caulked during installation to me...

    Regards,
    Randy

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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    Quote Originally Posted by randy grohs View Post
    Our house has hardie plank siding that has large gaps between the planks. In some cases, the planks are cracking near the nails as the siding has apparently expanded and contracted too much. Our house is only 7 years old and we live in Boise, ID where it's pretty dry - high desert plains, but we do get snow and rain too. How often should I expect to need to recaulk hardi siding? Do these photos look "normal"? It doesn't look like this siding was caulked during installation to me...

    Part of the problem is the caulking gets hard and another part is inadequate application. I wouldn't be surprised if some has to do with your dry climate as well. Doesn't look like much caulking has been used, maybe none at some of the joints. The polyurethane caulks stay really soft and rubbery for a long time and that would be my first choice. Check with Hardie to see what type/brand they recommend. Now that the house has done its "settling", large scale movement is likely to be minimal. There will be some movement, but not as much. Use a good flexible caulk and it should last as long as the paint job. However, the paint probably will not be as flexible as the caulk. So, if you can, match up the caulk color with the paint so the lines won't be quite as noticeable when the paint separates from the caulking. In your case, you probably won't be able to because I doubt it will come in blue.

    The fractures probably were caused by the nail too close to the corner/edge. Or, the siding might have been hit and weakened when the nail was driven and the crack opened up later.

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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    Cracking is the issue I see In California. Once it has a crack then it starts to fall apart. SEE PIC ATTACHED.

    Best

    Ron

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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at HardiePlank joints

    Quote Originally Posted by randy grohs View Post
    Our house has hardie plank siding that has large gaps between the planks.
    There are two approved methods to install Hardieplank siding - and your photo shows neither method.

    In some cases, the planks are cracking near the nails as the siding has apparently expanded and contracted too much.
    Looks to me as though the cracking is a result of improperly placed nails - nails too close to the ends, nails where they are not supposed to be nails, etc.

    How often should I expect to need to recaulk hardi siding?
    Depends entirely on the quality of the caulking/sealant used.

    A cheap caulking/sealant might not last but a year or two, while a high quality caulk/sealant might last 20 years or more. All depending on proper installation of the caulk/sealant too.

    Do these photos look "normal"?
    "Normal"? Unfortunately, yes, all too "normal", however, also not correct too.

    It doesn't look like this siding was caulked during installation to me...
    I agree.

    The two methods I mentioned are:

    1) Install a flashing behind each joint, the flashing can be a piece of 30# felt cut to proper size and installed such that the joint lands over the center of the flashing.

    2) Leave 1/8" between the ends and caulk/seal the joints.

    Method 1) is the preferred option.

    You can read it here in the HardiePlank installation instructions for the West (there are different installation instructions for different areas of the country). http://www.jameshardie.com/pdf/insta...plank_west.pdf

    On the second page you will notice that there are two nailing methods also:

    1) face nailing

    2) blind nailing

    If your was face nailed, it was nailed incorrectly.

    If yours was blind nailed, it was nailed incorrectly.

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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    Thanks for the replies guys - I really appreciate it. You've confirmed what I suspected was the case.

    I guess my next line of questioning has to to do with what my next step should be from an accountability standpoint. I have sent my pictures to the builder and his siding contractor. On the one hand, recaulking is a normal maintenance item that I might expect. But on the other hand, the siding should have been caulked properly when it was installed the first time (I already paid to have it caulked - they just didn't caulk it). My hunch is that the unusually large gaps and shifting are due to magnified expansion/contraction caused by the siding getting wet because of lack of caulking during installation. I'm not sure whether to expect this amount of gapping to show up only 7 years after the house was built. I have a friend and coworker who lives in the same neighborhood and whose house was built at the same time as mine by a different builder: his siding looks about the same as when his house was built and he's definitely NOT experiencing what we are. I'm considering whether to just hire someone to fix things up and pay for it myself as a normal maintanence item, whether to insist that my builder share in the expense or whether to pursue legal action.

    Does anyone have any experiences (good or bad) to share to help me choose a course of action from here?

    Thanks again,
    Randy


  16. #16
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at HardiePlank joints

    Quote Originally Posted by randy grohs View Post
    I'm considering whether to just hire someone to fix things up and pay for it myself as a normal maintanence item, whether to insist that my builder share in the expense or whether to pursue legal action.
    By far 'the cheapest' and 'least aggravating' way is to pay to correct it yourself. Talking about caulking/sealing it.

