2019 Idaho Real Estate Blog

So this is the perfect weekend for a water walk. What do I mean, walking the river? splashing through puddles with the kids? fly fishing your favorite stream? All of these sound good to me, but I am talking about durability of homes. so tour around your neighborhood and look for the tell tale signs of water intrusion, and ask yourself, do I know what is going on behind the cladding (siding, masonry, etc)

So get out after a rain storm and look at the siding or better yet masonry on new homes especially. Here is what to look for. Look at the masonry that sits on a roof, say an exterior wall on a second story home that extends into the roof. Most of the new homes will have cultured stone  or siding that comes down the wall and sits on the roof. WHOOPS not recommended by any manufacturer (masonry or wood ) that I know of. Masonry of any kind is not water proof, so the water that goes through the rock or cultured stone, hopefully hits the drainage plane behind the cladding (felt paper) and runs out the bottom. This is why if you look at older homes, say before 1980 they had weep holes at the bottom of the masonry to let the water out. Guess what, Rock and Concrete have not changed their structure, they still  have to let water out, and if they sit on a roof, they will wick water up. so look at the masonry on a roof, and you will see the water has wicked up 18 inches to 2 feet. what is going on behind the stone? if water gets in, how does it get out? All claddings that I am aware of recommend at least a 1 1/2 space between the roof  and the cladding, to reduce the chance of wicking water into the cladding and wall, and allow drying. is this different on columns on a porch? No, stone products should still have weep holes, wood  products should not touch the concrete, and there really should be a air gap behind the cladding to allow drying out. If not, there will be durability problems. I have talked with some masons in other parts of the country who are seeing allot of problems with Lick and Stick stone (cultured stone) not a bad product, just real easy to install incorrectly by anyone. In one high end sub that I worked in as a  finish Carpenter for a couple years the LANDSCAPE contractor was installing most of the cultured stone, paver's etc. This might no always be bad if the contractor understands masonry and the underlining principles, but he DID NOT! Do  masons understand what is going on, Yes some do, but case in point is a large infill project in a close neighboring city to Boise, Brick exterior was used and no weep holes at all installed on brick. This will have to be fixed 5-10 years down the road and will be very expensive to correct. Someone on this project created a great water storage wall, (reservoir) and the wall will not last. Basically you remove the cladding and start over, maybe even the sheathing products as well.

another thing to look for is Kicker flashings, this is the flashing at the end of a roof where it comes down a wall intersection. it should divert the water away from the wall, and hopefully into a gutter to take the water away from the foundation, at least 6 feet recommended. many homes are missing the kicker flashing, and you can tell by the water trail running down the siding, look for stains! Look at chimneys, and the stains where the roof intersects, pop outs, etc. there are many tell tale signs. make it a game with the kids, see  who can find the water intrusion problems. One siding contractor told me when I asked him about a kicker flashing being removed said "Oh it was in my way, I don't know why the mason put that there it is to hard to cut around" Who's fault was this? We all are, the mason or roofer can do it all right, but someone can still screw it up!

Suggestion? require in your building process that someone does a drainage plane inspection, before the cladding is installed and after. Is it expensive to do the right details? a little more cost, sometimes they are already there, just neglected. but who ultimately will pay for doing the job cheap? Will you as a builder have callback  costs? will your insurance go up? The  only way that neglecting the details makes sense is if we intend not to be in business by the time the structure fails, say 5 - 10 years?  insurance companies are already starting to require inspections in parts of the country were lawyers have capitalized on building durability mistakes. Oh and by the way, this is happening in climates that are dry like ours, so don't let someone tell you they don't have to do a detail correctly, because it doesn't rain enough here in Idaho! Go for a water walk this weekend and look for the water trails, it's really kind of fun!

 
Posted by Tad Duby at 3/31/2007 3:59:00 PM
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