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  1. #1
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    Default Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    Hi All and thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

    I'm the original owner of an 11 year old house in Oregon (lots of rain) with a Hardiplank exterior.

    I'm in the process of selling it and during inspection they noted "gaps" in the siding. I took a look tonight and at the joints there are numerous gaps ~1/8 of an inch, many much smaller, and a few as wide as 1/4 of an inch.

    These are at the butt joints and some still have caulking in them, while others have evidence of previous caulking which has now failed.

    In a few of them I see there was a nail placed between the boards in the joint for some unknown reason.

    There is some sort of barrier underneath the hardiplank which is dark colored which I assume is some type of water barrier.

    Now this is my bad for never checking my house exterior in 11 years, but what I'm wondering is what exactly is the severity of this issue? Is it recommended by the buyer to replace all siding? Or just re-caulk it can call it good?

    I've been reading about caulking and how it should be done at the butt joints (for older installations before they switched to doing flashing), but have not heard what the severity is if these gaps have been left unattended.

    Any assistance would be much appreciated as I'm presently freaking out.

    Thanks!

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    The building paper behind the siding should protect the structure - for a while. Without caulking or flashing, the weather will begin to damage the paper. Cleaning out the old caulking and reapplication of caulking is probably all you will need to do. I like polyurethane caulking because it stays flexible for a long time and is paintable.

    It sounds like you have already looked at the manufacturer's installation instructions. Follow their directions.

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    Default Re: Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    Hardie no longer recommends caulking at the butt joints. I would not re-caulk these joints; instead (if possible) prime all cut ends and place flashing behind the joints. If it was blind-nailed you can usually slip a piece of copper flashing up behind there.


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    Default Re: Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    Lots of conflicting information going on here, and more will come.

    In years past, in Oregon, I've had clients whose homes were constructed *without* *any* building paper or anything behind the Hardiplank siding as the code there is not require it and neither did the Hardiplank siding installation instructions. This has lead to a lot of damaged OSB/plywood sheathing (mostly OSB).

    Being as Hardiplank *did*, at the time that was installed, require the joints to be caulked, that is what should be done. The problem is that the minimum width joint for caulking is 1/4" and you have many which are only ~1/8".

    To make matters worse, there is likely *no* flashing installed behind the joints as it was not required back then.

    Also, caulking *will fail*, and the siding probably should have had that cheap builder's/painter's caulk (which the caulk likely is) removed and a high quality sealant used to replace the el cheapo caulking.

    Nonetheless, though, the first recommendation is to use a bright flashlight and look through as many joints as you can - you will be looking to see if you see wood (you will recognize the wood, it may be black and rotted if it is not brown looking) or building paper/house wrap (the building paper will likely be black felt paper, called tar paper by many; the house wrap will likely be white).

    What you see there will give you the next direction to go.

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    Default Re: Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    In years past, in Oregon, I've had clients whose homes were constructed *without* *any* building paper or anything behind the Hardiplank siding as the code there is not require it and neither did the Hardiplank siding installation instructions. This has lead to a lot of damaged OSB/plywood sheathing (mostly OSB).

    Being as Hardiplank *did*, at the time that was installed, require the joints to be caulked, that is what should be done. The problem is that the minimum width joint for caulking is 1/4" and you have many which are only ~1/8".
    I don't think that's quite accurate. As far as this house is concerned, Hardie did indeed require a WRB. Here is the relevant section of the instructions from June 2001:

    Hardiplank lap siding can be installed over braced wood or steel studs spaced a maximum of 24” o.c. or directly to minimum 7/16” thick OSB sheathing. Hardiplank lap siding can also be installed over foam insulation up to 1” thick.† Irregularities in framing, sheathing, and/or foam insulation can mirror through the finished application. A weather-resistive barrier is required *. Install Hardiplank siding with joints butted in moderate contact. Optionally, install the lap siding with a maximum 1/8” gap and caulk the joint ** (see detail at right).