    To go after the builder and his siding contractor to back the job will (in most cases) be an 'aggravating job' - are you up for it? However, it is at least worth your first try, that will not take a lot of effort on your part.

    If indeed the siding was installed improperly (all we have are a couple of photos so we cannot make that determination) and you want the siding removed and replaced with properly installed siding ... then you are talking big money and a lot of effort.

    Unless the builder steps up to the plate freely and willingly, you are talking about an attorney, expert witness, legal action, etc.

    With no guaranty of winning your argument, without regard to whether you are right or not.

    All the above said, put together as much information and photos as you can to document your case, send it to the builder and wait for their response.

    This would be the first prerequisite step before any legal action anyway - giving the builder the opportunity to check it out and repair it, or respond as to what he will or will not do.

    After you get the builder's response, you will need to decide your next step.

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  17. #17
    Mike Antley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    I'm painting the house, so I've used some good caulking to put between the small gaps (.125" or less). I can tell the caulking is making a good seal, however because of the nature of caulking, a seam is always noticed (by the wife). I'm telling her it's a seam, it's outside, (get over it) it's only raised off the surface of the lap hardy plank siding about 1/16". She says "it's unacceptable, and unprofessional" I want to tell her to go back inside and bake some cookies or something. But, I didn't because I know better, so I'm going to use my grey caulking to seal the seams, and to "fix" the corners where the contractor broke it. Is this the best I can do? I have to report my findings to the bossssssss. Thanks


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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    Mike, caulk the GAP. Don't create a raised bead of caulk on the surface. Pump it INTO the gap and smooth it out like bondo on a car. The seam will never disappear totally, but the caulked joint should look better than a empty butt joint.
    I hate to say it, but your wife is right.

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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at HardiePlank joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Mike, caulk the GAP. Don't create a raised bead of caulk on the surface. Pump it INTO the gap and smooth it out like bondo on a car.

    First, though, remember what caulking/sealant is for.

    It is to fill a space between to materials, usually two dissimilar materials, and needs to be able to do three main things: 1) BOND to what you are caulking/sealing; 2) be ELASTIC enough to allow for contraction of what it is bonded to; 3) be COMPRESSIVE enough to allow for expansion of what it is bonded to.

    That means there will be times when the caulk/sealant is 'stretched', leaving an indentation, and other times when the caulk/sealant is 'compressed', leaving a ridge. SELDOM, if ever, will it be flat and smooth across. Tell your wife I said to go inside and bake some cookies for you before you will never be able to 'make it right' for her in that she wants the gaps flat and smooth with the siding. Tell here 'Honey, I have tried, and tried, but I just cannot do it, the siding keeps changing lengths on me (expanding and contracting), I am frustrated about not being able to do what you want, would you bake some cookies for me while I try to figure this out.'

    Now, also, "Pump it INTO the gap" ... you really do not want to do that(the more caulk/sealant you pump in, just makes it worse) ... caulking/sealant has an elasticity rating, typically based on it intended cross section ratio of width/thickness, width should typically be 2/1 of thickness, i.e., if the joint is 1" wide, the thickness should be 1/2" or less, usually with a minimum thickness of 1/4" and a minimum width of 1/4" (I know, that is a 1/1 ratio, but those are typical minimums). Caulk/sealant should also ONLY be adhered to two surfaces, let's say the two ends of the Hardieplank siding. That caulk/sealant is now free to expand/compress across the joint. Now consider what happens when the caulk/sealant is adhered to a third side, like the back of that joint ... chances are the caulk/sealant will pull away from one or both ends before the back moves enough to allow for proper elongation, and under compression, you now have one big honking gob of caulk/sealant trying to push the ends of the Hardieplank apart and away from the wall (when the Hardieplank is heated and in expansion).

    You will want to use a bond breaker in the back of the joints.

    That is why, although too late now, the *best* (and recommended installation Option #1) for Hardieplank is to 'install flashing behind the joints' and *not* caulk them.

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    In my experience with dealing with James Hardie, obtaining answers is exceptionally difficult. I finally gave up after one inspection and last I heard the finger pointing was still going on between Hardie, Toll Bros., the installer and the painter on a 3 yr old home - that was a month and a half after the inspection.

    I now believe I know the cause but no one will fess up - especially since it also involves other homes in the neighborhood.

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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at HardiePlank joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    I now believe I know the cause

    Which was ... ?

