Exterior cladding/siding on a new home


Obviously there isn’t a joint cover or caulking and can’t really tell if there is flashing underneath. This is a new home, 11 month warranty. I did notice all the houses in the neighborhood are the same way. How would you call this?

9 10 15

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Evening, Tim. Hope this post finds you well.

Not cladding that is typically/usually/normally aluminum or metal or could be/would be/should be considered trim when other materials are used.
That is siding. ‘Fiber-cement siding’ by the looks of it. Manufacture’s installation instructions are required.

First house wrap or WRB. Weather Restive Barrier. Fenestrations, the arrangement of windows and doors on the elevations of a building, are flashed.
Then a starter strip is installed for the start of the sidings installation. Use a mirror at the bottom to insure it is installed property.
There are required gaps for expansion/contraction.
Looks good from here.
Awaiting other to chime in.

Yes, siding!!


Wherever Hardie siding meets a trim board, the company recommends you leave a 1/8” gap between the siding and the trim and apply a 3/8” bead of approved caulking to protect and seal the edge of the siding.


It appears to be cementitious siding .aka Hardie board.
Each and everyone has there requirements for sealing the butt joints. Some say yes and some say no depending on the age of the product…
It took them a while to figure it out.
That being so… Yep! I recommend that ALL butt joints be sealed…
In addition, Moisture intrusion would be prevalent at those joints, and we all know it… Huh?
Moreover, I don’t care what anyone says, If we can see the house wrap, it ain’t correct!. Caulk it with the best and it will save you many dollars in the future…
Does anyone agree with me on that one?


I absolutely agree and that is what I told the home owner. Here is what I found.

Screenshot 2020-12-03 163843

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…But assumed it is Hardie.

Based on your pictures I would think you should be able to if there is flashing at those joints.

The siding needs to be able to expand and contract. If the siding can not expand and contract it will push on doors, windows, and exterior trim, jamming doors and windows and pushing the corner boards outwards.

I agree with Scott like his picture here:

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Tim, who was the builder? I am seeing a lot of the national builders using the cement board siding up here. It’s not Hardie Board, it’s a knock off. Anyway, I have watched siding crews install that stuff w/o putting the flashing behind it. So I take the approach of “if I can’t see it, I assume it’s not there” and recommend “flexible” sealant be used. I also am sure to tell the home owner on warranty Inspections, I can make recommendations all day long but in the end it’s up to the builder and what they are willing to do.
Oh, and the painters usually caulk the ends by corners and windows but don’t caulk the seems in the field. Go figure…

The home owners say it was Harmony, it’s out in SE Aurora E of 470. But it may be Dr Horton. Yes, the windows were caulked and a crappy job.

Yeah, DR Horton has quite a few subsidiaries out here. All are glorified crap homes, I mean tract homes…:laughing:

Sometimes flashing a flash light to it you can see a galvanizing joint flashing.

If you look closely at your photographs, you see black and not white between the butt joints. Since it is black and not white it appears to have felt paper behind the joints as flashing. These joints should be left open for expansion and contraction.

Thank you all for the insight, really helps! Now the real question, what should the narrative/recommendation be?

Hello Tim -
Ahhh. The ongoing “to caulk or not-to-caulk” dilemma.
Millions of hours of research has been performed. Many innocent lives lost. Okay, actually - I spent about an hour on it a few years ago.
To make a short story long…
If we concede that most folks refer to fiber-cement board as Hardie-Plank (aka “Hardie siding”) because most FCB is made the same way as Hardie-Siding (or at least they try)… then we as inspectors should probably just listen to James Hardie, and follow his installation instructions - and we can’t go wrong.
Maybe siding contractors also read the instructions, but we inspectors are just better readers?
Anywho… with Hardie-Siding - it is recommended that all butt joints in the field (where Hardie-siding butts to Hardie-siding) should be properly sealed with permanently flexible exterior caulk. Where Hardie-siding butts up to wood components, there should be at least a 1/8" gap to allow for expansion of the wood components. This gap also sealed with permanently flexible exterior caulk.
This reason for this is to prevent water/moisture intrusion through the siding, and I can think of no sensible reason why it would be any different for any other siding product.
I could tell some interesting inspection stories featuring FCB, but my time is up.

Learn more? --> https://www.jameshardie.com/product-support/resource-center/fiber-cement-siding-maintenance

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Yep agree, took them years to figure out what worked best. Have it on my 10 year old home that we purchased 4 years ago, had to refasten much of the siding and urethane caulking at all joints.

My experience with cement board siding is that it is always riddled with defects, It is always installed to close to the roofline and wicks up moisture, and deteriorates The starter course always deteriorates from the dripline no gutters, the but joints are always swelled up, lack of maintenance, and improper installation, not a very reliable siding.

I will have to disagree with you on that one . @sbridges2
Cementitious siding properly installed, with all cut ends properly sealed, is the best siding material we have today.