Home Improvement--General/Hardiplank Installation
We replaced our cedar siding with Hardiplank in 2005. Unbeknownst to us, the unsupervised incompetents who subcontracted with the siding company did not put any flashing at all on the house. In 2010, we started having major leaking around windows, although I had been seeing what I now know was water damage for a couple of years prior to that, but no active water pouring in for five years. The siding company has a lifetime warranty on their work, so they came out and installed flashing underneath the siding, but without actually removing any of the siding, just sliding it underneath the planks. Since then, I have found three pieces of flashing that have fallen out from beneath the siding. I'm concerned that was not the best way to fix the problem, and that we may be facing more damage years down the road because that is not the ideal way to put flashing on a house. Do you have any advice? Is it reasonable to ask the company to do the job over, and put flashing on properly this time? This cost us $30,000 in 2005, and I'm afraid it would be a huge burden to have to pay someone else to not only replace the siding, but also fix any problems that may have arisen from the improper install. Thank you very much.
I am sorry to hear about your troubles with the hardiplank installation. Not only is it bad for you as a home owner to have received poor value, it also diminishes the integrity of the home improvement industry in general.
Unfortunately at this point your dilemma may be more of a legal issue than a home improvement issue. You can demand they redo the work but cement fiber siding is brittle and cannot be removed without damaging it beyond the possibility of reuse. So they will have to completely remove all the siding and replace it with new siding to do the job right.
This link will provide you with access to installation instructions for hardiplank siding:http://www.jameshardie.com/homeowner/products_siding_hardieplankLapSiding.py?ope
If the siding was improperly installed it is reasonable to request that it be done correctly.
There are numerous considerations in determining if the siding company that installed the siding is truly at fault and your best course of action regardless of where the fault lies. You may need to consult with the company that installed the siding, a home inspector or a different siding company before deciding on a course of action.
The fact that they came back out and installed (or rather improperly installed) some flashing indicates a possible acknowledgement of poor workmanship. However depending upon the substrate the siding was installed over, flashing at butt joints is not always required.
Windows and doors should be properly flashed when they are installed. If however, the siding company did not install the windows they are not responsible for improper window flashing, though ethically and as a good business practice they should have been aware of issues that would prevent a successful install and made you aware of the issues as well.
If they did not paint the siding it is entirely possible and even likely that caulking was left to the painters. Hardiplank siding must be properly caulked to prevent water infiltration. Although some installers do caulk their siding jobs, it is ultimately up to the painters to ensure that all seams and joints are properly caulked prior to painting.
Caulking is an ongoing maintenance issue that must be monitored and reapplied as needed. Even if all areas were properly caulked before the siding was painted it is possible that settling or movement of the siding due to humidity or temperature change could have caused some caulking joints to fail. Unless you have someone that does routine (at least yearly) home inspections, this monitoring is your responsibility.
If your windows are old, of a poor design or have been improperly maintained water may be infiltrating through them somewhere, especially during high winds or other bad weather. Ensure the window are not the problem.
No matter which professional you consult with, tell them your concerns and ask them what they think the problem is. Many times in an effort to be agreeable a company will address a customers stated concerns (which may not be the actual cause of the problem) instead of trying to deduce the true cause. Avail yourself of their expertise by allowing them the opportunity to observe and deduce the problem independently. Be aware though, that the original installer may be less than candid if the solution presents them with substantial liability.
I hope I have been of some help to you in this matter.