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About 8 months ago I got a call from a person planning to buy a house built in 1985. She told me that the home inspector identified the siding as LP siding, and from her research thought it would need to be replaced. I told her I would come and price that, but she never called back and never bought the house.

Today I got a call from someone else planning to buy the same house. She asked me to come look at foundation issues identified by a different inspector. She emailed me a copy of that inspector's report and he does not mention LP siding.

My question is, how easy is it to identify this stuff from 1985, and what are the known issues? I consider these two inspectors roughly equal and both reasonably good. When I go there tomorrow, to look at supposed foundation issues, I should probably do something to assess the siding. Last thing I need is a customer buying this house and I never said anything about the siding, and it's rotting the walls.

For anyone who doesn't know, I'm not a HI, just a contractor who hasn't gotten kicked out of here yet.

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About 8 months ago I got a call from a person planning to buy a house built in 1985. She told me that the home inspector identified the siding as LP siding, and from her research thought it would need to be replaced. I told her I would come and price that, but she never called back and never bought the house.

Today I got a call from someone else planning to buy the same house. She asked me to come look at foundation issues identified by a different inspector. She emailed me a copy of that inspector's report and he does not mention LP siding.

My question is, how easy is it to identify this stuff from 1985, and what are the known issues? I consider these two inspectors roughly equal and both reasonably good. When I go there tomorrow, to look at supposed foundation issues, I should probably do something to assess the siding. Last thing I need is a customer buying this house and I never said anything about the siding, and it's rotting the walls.

For anyone who doesn't know, I'm not a HI, just a contractor who hasn't gotten kicked out of here yet.

Sure, if you see the siding is an issue I would say something about it. It would be the appropriate thing for you to do, IMVHO.

Why do you think you might get kicked out of TIJ?

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To answer your first question, it's very easy to identify. Google it and you'll see distinctive patterns embossed in the siding. The siding itself starts out 7/16" thick and can swell to twice that size on the bottom edges, and fungus often is growing out of the cracks. It absorbs water, delaminates, and then the damage/deterioration accelerates.

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From another source it appears that siding from the 80s/early 90s would be called "Inner Seal" and basically turns into a vertical mushroom farm, possibly taking the sheathing and framing with it. It is very rare for a house of that vintage to have anything but cedar siding, or possibly T1-11, around here. I've literally never touched a piece of it on any job anywhere.

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From another source it appears that siding from the 80s/early 90s would be called "Inner Seal" and basically turns into a vertical mushroom farm, possibly taking the sheathing and framing with it. It is very rare for a house of that vintage to have anything but cedar siding, or possibly T1-11, around here. I've literally never touched a piece of it on any job anywhere.

Inner Seal siding from the '80s looks exactly the same as today's LP Smartlap. The presses that produce the finished surface are the same.

I'm amazed that you don't see more of it from the '80s up there. It was absurdly common down here from the late '80s through the early 2000s. I could spot it from a running horse.

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Can not see a reason that you wouldn't let the new buyer know of your previous contact regarding the property. Also, even though you are being asked about the foundation why would you not look at the siding and give an opinion.

Then there is the question about Washington real estate disclosure requirements. If the seller is made aware of a problem via an inspection report are they obligated to disclose it.

Could be that the buyer is already planning to replace the siding but is not sure about the foundation.

And like Scott I would also be curious why you would be kicked off site.

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Thanks all for the insights. My comments about getting kicked out are in jest... just wanting to clarify what my role is. I am often called to follow up on HIs. When you guys write "have a contractor look at this" I frequently get that call. I am asked for pricing on repair/replacement, and frankly, I often encounter stuff that was not in their report, so I have to decide where to go with that. I am there to look out for the financial exposure of the prospective buyer.

The siding I saw did not have exposed fasteners, or at least any that I could see. It appeared to be blind nailed, and it definitely appeared to be recently painted. Given the imprint on this stuff, it seems like it would be hard to disguise swelling/crumbling etc. This place has been through a few failed deals recently and no amount of sleight-of-hand by the seller would surprise me.

In any case, the siding "looks" good in most places, certainly not swollen or growing 'shrooms. I was able to determine that an addition was built post 1985 and at that time the siding *may* have been replaced. Possibly the first potential buyer I talked to was freaking out over nothing.