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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post

    I now believe I know the cause
    You've got my attention...

    Fred


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    I went back to this home a second time with a hunch. What I expected, and found, were that these hairline cracks were in the mid span section of full length boards. Hardie requires that the boards be carried vertically. If carried flat they would significantly bend and therefore likely (in my view) create the cracks. I suspect that they were transported, stored and or carried in a manner that caused excessive bending. In any event, the installer ignored the caulking of open joints as well as proper installation of flashing over brick veneer.

    What I have not been able to get answers to is whether Hardie views these cracks acceptable or not and until I hear otherwise I'll assume the latter. I do not know what the long term effects are. Pressing Hardie for an answer was a dead end.

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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    Hardiplank used to say caulk all butt joints. Then they stated use flashing behind butt joints tyvek created a precut piece sized for this purpose.

    Hardiplank is to be stored dry until it is installed on a home. If it is stacked flat on the job site exposed to rain it will get soft.

    Steve Reilly
    Owl Inspection Services
    Villa Park IL.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Reilly View Post
    Hardiplank used to say caulk all butt joints. Then they stated use flashing behind butt joints tyvek created a precut piece sized for this purpose.

    I don't know when they started doing which (first), but now it is one or the other.

    I suspect Tyvek is not approved for that use as when there is a flashing, there is a gap (no caulking) and Tyvek is not - at least to my knowledge - sunlight resistant enough to be left exposed for long periods of time. Which means *it should not be used as* flashing behind the open joints.

    Not unless Tyvek says it can be left exposed for long periods of time (such as 'forever').

    Do you have approximate dates as to which (caulking or flashing) was required first? Thanks, I would like to know.

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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    Hi Jerry,

    First rule was to calk butt joints. Then they changed their instructions to use flashing at each butt joint. We had Hardi reps come out and speack at our Northern Illinois Chapter of ASHI meeting. They make a vapor barrier flashing that is cut in sheets around 8" x 10" for this purpose. I have not been on Hardi's web site but I bet you can find the info there.

    Steve Reilly
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    Villa Park IL


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    One of the biggest problems with caulking the joint is everyone cuts the pieces so tight that they almost have to squeeze the piece in. If a slight space is left and you can actually get caulking in the joint and use a good caulking (there use to be caulking specifically for it) an elastomeric caulk would be good.

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
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  28. #28
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at HardiePlank joints

    Steve,

    From the HardiePlank web site, North Installation Instructions. (The West and South Installation Instructions are the same.)
    - Joint Treatment*
    - (Required for ColorPlus Finish, Recommended for Primed product)
    - James Hardie does not recommend the use of caulk at field butt joints.
    - *For other jointing options, refer to local building code or NER 405

    The drawing shows the use of "joint flashing**" at each butt joint (which is also to be made at a stud).

    **As required by local building code

    Thus, HardiePlank does not want caulk used between butt joints, and they are only recommending the joint flashing where required by local building code.

    Here is the kicker, as I explained to a builder in the state of Washington a few days ago when he called me.

    They have been applying HardiePlank directly over OSB sheathing, says you can on the installation instructions. That is the way the AHJ has been enforcing/allowing it. Seems that they have an owner who is 'making a big deal' over not having a weather resisting barrier (house wrap) installed over the OSB and under the HardiePlank siding. The building department has always said 'That's okay, that's what the installation instructions state.', however, the building department is now saying that the code says that a weather resisting barrier is required behind the HardiePlank siding. What should they do?

    I explained that there are two basic ways to look at things: 1) if it is not "right", it is "wrong"; 2) if it is not "wrong" it is "right", however, there is a lot a gray area between "right" and "wrong". That said, when you get to court before a judge or a jury, which way do you think they will look at it? Most likely - 'If it is not "right" it is "wrong". And, if it is "wrong" it is therefore "not right", and what happens when the judge or jury finds that you did it "not right"? You pay out of your pocket.

    I suggested that the builder buy that persons house back, making them whole for everything they put into it, then never sell the house again as they have acknowledged a "known defect" regarding the house. The builder can rent it out forever, just not sell it.

    Why do that? Because if the builder were to remove all of the siding on that one house, everyone in that neighborhood would want the same thing done to their houses. When the walls rot out for lack of a weather resisting barrier, the builder will need to address and repair each as requested.

