On a recent home inspection I viewed a defect to the vinyl siding that seems to be popping up more and more lately. This is a defect that seems to be a no brainer to me, you just have to let common sense rule sometimes. That does not seem to be the case though, as you will see in the pictures provided. Once you view these, you just might say, "Oh, yeah, that is not a good idea. Mine is set up the same way, I need to fix that before my siding gets damaged."
So, what is this particular defect I found during this home inspection? It is an extremely silly defect, that could lead to thousands of dollars in repairs down the road. Take a look at the image below and see if you can figure out what happened here. It is quite obvious, in most peoples' minds.
So, with all the evidence left behind at the scene of the crime, we should be able to make a fairly sound judgement here.
Exhibit A: We have a grate from a grill laying against the building. Now why would one of these be laying around, unless, well, unless there used to be a grill in this location? We are getting close to solving the mystery here.
Exhibit B: Notice the gas piping coming out of the wall. The only reason to have one of these coming out of the wall, in my opinion, would be to service a gas grill. We are almost there.
Exhibit C: Obviously the melted siding is evidence of some type of damage, and by the other evidence, we can make the connection, that this damage was more than likely caused by a gas grill in the area. In my opinion, mystery solved. Now we just need to see how extensive the damage really is.
Vinyl Siding Can Be Damaged When A Grill Is Too Close
Now, having an area to do your grilling is really nice, and one of the things that homeowners enjoy doing. However, this should be done in area that will not cause damage to the home, or pose a safety threat to the occupants. Keep your grill an adequate distance from the home, to prevent heat transfer, and avoid damage like we have in the photo above.
There are also indirect damage factors to take into account with this situation. The siding has obviously been damaged. Is it now functioning as it was originally intended? In all honesty, probably not. This area is now prone to water damage, insect infestation, and other possible damage. Just imagine a hard driving rain slamming up against that wall. Do you think the damaged area will totally prevent water from intrusion? Yes, most vinyl siding is designed to let some water in and exit through the weep holes, but this may actually hold water in once it has entered. Now if the water remains in there, we could see other damage surface months down the road.
Lets take a look at what some side effects of this situation could possibly be. Say we do get water intrusion into this wall of the home. Now, since the wall is not functioning properly, water ends up pooling in this area of the wall. This will most likely lead to insulation damage, at a minimum. Once the insulation is completely saturated, we could see damage to studs and framing members in this section of the wall. Visible drywall damage may also be noticed if the situation is not remedied soon enough.
Another factor to consider is the moisture in this area can quickly turn to mold. This mold will remain in the wall cavity and grow on the framing members, the insulation, and the drywall in this area. If left uncontrolled, this mold can spread, working its way throughout this area and can cause very severe damage to the structural integrity of this home.
My best advice to home owners, when you fire up the grill, make sure it is a safe distance from the home to avoid a hazardous situation. If you want to store your grill right next to your home, let it cool down before storing it. Your grill remains quite hot, for quite a while after you are done using it. Even without a flame present, the coals are still emitting heat and can cause damage to your home.