    * Use a weather-resistive barrier in accordance with: BOCA National Building Code Section 1403.3; SBCCI Standard Building Code Section 2303.3; ICBO Uniform Building Code Section 1402.1; or CABO One-and-Two Family Dwelling Code Section 703.2.1.


    But don't forget the reason Hardie ultimately changed their recommendations. From their 2008 technical bulletin:

    Previously, there were two options for treating field butt joints for Primed HardiePlank lap siding (i.e. the use of caulk with a gap or the use of a joint flashing behind the joint). Effective immediately, James Hardie does not
    recommend the use of caulk at field butt joints for HardiePlank™ lap siding Primed or with ColorPlus® technology. The use of a joint flashing behind field butt joints is the required joint treatment method for HardiePlank™ lap siding with ColorPlus® technology and the preferred method for primed HardiePlank lap siding. The use of caulk at field butt joints is a maintenance item for the homeowner, aesthetically compromises the finish look and is recommended against by some caulk manufacturers.


    So, you could continue to use a method that Hardie now recommends against, or you could (if possible) use the method they do recommend, which is flashing behind the joints. All of that is predicated on the siding having been installed correctly in the first place, which includes the presence of a weather-resistive barrier. It's also predicated on the ability to flash after the fact; if that's not possible then caulking the joints may be the only feasible option.

    Last edited by Corn Walker; 07-12-2012 at 09:11 AM. Reason: formatting changes

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    Default Re: Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Corn Walker View Post
    I don't think that's quite accurate. As far as this house is concerned, Hardie did indeed require a WRB. Here is the relevant section of the instructions from June 2001:
    * Use a weather-resistive barrier in accordance with: BOCA National Building Code Section 1403.3; SBCCI Standard Building Code Section 2303.3; ICBO Uniform Building Code Section 1402.1; or CABO One-and-Two Family Dwelling Code Section 703.2.1.
    Seems as though you may have "intentionally" not posted this on that same sheet just below what you posted above:

    "NOTE: Some Building Codes exempt the use of weather-resistive barriers over “water-repellent panel sheathing” or exterior panels classified as “weather-resistive barriers”. James Hardie recommends the use of “building paper type” weather resistive barriers with all siding products. James Hardie will assume not responsibility for water infiltration within the wall."

    Thus, the use of a WRB *is not required*. Now, I will also say that I don't like the 'WRB' treated sheathing that I have seen, nonetheless, though, you would not be *required* to use a WRB over one of them.

    So, you could continue to use a method that Hardie now recommends against, or you could (if possible) use the method they do recommend, which is flashing behind the joints. All of that is predicated on the siding having been installed correctly in the first place, which includes the presence of a weather-resistive barrier. It's also predicated on the ability to flash after the fact; if that's not possible then caulking the joints may be the only feasible option.
    There are two solutions:
    - 1) Remove all of the old Hardieplank siding installed the old way and install new siding installed the new was as there is no practical way to correct an old installation and make it like a new installation.
    - - All you would end up with is a cluster*uck of an installation, and NO ASSURANCES that it would be any better than as it was originally installed.
    - 2) Maintain the original installation as it was intended to be maintained. This will be no worse than trying to make the old installation like a new installation.

    If you want to make it work the way it should - remove it and replace it with new siding.

    By the way, I forgot to add this: The people I've had call and I've worked with from out there, and the building officials I've talked with out there and who sent me the code sections, the local code *DID NOT REQUIRE* a WRB behind the Hardieplank siding. And the note on the Hardieplank installation instructions allowed, according to those building officials, allowed homes to be constructed without the building installing a WRB. Those same building officials told me that if those homes were constructed at the time I was calling and talking with them, that, yes, a WRB would be required - but was not 'back when the houses were built'.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 09-07-2016 at 10:22 AM. Reason: new edit: fixed a bad 'quote' tag / original 2012 edit: added the "By the way" section at the end
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    Default Re: Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Seems as though you may have "intentionally" not posted this on that same sheet just below what you posted above:

    "NOTE: Some Building Codes exempt the use of weather-resistive barriers over “water-repellent panel sheathing” or exterior panels classified as “weather-resistive barriers”. James Hardie recommends the use of “building paper type” weather resistive barriers with all siding products. James Hardie will assume not responsibility for water infiltration within the wall."