    The builder knows that, while they did not do it "wrong" according to James Hardie, they did not do it "right" with regard to keeping water off wood (off the OSB) and everyone knows what water does to wood. I told them that construction basics and common sense was not followed, that somewhere along the line their thinking lost track of construction basics and common sense, therefore it was "not right", making it "wrong".

    If they follow my advice, some buyer will be happy, if they do not, and if there is a class action lawsuit against them, they (the builder) will be very unhappy - everyone in earshot will want the HardiePlank removed from their houses, house wrap installed, then new HardiePlank siding installed. Can you say $$$$!

    Sometimes builders lose sight of what they are really doing, or should really be doing. I suspect I did not make that builder happy with what I recommended, but that is their best option. Their worst option would be trying to defend what they did.

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  29. #29
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    Some of the better caulking has written on the tube "not to be used for butt joints". This is most likely because they don't to be help responsible when it falls out.


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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at HardiePlank joints

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    Some of the better caulking has written on the tube "not to be used for butt joints". This is most likely because they don't to be help responsible when it falls out.

    Almost any caulking joint is the same type of joint as a "butt joint" where two pieces are set close to each other, but not touching each other, typically at least 1/4" space between the pieces, then the open area between the two 'butts' are caulked. The key to that joint is that the caulking does not adhere to the back side substrate - a good caulk joint only adheres to two surfaces, which allows the caulk to flex between those two surfaces as they expand and contract. As soon as the caulk adheres to the third surface, the back substrate of the joint, then the caulk is not free to be compressed during expansion, or elongated during contraction, of the materials being caulked together at that joint.

    I can only think the "not to be used for butt joints" would mean 'not to the end grains on wood' and 'unless sealed and painted', otherwise (without sealing and painting the end grain) the caulk would not adhere.

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  31. #31
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    Here is a link to the DAP® ALEX PLUS® Acrylic Latex Caulk Plus Silicone tech bulletin. Check out page 2.

    http://www.dap.com/docs/tech/00010019.pdf


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at HardiePlank joints

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    Some of the better caulking has written on the tube "not to be used for butt joints". This is most likely because they don't to be help responsible when it falls out.
    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    Here is a link to the DAP® ALEX PLUS® Acrylic Latex Caulk Plus Silicone tech bulletin. Check out page 2.

    http://www.dap.com/docs/tech/00010019.pdf

    James,

    This is what it actually says: "Do not use for filling butt joints, surface defects or for tuck pointing."

    Which is different than "not to be used for butt joints".

    They are saying not to use that "to fill" butt joints. That is likely because of the reasons I stated, appearance due to the compression or elongation of the sealant.

    Compression (caused by the two siding pieces expansion due to heating) will bulge the caulk joint outward from the face of the siding.

    Elongation (caused by the two siding pieces contracting due to cooling) will cause the caulk to draw back from the surface as the caulk is 'stretched' width-wise.

    The surface defects and tuck pointing may be the same thing, they do not want you to use it for a cosmetic use when the surface of the caulk may change from the surface of the material.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 10-25-2008 at 06:10 PM.
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  33. #33
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    You are wrong.........sorry!

    You are also wrong about Obama!


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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at HardiePlank joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Almost any caulking joint is the same type of joint as a "butt joint" where two pieces are set close to each other, but not touching each other, typically at least 1/4" space between the pieces, then the open area between the two 'butts' are caulked.
    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    You are wrong.........sorry!
    If it is not a "butt joint", then it is a "lap joint"?

    Are you saying that DAP *only* allows their caulk to be used for "lap joints"?

    That would mean that DAP is eliminating their product from use in the majority of caulking uses.

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  35. #35
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    Having used and abused the HardiePlank product for a few years now I have a good sense of the strengths and weaknesses of the product and what causes the failures some are seeing.

    1) Surface cracks
    These are frequently caused by freeze-thaw conditions when the product is stored flat. Water wicks between the planks and then freezes and thaws causing surface damage. I have not seen surface crackling from normal flexure of the planks.

    2) Cracking/breakage at corners
    HardiePlank doesn't show intermediate damage when it's been bumped or dropped or smashed. It either cracks/breaks or it's on its way to cracking/breaking. You need to look very closely at a plank you expect has been damaged to see if there are any fine line cracks indicating the plank has been weakened. If you suspect the plank has been damaged, don't use it.

