Vinyl Siding 101

Home Inspector with Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area InterNACHI 10041206

Vinyl siding can significantly change the appearance of a home. It can provide cover and protection to the underlying wall material if it is installed correctly. If it is not, it can become your worst nightmare! It is not meant to be a water tight covering, it is like a supplemental rain screen, the underlayment is meant to breathe. It merely enhances the coverage to restrict the amount of moisture that reaches the moisture barrier underneath.

The house should be wrapped with a protective house wrap or building paper before installation. Vinyl siding is made with PVC and the color permeates through the material, meaning there is no need to paint it, or touch it up should it get scratched or hit by an object. It is easy to clean, usually just a mild soap and water cleans it right up! It is not installed tightly to the house, but it hangs on its fasteners and allowed to move, expand and contract because it does so constantly. Each course overlaps and should terminate in a "J" molding around windows and doors, and corners. 

The other day I inspected a house with vinyl siding on the second story. There were installation problems everywhere!

Some sections had failing fasteners and the siding was sagging or falling off the house in places. There were joints in the middle of the runs that didn't overlap the ends, they just butted them up. 

Not good!

On some of the ends, the pieces were not long enough to go inside the "J" molding. On the underside, the soffit material was sagging in places because there were very long runs hanging upside down with no support in the middle.

I would not be going out too far on a limb if I said this was installed by a less than professional individual. If you hire someone to install vinyl siding on your home, be sure to check out the contractor, ask for examples of some of their work, ask for references, and talk about the installation process. Remember, it is not meant to cover up rotted or missing wood!

LOL, yeah right.... it always covers up ugliness!



Posted by

Fred Hernden 


 Superior Home Inspections





 Albuquerque, Rio Rancho New Mexico and surrounding areas...


“My mission is to provide superior quality home inspections to my clients to ensure peace of mind so they can confidently make the largest investment they may ever make!"


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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Fred, I was just showing a home Sunday and noted a butt end gap in the siding.  And the neighbor had one too.  Guessing the builder didn't do a great job with the overlapping part 20+ years ago when these homes were built.

Nov 10, 2015 10:27 AM #1
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

1.  I had a house the other day with vinyl installed poorly over cement asbestos siding.  Common here.

2.  I'd be disappointed if the attachment in the second photo wasn't a drywall screw, which I have learned to understand from experience that everyone thinks is okay, so obviously it must be.

Or is the attachment thing covered in Siding 102?

Nov 10, 2015 07:10 PM #2
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

L&B - I guess not, the Home Inspector will surely note that! I'm thinking there may be an underlying problem behind it!

Jay - 1. Better to cover asbestos than to disturb it! 2. Of course it was, they're used for everything, from installing pull down stairs to installing light fixtures. They might even use them on drywall too! The next installment might be 202 :-)

Nov 10, 2015 10:45 PM #3
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much for sharing your experience and this advice.

Nov 11, 2015 11:08 PM #4
TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029

Good Saturday Fred. What can I say? No Bueno!

Nov 13, 2015 11:02 PM #5
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Fred Hernden, CMI

Albuquerque area Master Inspector
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