Do you unzip vinyl siding?
I began doing this a few years ago regularly and now cant imagine doing without. I have found so many homes with rotten OSB sheathing it is scary to think what others may be missing. I know many don’t do this and I understand risks but I explain to the clients (if they see me do this) that it is still very limited but the reason I do it is because I often find rotten sheathing without an underlayment. It seem like the late 70’s to late 90’s rarely had an underlayment. The j channel and limited taping or caulking around the windows and doors allow in more water than I imagined. Now when I find no felt or wrap under vinyl I disclose this and check under a few windows. I have cracked a few pieces of siding but it is rare and I’m getting better at it. Most often under windows and were roof and wall intersections meet and lack kick-outs do I find this.
I know it exceeds the SOP and can in some cases increase liability but do the ends justify the means??? I don’t automatically do this on every home but I do open butt joints on all to see if an underlayment exists. Then if none exists I usually decide to unzip under a few windows.
A recent inspection proved this for me. I found no underlayment and checked two windows and one area under a wall to roof intersection and the sheathing was damaged so I called it out for “further evaluation” but speculated verbally that it most likely existed in several areas. Well just got a call from the buyer asking for me to inspect another home. She stated the realtors involved bashed me to no end about this and then said they would hire another inspector and contractor. The inspector gave the entire home a flawless report. I noted 50 or more maintenance and areas of concern or plain defective items including the sheathing rot. The inspector was not told about all of these issues and walked through the 12 year old $450K 5300sf home and found no issues. Then the contractor was told to check for the rot under the windows and after removing a lot of siding estimated roughly 40% of the sheathing and insulation had to be replaced and the whole house re-sided. I didn’t get a price but $$$$
Just wanted to see what others are doing and maybe send a cautionary note to all to at least look for underlayment. A zip tool is $5 but has saved myself and my clients big$$$.