Fiber cement siding

I inspected a home with what appeared to be James Hardie fiber cement siding. There were many cracks observed in the siding. I think this was caused from settling. There were no indications of cracks in the poured concrete foundation walls, drywall or stone veneer. No collateral damage. Only cracks in the fiber cement siding. The home was built in 2005. Any recommendations?

Yes, it was fastened improperly according to recommendations, as evidenced by the exposed nails in the pictures. The cracks in the gaps appear to be even, opposed to being wider at the bottom most likely if the cracks were caused by settling. This is just my opinion.

Exactly, improperly installed. Only need nails at top edge (should not be visible), except in high wind areas. This allows for movement, which can help to avoid cracking.

I see they have face nailed it which is normally only done in high wind zones. If they did blind nailing and also face nailing, it was installed improperly and is most likely the cause of the cracking. The 2001 installation guide would have been in effect for a 2005 home.

In your zone (HZ5), when face nailing to OSB (most likely nowadays), fasteners must be no more than 12" OC. Those are more than a foot apart. Was there OSB visible on the interior garage wall? At that time, gaps between boards could have been in moderate contact or up to 1/8" gap AND CAULKED. None of those are caulked. Typical builder didn’t read or follow the manufacturer’s instructions and the warranty is most likely void due to the improper installation.

Installation guide can be found at: 2001 Hardiplank Lap Siding Installation Instructions

I would agree improper installation.
Most of the photo’s of cracks are in line with the placement of nails.

There was O.S.B visible on the garage interior wall. I will recommend that it be further evaluated by a qualified James Hardie siding contractor. Thanks for the feedback.

Yup to all the above, I’ve installed this product successfully and never had a problem like that! Whomever did this is going to be getting a real wake up call!