Loose/Damaged Metal Trim Wrap

Inspected this 2013 home a few months back and I noted in the report that there was a small damaged area of metal wrap above the garage door that was coming loose. Recommended that it be repaired/replaced. I got a call a couple of days ago and the buyer told me that he had removed the metal wrap and there was significant structural damage that I should have caught and he wants me to pay for the repairs. I have a hard time believing that defect could cause so much water damage. Any advise on how to handle this situation would be greatly appreciated. I have included my pictures from the inspection and his pictures after he removed the trim wrap.

No photos in your post yet…

There is always a good chance of rot behind metal-wrapped trim. I usually give it a gentle push with my fingers or a little squeeze looking for rot. Most of the time they are covering up damaged wood trim with metal trim.

You shouldn’t. Never ass-u-me.
Missing, damaged or worn sealants, caulking or flashings are the number one cause of water infiltration that can cause significant damage and microbial proliferation. More and more Insurers are losing their appetite insuring condos building in Canada due to water infiltration.

That being said.

IV. The inspector is not required to:
2. inspect items that are not visible or readily accessible from the ground, including window and door flashing.

Explain to your client you regret this incident but if they read the SOP they would understand you are not responsible and recommended replacement or repairs by a competent licensed contractor.
They can however pursue another legal avenue aimed at the vender. To me, and remember I am not giving you legal advice nor am I an attorney but that may fall under “latent defect.” In the law of the sale of property both real estate and personal property is a fault in the property that could not have been discovered by a reasonably thorough inspection before the sale.

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Thanks Robert.

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You failed to bring your x-ray specs with you.
Advise him not visible/accessible & have a good day.
Next time consider adding
possible hidden damage may exist



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Thanks everyone. Appreciate the advice.

Did the buyer go through with your recommendation before closing? Or did he wait for a few months later to look at it himself?

The aftermath of the new, wonderful, synthetic house wrap, vinyl siding, metal wrapping, and lack of flashing (drip cap) over projections such as garage door. Look at how they did it and learn from it… imagine where any water that got behind the vinyl would end up going. There was no escape path for the water. They trapped it behind the metal wrap and the wood, obviously, rotted. 7 year old beauty :slight_smile: Modern craftsmanship.

Highly recommend when recommended.

My thoughts.
1: The builder did not trim or properly flash the rough opening.
2: The siding contractor counter flashes.
The receiver, header lumber and connections, are flashed first. Every process to seal the envelope, siding in this case, counter flashes the receiver flashing.

All inspectors need these.


It’s obvious the flashing was missing. The roof has a missing drip edge, too. It’s what can happen when proper flashing is missing. Many, including some home inspectors, don’t know that vinyl siding is not waterproof. Look at the pics closely, you see that white j-channel joint? where is all the rain water that gets into the jchannel going to go after it makes its way through and under the jchannel. A lot of it is going to go behind the metal capping and get trapped. This is in addition to water getting between the jchannel and the capping. The lack of flashing should have been called out.

He waited 2 months.

Yep, I see it often Simon.

My Inspection Agreement states that my inspection is a General Visual Inspection and that it is Non-Invasive. Also that I am only responsible for defects that are present and visually accessible. I don’t take things apart when I inspect. On this inspection I would consider myself responsible ONLY if I had not identified the defective flashing. If you tell the client that the flashing is defective, bent, loose or reverse lapped, then you’ve done your job.

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You told him to get it fixed and it might lead to moisture intrusion. You can’t fix something without further investigating the reason it needs to be fixed. So why would you have to pay for something you told him to fix? Having said this these pics are a great learning experience. I’ve actually seen something like this several times…Wood needs to breath and even small amounts of water trapped behind metal can rot the wood out fast. Metal should be bent so water (and condensation) can drain out behind it. Looks like they should have had drip edge below the J channel…instead the metal was bent to cover the wood only. Something to watch out for…

I had a very similar issue… 20 year old Townhouse with a two story bump out for windows. Originally it was just painted wood (judging by the other townhouse)… the owner had the wood wrapped in aluminum. During my inspection I called out several areas were the sealant was failing and recommended a contractor evaluate and repair as necessary. Two months later the guy wants 10k cause the wood behind the aluminum was rotted… pictures and the fact that I called it out in my report saved me… My client opted to NOT have it evaluated and repaired so it was on him not me. I ended up giving him his inspection fee back as a gesture of good faith and to avoid any hassle/claims…

People don’t get that you can’t see through walls/aluminum/siding/etc…