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  1. #1
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    Default Hardiplank Siding - Corners Cracking - Fact Finding

    I am on a fact finding mission to determine if our Hardiplank siding was installed incorrectly 7 1/2 years ago (2003) at the time our home was built. My husband would like to just go ahead and fix the problem himself ; however, my belief is that if the siding was installed incorrectly, we should be going back to the builder (even if we're out of warranty!) to have it corrected. I am not a contractor, and I'm doing my best to learn what I can about the siding installation process.

    Here's what I know: most of the issue is on the west facing side of our home (we're in Colorado and the sun can be intense). The corners of the butt joints are cracking and falling off. All appear to be cracking from the edges to the nail that was driven to hold the board in place. There appears to be no caulk used and it is unknown if flashing was put in place behind the butt joints (remember - installation was 2003).

    There are other homes in our subdivision that had the same siding installed, but with the use of "joint spacers" or covers between the butt joints. I don't know if this was proper installation procedure, or just a different builder's choice for installation.

    I would like to have a Hardie rep (we have 2 local Hardie Siding Centers nearby) out to the house to view the damage with husband and I, and determine if the siding was installed improperly.
    Questions:
    Would it also be beneficial to have a qualified home inspector out? (i know, i'm asking on a home inspection board!)
    Is it worth the time and effort to have this looked at, or does anyone's experience here prove otherwise?
    If there are other homes in the subdivision experiencing similar problems, would we be on our way to a class-action lawsuit against the builder/their installer?

    Thanks for any input/advice/guidance, folks! I can add pictures if warranted/needed.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
    Posts
    5,847

    Default Re: Hardiplank Siding - Corners Cracking - Fact Finding

    Quote Originally Posted by SuzieQ View Post
    I am on a fact finding mission to determine if our Hardiplank siding was installed incorrectly 7 1/2 years ago (2003) at the time our home was built. My husband would like to just go ahead and fix the problem himself ; however, my belief is that if the siding was installed incorrectly, we should be going back to the builder (even if we're out of warranty!) to have it corrected. I am not a contractor, and I'm doing my best to learn what I can about the siding installation process.

    Here's what I know: most of the issue is on the west facing side of our home (we're in Colorado and the sun can be intense). The corners of the butt joints are cracking and falling off. All appear to be cracking from the edges to the nail that was driven to hold the board in place. There appears to be no caulk used and it is unknown if flashing was put in place behind the butt joints (remember - installation was 2003).

    There are other homes in our subdivision that had the same siding installed, but with the use of "joint spacers" or covers between the butt joints. I don't know if this was proper installation procedure, or just a different builder's choice for installation.

    I would like to have a Hardie rep (we have 2 local Hardie Siding Centers nearby) out to the house to view the damage with husband and I, and determine if the siding was installed improperly.
    Questions:
    Would it also be beneficial to have a qualified home inspector out? (i know, i'm asking on a home inspection board!)
    Is it worth the time and effort to have this looked at, or does anyone's experience here prove otherwise?
    If there are other homes in the subdivision experiencing similar problems, would we be on our way to a class-action lawsuit against the builder/their installer?

    Thanks for any input/advice/guidance, folks! I can add pictures if warranted/needed.
    First, the builder after 7 years will most likely not do anything.

    Second, I would call James Hardie to see what needs to be done to have a rep look at the siding.

    Third, at this point a home inspector would be a good third party to identify and document the problems.

    Fourth, if you get involved in a class action lawsuit it could take years to settle and you will not get enough to take care of the problem. The attorneys are the only ones that win with this type of lawsuit.

    Hardie has changed their installation standards a couple of times sine 2003.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Chicago IL
    Posts
    1,984

    Default Re: Hardiplank Siding - Corners Cracking - Fact Finding

    Scott is right on many points.
    You would need a copy of the 03 install guide to see if the builder did it right according to the standards then. The current install guide does you no good in that respect.
    However, if you did the research and found significant differences between the 03 install guide and the current one, you might be able to go after Hardie. Realistically though that is a big fat waste of time. As Scott mentioned, they have changed their install recommendations numerous times since 03. Some of us think that's due to 'problems'. Hardie and their attorneys probably look at it as 'evolution'.
    7 years later, some cracks on one corner and you are thinking about a class action or going after the builder, grow up and take responsibility for homeownership and maintenance.
    I'm more than happy to go after a builder for bad work, in this case though get some caulk, fix it, move on with life. I'm surprised that the stuff lasted 7 years to begin with. That's of course coming from someone who thinks Hardie products are over hyped, well marketed garbage anyway.
    Fix it, move on. The builder isn't going to do squat. For a single home Hardie probably won't send someone out. If you play up the 'whole subdivision' angle they might send someone out to cover themselves, in the disguise of 'helping you'.
    Good luck

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Western Massachusetts
    Posts
    536

    Default Re: Hardiplank Siding - Corners Cracking - Fact Finding

    Since these cracks are to the nail head, and they are visible, I imagine your siding was "face nailed" rather than "blind nailed."

    I don't know if there was an '03 install guide but the past guides I have include June 2001, October 2004, February 2007, and January 2008. It wasn't until the January 2008 install guide that Hardie changed their instructions to recommend blind nailing only unless in a high wind area that required face nailing.

    In my experience, the older product had problems with the corners cracking and delaminating when face nailed. The layers appear to be better bonded in newer product but I can't say when I first noticed the change as I usually blind nail unless a detail requires face nailing.

    As an aside, it was the October 1, 2008 Technical Bulletin in which Hardie explained their September 8 announcement withdrawing their recommendation for caulking butt joints in the field.


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