    3) Failure at roof lines and other intersections
    HardiePlank is made in bonded layers and water can wick between those layers and freeze/thaw, causing the board to deteriorate from within. All field cut joints need to be primed and painted before installation. Even factory joints should be primed at minimum (I don't trust the mfr priming and they don't prohibit re-priming so why not). Proper spacing needs to be maintained from the roof surface, decks, steps, and walkways. When last I looked the minimum was 2".

    4) Loose or floppy boards
    Improper nailing technique. Hardie is very specific about where to nail for both blind and face nailing. Most installers around here blind nail the planks. When doing so I suggest ensuring your tool depth setting is accurate and snapping a nailing line on each board. Nailing too high will give the board too much play and may cause breakage.

    Over-driving the nail can cause the back ply of the plank to chip out. When a nail is over-driven I caulk and place a second nail (as per instructions). Because I'm nailing into 1/2" OSB or plywood I also place nails at 8" spacing on either side of the over-driven nail.

    Under-driving the nail and then hammering flush will sometimes weaken or break the board. Use care when driving an under-driven nail flush.

    5) Breakage at plank ends
    When not caused by improper nailing technique (meet joints over studs where possible, nail minimum of 3/8" away from edge) I have seen this problem with improper fasteners being used. I recommend using a pneumatic siding or roofing nailer to attach the siding with proper sized ring shank stainless or galvanized fasteners.

    This is all from experience installing the product myself or watching others install the product. I've also seen their installation instructions change over the years. In their 2004 instructions they required a weather resistive barrier and suggested caulking the joints. In 2007 they recommended joint flashing as the preferred method, with caulking as a secondary method, deferring to local building codes. In 2008 they split their installation instructions by region (North, West, South) and they eliminated caulking as an option for joint treatment. They also made blind-nailing the preferred installation option and prohibited blind and face nailing (why blind nail if you're also going to face nail?).

    I remember a display they used to have of a piece of HardiePlank submerged in water. Now their instructions read "Do not install James Hardie products, such that they may remain in contact with standing water." After seeing how freezing water can delaminate the bonded layers I can see why that display was eliminated. I suspect as they get more data from the field their installation instructions will continue to become more specific. I'm hoping to contribute the following to their storage instructions:

    "Do not store product uncovered beneath a Japanese maple tree in Autumn. If storing beneath a Japanese maple tree in Autumn, uncover and remove a few boards, then re-cover. Always remove any fallen bright red Japanese maple leaves that could stain your HardiePlank siding before covering."


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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Dana View Post
    I know the install instructions for Hardiplank says that caulk is needed between joints. However, just about every hardiplank house I inspect has the caulk coming loose and not being effective. How big of a deal is that? I always recommend it needs to be caulked again, but isn't that siding pretty darn...er...hardy? What are the ramifications if it's not caulked? Siding would deteriorate over...10 years?
    Actually their latest instructions read "James Hardie does not recommend the use of caulk at field butt joints." Which means, you can still caulk the ends to trim boards...

    I'm not sure what to do about field joints. If they were originally caulked then they don't have the flashing behind them that is currently recommended. Is it better then to leave them un-caulked or re-caulk them as per the instructions in effect at the time?

    I've gone back and forth on caulking to trim boards. Does the caulking just trap water to freeze and thaw or does it prevent water from getting behind the joint in the first place? I suspect from my limited experience that there's nothing that will "prevent" water from getting anywhere - the best we can hope for is that once water is on the scene it has an unimpeded path to leave.


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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    Here are some pictures of cement board siding in failure because proper clearance was not followed.
    There is one of the 2" clearance starting to degrade; you have to look close
    The use of a kick-out flashing is also important

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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    Here are a couple of the kick-out flashing details that will perform over the long haul and stand the test of time.
    Note the trim board that does provide for a proper clearance above the roof plane.

    There is one of a joint degrading. this is due to the fact that the joint was caulked in and it let loose due the siding movement exceeding he parameters of performance for the sealant that was used. The moisture is then exposed to a raw edge and the freeze thaw does the rest. When moisture freezes it expands 9% and with this in a recurring cycle the siding degrades to a state in the pictures in the post above
    the Dap caulking that was referred up the line has no hope of meeting the performance characteristics required to seal up a butt joint in this product.
    the newer method of installing a joint flashing is the manufactures answer to these degrading joint problems.
    Picture it this way. we experience joint movements in our siding that are at least 1/8". When you use a sealant that is only a 1/8" bead and the joint opens 1/8" that is 100%
    joint movement; the dap only allows a +-12% dynamic joint movement. Vulkem only allows 25% so this means in order for vulkem to perform the sealant would have to be 1-2" wide to allow for a 1/8" joint movement. If the bonding was suspect due to a dusty joint or it being wet in the least then the potential for this sealant to let go at its edges(adheasive failure) is very great.
    This is why as things go they have gone away from recomending the butt joints be sealed.

