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Vinyl Siding VS. Gas Grill

Home Inspector with Square One Home Inspection

 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.


Vinyl Siding Damage Discovered By Home Inspector


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
Home Inspector Talks About Damaged Siding


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.


Posted by


Ian A Niquette


 Square One Home Inspection proudly serves Green Lake, Fond du Lac, Dodge, Marquette, Columbia, Winnebago, and Waushara Counties. Complete home inspections and Radon testing available.



Barb Van Stensel
Chicago, IL

Ian, this is an excellent illustration and it shows that the damage might not just be the siding but could also produce more problems as a result of the damaged siding.

Mar 09, 2010 04:36 AM
Ian Niquette
Square One Home Inspection - Markesan, WI

Thanks Barb, sorry about the look. Trying to edit something with the color, might have it now.

Mar 09, 2010 04:41 AM
Cynthia Larsen
Cotati, CA
Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA

Oh yeah, I had tenents who grilled too close to the vinyl siding.  That was quite the drill to find out who sells vinyl, match up the right color and grain, get it shipped out and then find someone to install it.  Vinyl is not common here, so I learned a lot.  Good post.

Mar 09, 2010 04:46 AM
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Ian, and to think, "Vinyl is final"----at least that is what the sales person says :)  I wonder if they ever throw in a grille with the siding?

Mar 09, 2010 05:29 AM
Brenda Carus
Century 21 Zwygart Real Estate - Monroe, WI

I've seen a few of those, minus the gas pipe coming out of the wall even.  There was one where a previous homeowner had decided to put the grill on the covered front porch.  Not only did they melt the siding but part of the ceiling of the porch too!

Mar 10, 2010 02:27 PM
Troy Pappas
Safe House Property Inspections - Virginia Beach, VA
Virginia Beach Home Inspector

As Brenda stated, I have seen this even when the grilled was operating off of a tank.

Mar 14, 2010 11:13 AM
Michael Collins
*ROCK REALTY|Broker|Realtor|Real Estate|WI Short Sale Agent* - Janesville, WI
CDPE, SFR , Wisconsin Short Sale Specialist Realto

Great information Ian.  I will pass this along to my clients.  Thanks for the blog!

Michael Collins - Broker
Rock Realty

May 11, 2010 06:26 AM
Cliff Kavanaugh
Keller Williams Realty of Charlottesville Virginia - Charlottesville, VA
ck@kw.com - 434-466-5128 - www.CvilleHomeSearch.com

Thanks Ian:  This looks like a reblog!

May 11, 2010 06:35 AM
Greg Freeman
Citiwide Real Estate Services - Allen, TX

Great post, its not one of things you notice until the grill is moved or out  of season.

Oct 13, 2010 07:19 PM