    Thus, the use of a WRB *is not required*. Now, I will also say that I don't like the 'WRB' treated sheathing that I have seen, nonetheless, though, you would not be *required* to use a WRB over one of them.
    Come, Jerry, it's not like you to play semantic games. I didn't include that section because I didn't think it was relevant, not because I was trying to hide something.

    • Hardie says a WRB is required
    • Hardie makes note that some sheathings qualify as a WRB under model building codes (as opposed to a "building paper type" WRB)
    • Hardie nonetheless recommends a "building paper type" WRB

    Therefore, a WRB is required and it can either be a building paper type (recommended) or integral to the sheathing as recognized by some model building codes.


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    Default Re: Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Corn Walker View Post
    Come, Jerry, it's not like you to play semantic games. I didn't include that section because I didn't think it was relevant, not because I was trying to hide something.
    Well, *it is* relevant.

    • Hardie says a WRB is required
    • Hardie makes note that some sheathings qualify as a WRB under model building codes (as opposed to a "building paper type" WRB)
    • Hardie nonetheless recommends a "building paper type" WRB

    Therefore, a WRB is required and it can either be a building paper type (recommended) or integral to the sheathing as recognized by some model building codes.
    Not quite correct.

    List item 1: "Hardie says a WRB is required" - INCORRECT reading of what it says / "Hardie says a WRB is required where required in the referenced codes" - CORRECT reading of what it says.

    And if the building code does not require the WRB, then the WRB is not required.

    Now, *IF* Hardie said that a WRB was required. (Note the period, no dancing around the issue and handing that off to the codes. Then you would be correct. However, Hardie *does* dance around the issue and *does* hand it off to the codes.)

    Jerry, it's not like you to play semantic games.
    Everything we write and say is a semantic game. *IT IS* what is said or what is written, it *IS NOT* what some want it to say or mean if only it has been said or written slightly differently.

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    Default Re: Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Well, *it is* relevant.
    Not quite correct.

    List item 1: "Hardie says a WRB is required" - INCORRECT reading of what it says / "Hardie says a WRB is required where required in the referenced codes" - CORRECT reading of what it says.
    Really?

    Hardie's Installation Instructions say a WRB is required. Full stop.

    The note clarifies what counts as a WRB under some building codes.

    The note doesn't say a WRB isn't required, it says a "building paper type" WRB is not required where model building codes allow for sheathings with integral WRB characteristics to be considered a WRB.

    If you want to qualify your statement and say a "building paper type" WRB is not required, then I agree. But to say no WRB is required clearly contradicts what is written plainly in the installation instructions.

    But I know, you hate to be wrong, almost as much as Watson does. I've written all I plan to on this subject; feel free to carry on as you see fit.


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    Default Re: Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Corn Walker View Post
    Really?

    Hardie's Installation Instructions say a WRB is required. Full stop.
    Incorrect. The instructions say that a WRB is required.* Half stop - see asterisk note.

    The note clarifies what counts as a WRB under some building codes.

    The note doesn't say a WRB isn't required, ...
    Incorrect. The "*" says "* Use a weather-resistive barrier in accordance with:" and then lists code to refer to to be "in accordance with".

    When the code does not require the WRB, a WRB is not required.

    To my knowledge, no current code says that a WRB is not required PERIOD, the current codes say it is not required *IF* those sidings are used - which means that a WRB (as in a separate building paper or house wrap) *is not required*. There are substitutions for it.

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    Thanks for all the info guys.

    As an update, the inspection report came in and said about my siding...

    - Recaulk Joints and seams
    -Gaps at joints on right side of house are abnormally large and missing caulking. Several Cracked/loose pieces also noted. Siding needs to be repaired by licensed contractor.

