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Earthquake Strapping and Bowed Siding


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Every once in a while I'll find one or two pieces of siding bowing out on a house because the guy who'd framed the building hadn't bothered to clean the flash out from between the earthquake strapping and the foundation wall.

Sometimes it's not caused by sloppiness but by framing shrinkage. In the case below, I think it was shrinkage. I've never seen a house this bad. There were 11 instances of this around the perimeter of this one-year-old home! The homeowner doesn't remember seeing even one of these when he'd bought the house a year ago. When the framing shrinks in height the strapping has nowhere to go but outward and this is what you get.

I normally recommend the owner insist this be fixed. To fix it right they need to strip off the siding, pry the strap off the wall, chip any flash out from between the bottom of the strap and the wall, sometimes notch the sill, flatten the strap against the foundation, re-nail it to the house and then reinstall the siding.

It's not the kind of job a developer wants residents of a neighborhood to see; because when they come around asking questions they're liable to realize why they have odd bumps on the bottom of their own walls and it can start a chain reaction; so they'll often refuse to do it. This particular builder has refused to do it dozens of times; not sure how he'll react to a situation where there are eleven instances on one house.

With HardiPlank one can fall back on the manufacturer's specs and force the issue but it's not so easy when it's not HardiPlank.

I'm curious, do many of you see this? If so, what do you guys normally report and recommend when you find this?

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ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Hi David,

Yeah, I agree that the HD's are simpler but for whatever reason a lot of houses in Redmond are built with those cast-in straps. I don't know if it's the city requiring it or it's just the preference of this particular builder.

I was doing an inspection last week which happened to be next door to one I'd done a month ago. The client told me that the builder had a crew of guys out the week before to his neighbor's (my former client) house and they'd stripped off the first few courses of siding at the back entrance and were...guess what...chipping out the flash, prying the straps off, flattening them with s sledge and then reinstalling the siding adjacent to the back entrance.

I'd written that same issue up for one strap adjacent to the back entry the month before. In that case, the siding had literally cracked.

You'd think that a smart builder would have told his foundation subs long ago, "If you don't clean those things up after you strip the forms I'm gonna lose your phone number." Instead, they're fielding people to fix stuff that they could have avoided with a little foresight.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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