    Also if you read the installation details closely you will find that a WRB (weather resistant barrier) is required. This just makes sense anyway, but there are always those trying to do it cheaper.

    Added a couple of more pictures of a fireplace chase that was not detailed very well

    Mark

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    Last edited by Mark Parlee; 11-08-2008 at 12:40 AM.

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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    The "Joint Treatment" diagram in the James HardiPlank installation instructions (North)
    07/07 references NER405 ("For other jointing options, refer to local building code or NER 405"), but I'll be darned if I can find any reference to either caulking or flashing there, anyone here have better luck?

    www.icc-es.org/reports/pdf_files/NES/NER405.pdf

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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    I seem to remember reading somewhere that if the butt joint is not tight then it should be caulked. The is the reference I have for now.

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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at HardiePlank joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    I seem to remember reading somewhere that if the butt joint is not tight then it should be caulked.

    Eric,

    That is one of the old ways, no longer, though.

    There used to be an Option A and Option B, now it is all 'Caulking of field joints not recommended.', or something like that.

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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    I have the 01, 05, 06, Guidlines for installation; there are some slight changes for the better and one that shows that Hardie required a WRB behind their products.
    At the next change they dropped their specific wording of their requirement of the WRB and yielded to code for specification.
    I can't upload the other ones due to their size
    You can email me and I will send them to you if needed

    Mark

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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at HardiePlank joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Parlee View Post
    I have the 01, 05, 06, Guidlines for installation;

    They also have a February 2007 version and an August 2007 update which breaks it down into geographical areas: north, west, south plus an install for installing over CMU.

    Mark, send my your installation instructions to jerrypeck@cfl.rr.com and I will reply back with the ones I have.

    Thanks,

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  44. #44
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    Given the photos posted above and all the problems noted with the product....

    If you were asked what siding you would use by a person planning a new home (who had decided to use this already and may now be changing his opinon). Can I ask what would you recommend. The sheating options that were in play are Homasote or Advantech and brick is likely too expensive an option....

    Last edited by Gary Anglin; 01-13-2009 at 03:59 AM. Reason: Spelling

  45. #45
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at HardiePlank joints

    Gary,

    I would sheath the house in plywood or OSB, then properly (means *pay attention to the details and flashings around openings* and *do not puncture, cut, or tear it*) wrap the house in building wrap.

    From that point on, installing any approved siding over it in the proper manner will lead to, and allow for, a proper drainage plane.

    Don't knock yourself out for not being able to get brick veneer, it is often installed improperly, and when it is (basically most of the time) and there are problems - the cost of repair is many times greater than the cost to repair other types of sidings.

    Of course, though, brick is 'maintenance free' regarding not needing to be sealed, painted, etc., and the life of brick veneer will likely outlast the life of the house ... which cannot be said for most other siding materials other than wood.

    My house is sheathed in 1/2" plywood, has 3/8" cedar plywood over that, then 1x6 cedar battens over that (making it look like a board and batten siding). The house was *NOT* well maintained when we bought it 3 years ago. I put on two coats of high quality primer (tinted to match the final house paint color) then two coats of high quality house paint.

    Our house is 30 years old and no evidence of leaks through the walls (even with the lack of maintenance over the years). I look forward to 30 more years of good service life out of the siding (okay, so maybe *I* won't get 30 years here ), and then I can see someone else getting another 30 years out of it, than someone else, etc., wood has a long life expectancy without being maintained - maintain it and it lasts a long time.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  46. #46
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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    Gary

    As Jerry stated pay close attention to the flashing detail and the application of the WRB (weather resistant barrier) Tyvek or other.
    I would rather have a good vinyl job rather than a poor hardie job.

    Mark


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    Default Re: Caulk Needed at Hardiplank joints

    Hardie Plank is great stuff.... Up here in soggy Oregon all the wood composite siding got run out of town about 10 years ago and replaced with HP. There were lots of people predicting the same problems with it. In 10 years I've NEVER seen a problem with Hardie that was installed correctly.

    Same can be said for vinyl though, too. I wouldn't worry as much about what product as I would the install.


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