    The abnormally large gaps are maybe 3/16th of an inch wide with no caulking in them.

    I've had 2 contractors come in and say we just need to recaulk the thing.
    The buyers have had 2 contractors come in, One I heard nothing about, the other claimed the siding needs replaced on the right side due to "warping".

    The buyers want repairs done and a re-inspection.

    I'm trying to determine if the siding has a real problem or if it's just a contractor looking to make some money by prescribing the most expensive fix possible.

    Anyhow, we'll see what happens. My thought is to contact the original inspector and request he does the re-inspection after repairs, and prior to that ask exactly what he feels corrective action is. Is this the right sounding procedure?

    Also, and tell me if this is wishful thinking. Is there any chance that a 2001 Hardiplank installation they might have flashed it and then caulked it? In that case would the fix be to just do nothing?

    Last edited by Toby Lebron; 07-18-2012 at 03:03 AM.

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    Default Re: Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    Hi Tony,

    No way to know if the seams are flashed without looking, and looking might result in damage to the siding.

    As has been said before, you will get different diagnoses and different repair recommendations from each person. The contractor who wants to replace the siding may want to make a bunch of money, or he may realize that once he works on the house, the siding becomes his responsibility and he does nto want the liability.

    Caulk or replace depends on many factors, including weather exposure. If you are in an area that is subject to strong winds and extreme weather conditions, then replacement might be necessary. If you are in a protected area, caulking might be all you need. Difficult for me to determine while sitting at my computer.

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    Default Re: Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Toby Lebron View Post
    Thanks for all the info guys.

    As an update, the inspection report came in and said about my siding...

    - Recaulk Joints and seams
    -Gaps at joints on right side of house are abnormally large and missing caulking. Several Cracked/loose pieces also noted. Siding needs to be repaired by licensed contractor.

    The abnormally large gaps are maybe 3/16th of an inch wide with no caulking in them.

    I've had 2 contractors come in and say we just need to recaulk the thing.
    The buyers have had 2 contractors come in, One I heard nothing about, the other claimed the siding needs replaced on the right side due to "warping".

    The buyers want repairs done and a re-inspection.

    I'm trying to determine if the siding has a real problem or if it's just a contractor looking to make some money by prescribing the most expensive fix possible.

    Anyhow, we'll see what happens. My thought is to contact the original inspector and request he does the re-inspection after repairs, and prior to that ask exactly what he feels corrective action is. Is this the right sounding procedure?

    Also, and tell me if this is wishful thinking. Is there any chance that a 2001 Hardiplank installation they might have flashed it and then caulked it? In that case would the fix be to just do nothing?
    Here are the old and the new instalation guidelines for James Hardie

    Attached Files Attached Files
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    Spring Hill, TN
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    Default Re: Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Toby Lebron View Post
    Also, and tell me if this is wishful thinking. Is there any chance that a 2001 Hardiplank installation they might have flashed it and then caulked it? In that case would the fix be to just do nothing?
    Yepper ... ... wishful thinking.

    From the June 2001 HardiPlank Lap Siding Installation Instructions:
    - "Install Hardiplank siding with joints butted in moderate contact. Optionally, install the lap siding with a maximum 1/8” gap and caulk the joint"

    I.e., back then, either butt the ends together and cross your fingers or leave a gap and caulk.

    Of course, though, they only wanted a "maximum 1/8" gap" for the caulk and most caulks specify 1/4" minimum for the caulking bead ...

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    Default Re: Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    The contractor who wants to replace the siding may want to make a bunch of money, or he may realize that once he works on the house, the siding becomes his responsibility and he does nto want the liability.
    I agree with Gunnar in that the contractor going for replacement 'may have been there before' and realizes that, in the end, the siding will need to be replaced because the caulking is not going to suffice.

    He may have attempted to re-caulk another house and ended up having to replace the siding after spending 'umpteen-dozen-hours and working until dark-thirty every day' trying to do a decent caulk job.

