Do you peek under the siding?

I was chewed out by a builder for calling out vinyl siding which was installed directly over OSB. Vinyl siding obviously isn’t completely watertight and builders seem to have a habit of not installing housewrap over OSB, especially at the garage walls. Does anyone else raise the end of a siding lap to see what it is covering?

Even though house wrap is required on most siding materials, I don’t raise the siding to inspect for underlayment. Except at times, when my client’s curious as to what material is installed on the underside of the outer siding.

I do a visual inspection of readily accessible areas only.

The siding was gapped slightly due to improper installation so it was readily visible. I am just wondering if maybe I should start looking. What if the garage sheathing on an unfinished wall starts showing water staining in a few months. Does the fact that the siding (if vinyl) is easy to look under make me the loser if my client decides to come back on me for the rotting OSB. I know anyone can sue for anything and the OSB is not visible, but I just thought I would get some opinions.

If I see obvious signs of issues relating to the flashing, siding or it’s underside, I’ll investigate further as to the source, and if it requires lifting any accessible siding (without damaging it) in areas… I’ll do it.

But to check under every siding you run into, is ridiculous and not required by any SOP. Your agreement should always cover you on any concealed areas.

Whenever the builder “chews out” an inspector for anything, it should send up the red flag. If he stands behind his craftsmanship he shouldn’t care WHAT you are looking at…

I think you have the right approach, if you see something and it leads you to investigate further which in this case is looking under the siding, then I think you are providing a good service to your client, would I look under all siding from here on out, no.

This is a big issue though, with today’s practice of hiring subs to do all the work, for less money, they don’t want to do some aspects of the job.

IE. The framer gets $1.50 per square foot less than what he’s use to, so therefore he does not want to put up the building paper as a means to make up for it, He says, it’s the siders responsibility.

The sider comes along and they make less money per square foot and he does a half %ss job of it or does not do all of it.

Then, water gets behind the siding and the sheathing rots. Happens all the time.

i glanced under a piece of siding sticking out to find everything wet & rotton…even though the disclaimer said the home did not have moisture.
YEA, right. i’m glad I looked.

You’re right Peter, it does happen all the time. That is why I asked the question. Even though the SOP says you don’t have to, I know that it is not uncommon for builders or siders to do that. Maybe I should lighten up and not worry about it but every time I see a vinyl sided house, I want to see what is underneath.

Whatever you do, do not lighten up, that’s why your a good home inspector.

You use your mind, experience and your sense’s to do a good inspection.

A tool is required for removal. This now becomes an “intrusive inspection”.
Are you covered for this?
If your report shouts “generalized non-intrusive, visual inspection” and your opening things up, be sure your wording is changed.

I only look in there when there are water intrusion issues or when the client wants to know.

I recommend you describe your method of inspection in the report.

Generally the vinyl is lapped no more than 1 to 2". This means it’s easy enough to lift the end of a panel and look at what it is covering. No tool is needed since the siding isn’t unhooked from the panel below. If I can move a blind to look at a window, can I lift the edge on a piece of siding? Just a thought…

I know where your comming from, but we have to deal with others (builders, lawyers and the client). I don’t see a referance to “peeking” in the SOP. :slight_smile:

Yes I do. For several reasons. As a builder I constantly would catch my siding crew taking the felt paper home and not applying it to the house even though they had been paid to do it. On hardie siding this voids the warranty. Also according to the new energy codes this is now a requirement for any fairly new construction. Another note that is very important: If the house wasn’t wrapped them most likely the windows aren’t caulked or flashed. Even if you don’t report on any of this it gives you insight as to how well the house was watched when it was built. Keep up the good work!

a mirror at the starter strip works well
never know what you may or may not find

Sometimes a piece is just loose (like today)…:roll:

11 Jul 08 116.jpg

Funny you should ask. Last week I did this house for a young fella and his dad came along. Both are in the construction business. Buyer forgot his checkbook and ran back to his apartment to get it and while they were gone I ran across this. The WDO/WDI inspection was done the day before. Noticed a bulge in the bottom course of vinyl (did I mention I hate vinyl siding) and pile of red dirt directly underneath it. I tapped on the siding and more dirt began to sift out of all the horizontal seams. When they both walked up I told them about it. The Dad reaches down and peels the vinyl back to reveal this. BTW, I carry a zip tool to replace vinyl if it ever comes loose because we do a lot of mobile homes and you need a zip tool ($7 at HD).

dirt from behind siding.JPG

damage behind siding.JPG

bulge in vinyl siding.JPG

rotted sheathing.JPG

Hmmm, no wrap, no window flashing. Now why does that bring back memories???

BUT, this was not a home inspection.

This was on an invasive inspection to find out why water was leaking into the top of the master bedroom window on the first floor.

The lifted siding is under the window above the porch.

The water was showing up inside the house at the top of the master bedroom window on the first floor below this.

I do peek behind the siding to determine the presence of wrap if I can do so easily.

Just like I peek under the sinks, behind the toilets, behind the window blinds, etc. Whole lotta peeking going on.



Anything less is just lookin around… :roll: :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ll poke around in my area here @ starter as Barry mentioned too.

I can’t help it when I’ve seen the new houses around the corner from where I’m going and I can’t seem to see the logic in some felt here and there on one, really nice with lower window flashings lapped over etc… and the next one I don’t see any at all on living space OR gar. wall.

I can’t/won’t damage anything to get a peek but I am guilty of trying a bit.