Siding Inspections

As the available supply of old growth cedar and redwood started to decline rapidly in the 1980’s, the cost of natural wood siding increased significantly. In response, wood products companies started or expanded their production of wood composite sidings. Most composite sidings are made of wood chips, wafers, or smaller wood fibers mixed with wax, resins and other materials that have been manufactured to resemble real wood. Unfortunately, many of these siding products have had problems with premature deterioration, and a few brands and types have been involved in class action lawsuits. Composite sidings made from wood fibers and cement (i.e. HardiPlank and Certainteed) have proven to be more durable.

Any siding can fail if it is not correctly installed, properly painted and caulked, and adequately maintained over time. Because of the way they are constructed and the components they are made of, however, some wood composite products tend to deteriorate more quickly than solid cedar or redwood siding, particularly in wet areas like the Northwest. Deterioration of composite sidings is usually related to water penetration, which occurs when the edges or grooves are not painted adequately, when nail heads break the surface of the siding, or when the joints are not properly caulked. This water penetration typically results in cracking and swelling on the edges or grooves, surface irregularities, delamination, fungal growth (mushrooms) and internal rot/decay. Most of the deterioration is not readily visible. The surface often will look okay, but the interior may be rotted or the concealed edges may be cracked. In addition, very few new homes are painted properly, which leaves some areas of the siding vulnerable to moisture damage.

Home inspectors are not required by the Oregon Standards of Practice for Home Inspections to identify the brand of siding, or to do a detailed evaluation of the siding condition. They will typically recommend further evaluation by an experienced siding inspector if any deterioration is observed.

When is a Siding Inspection needed?

  • When a Home Inspector recommends further evaluation of the siding.
  • On any home with Louisiana Pacific (LP) siding built prior to 1998.
  • On any home with Masonite or Weyerhaeuser composite siding over 4 years old.
  • On any manufactured home over about 4 years old.
  • On any home with siding that is buckled (a wavy appearance when viewed from an angle).
  • On a home with any type of siding that has visible damage, deterioration, rot, or unusual or irregular appearance.

Cement based composites like HardiPlank and Certainteed will not need to be inspected unless there is visible damage or irregularities.

Please Note: Sellers don’t always have correct information about the type of siding installed on their home.

Emerald Inspection Services provides complete Siding Inspections. Our inspections include an evaluation of the current condition of the siding, {and} a written report with digital photos and specific recommendations for any needed replacement, repairs, or maintenance.