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I agree with Gunnar in that the contractor going for replacement 'may have been there before' and realizes that, in the end, the siding will need to be replaced because the caulking is not going to suffice.

    He may have attempted to re-caulk another house and ended up having to replace the siding after spending 'umpteen-dozen-hours and working until dark-thirty every day' trying to do a decent caulk job.
    So from what In understand prior to 2008 Hardiplank installations generally did not use flashing for butt joints, but instead caulking.

    Any hardiplank installations with caulking at butt joints will suffer repetitive issues of caulking wearing out.

    The recommended maintenance for all pre-2008 hardiplank installations is thus either to add flashing, or replace all the siding?

    That seems like sort of a bad deal for quite a few homeowners.


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    Default Re: Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Toby Lebron View Post
    That seems like sort of a bad deal for quite a few homeowners.
    Unfortunately, that is the way it is with building. While we have known for years to flash under the seams of solid-wood siding, for some reason, we need to reinvent standard construction practices whenever a new product comes out.

    Caulk the seams when you paint. If you use a polyurethane caulk, it will last as long as the paint job. Then, when it's time to repaint, it will be time to recaulk as well.

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    Default Re: Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    I've attached the June 2001 installation instructions.

    I think the key would have been maintenance: keeping the caulk replaced and in good condition would be the best course of action for those installations (other than replacing the siding).

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    Default Re: Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    Just my opinion:

    1 Clean out as much failed caulk as possible with out damaging siding.
    2 Install new flashing at joints (nonreactive vinyl flashing).
    3 Face nail any loose siding (I like to pilot nails on Fiber cement)
    3 Wash exterior.
    4 Re Caulk any where failed caulk was removed and at joints as needed for ascetics(caulking not needed to keep water out just so you dont see monster gaps).
    5 Spot primer and repaint (you will need to repaint the whole house to make it look right, spot painted areas will flash)

    Miles of fiber cement installed CCREXTERIORS.COM

    Last edited by Clyde Mayo; 04-20-2013 at 02:27 AM.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde Mayo View Post
    Just my opinion:

    1 Clean out as much failed caulk as possible with out damaging siding.
    2 Install new flashing at joints (nonreactive vinyl flashing).
    3 Face nail any loose siding (I like to pilot nails on Fiber cement)
    3 Wash exterior.
    4 Re Caulk any where failed caulk was removed and at joints as needed for ascetics(caulking not needed to keep water out just so you dont see monster gaps).
    5 Spot primer and repaint (you will need to repaint the whole house to make it look right, spot painted areas will flash)

    Miles of fiber cement installed CCREXTERIORS.COM
    My house was re-sided (horizontal siding) with Hardi in 1998 by the previous owners. The joints are less than 1/8" and I've caulked, but too thin to be effective. I took a piece of fairly stiff steel (1.25" wide, 6"long, 14 ga. ?) and shoved it up into a joint and it appears that it would be possible install flashing in this manner at all the joints. How wide should the "non-reactive vinyl flashing" be and how thick? Can you tell me where to buy it? It appears you are saying that after installation of the vinyl, it should be nailed in place at the bottom of the siding on each side of the joint. Is this true? There will be exposed nail heads. How do I seal them, or is that necessary? My siding is 6 1/2" exposed, so it is probably 7.5 to 8", so I would want the flashing to be 8" or so long? Thank you. Dan


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    Default Re: Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    Can someone please send me the link to the 2003 Hardiplank lap siding installation instructions?
    I can't find it anywhere on the internet.
    Thanks.


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    Default Re: Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Roberta Swischuk View Post
    Can someone please send me the link to the 2003 Hardiplank lap siding installation instructions?
    I can't find it anywhere on the internet.
    Thanks.
    Link to question answered:
    http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...architect.html

    thanks to Brian:
    http://fibercementsidingfailure.com/...ctions-MLC.pdf


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    Default Re: Hardiplank siding caulk failure at butt joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Yes, thanks to everyone for the responses. I got what I needed.
    It's really nice to have a forum/blog like this to reference.


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