The photo shows what appears to be the "LP knot" along with some faulty grade. Per Jim Katen's comment, I assume it's hard to date the material without removing some to see a stamp on the back (if that's even possible).

Click to Enlarge
tn_2014823123912_08_22_14%20006.jpg

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That LP looks like it should be rotted/ damaged along the faulty grade area, and likely from the slab level down where sandwiched. Paint and caulk doesn't hide the damage on that stuff. Just start pushing on it with your finger. Also, squeeze the bottom edges with the siding pinched between your thumb and index finger. Any softness will be felt quite easily.

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Putting the stuff in contact with cement, or really, just about anything...is the death knell, or so says the mfg. There's no clearances in those pics...not that I can see anyway.

And the other thing....to quote the Simpson's.......civil war reenactor..."Hey, they're tryin' to learn' for free!!".....crowd...."Get them!"

We're an equal opportunity disparagement and dismissal society....everyone is welcome to join and have their opinions insulted. Or not. Depends on whether the opinions carry water.

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The LP in those picture is in excellent condition. Most installations from 1985 would have turned to mulch long ago.

I've observed that some batches of the stuff were pretty good. A few (very few) installations seem to perform just fine, even without good maintenance and even when badly installed, as the stuff in your pictures. Most of it, however, went to hell within a few years - even if impeccably installed and maintained. I think that they had a serious quality control issue, which they seem to have mostly resolved by about 1998. Of course, by then it was too late. No one would trust the stuff.

If the stuff in the pictures isn't soft in those locations, then I wouldn't fault the second inspector for not mentioning it. If the stuff has lasted this long under those conditions, what's the problem?

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Sometimes I report a condition if it's conducive to something else that could be a problem.

I don't need a fire before my eyes to report CSST.

Marc

Different circumstance. With CSST the "problem" only becomes manifest during certain rare conditions. (Exceedingly rare, from what I can see.) It's a product that's vulnerable to a certain narrow set of conditions. When you inspect a house with CSST, it might have never been exposed to those conditions, so it's reasonable to warn someone about them. The same might be true for FPE panels, and polybutylene plumbing piping.

With LP siding, however, the problem is that when it gets wet it deteriorates. Well, here we have an installation where the product has been wet - seriously wet - for nearly 20 years. It's been exposed to the "set of conditions" continuously and, yet, exhibited no problems.

At some point, you have to abandon a knee-jerk reaction and evaluate the material on its own merits.

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This stuff hardly looks 30 years old to me. I'm gonna go with (1) the first prospective buyer I talked to got me on the wrong foot by describing a big problem, and (2) when they did the addition (or sometime after) they resided the house.

I will inform the current buyer that this product has had a history of problems, but not all of it has problems; I cannot tell its age but my guess it that it is not original; it looks great right now because it was just painted; one of us could research the permit history and possibly learn more; and, she should budget X$ to fix that area with the slab contact.

To find out more, I'd have to take some off the wall.

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What are the consequences of not mentioning materials otherwise known to be problematic....if they're not?

Near as I can tell, the consequence is that someone else will come along later and say that the sky is falling.

That's my take. 2nd guy in syndrome.

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I don't remember if LP Inner Seal is one that does this or not but there are sometimes markings on the back indicating date of manufacture, mill, etc.

As far as I know, there were never any date markings on the Inner Seal Product. However, the words Inner Seal and LP were there.

The first generation stuff had no backing - just raw OSB - and the bottom edge (the drip edge) was square. If the stuff that David encountered was actually from 1985, it would be first generation.

Later, they added a bevel to the bottom edge and, at some time after that, they added a coating on the back. Neither of those things was very effective.

Around 1998, they eliminated the backing, kept the bevel, and added a bunch of secret ingredients (lots more borates and resins, I suspect). They also began to stamp date information along the drip edge. With the newer stuff, you might be able to remove a piece and find date info along the top edge, which, of course, shouldn't have any paint on it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

About 8 months ago I got a call from a person planning to buy a house built in 1985. She told me that the home inspector identified the siding as LP siding, and from her research thought it would need to be replaced. I told her I would come and price that, but she never called back and never bought the house.

Today I got a call from someone else planning to buy the same house. She asked me to come look at foundation issues identified by a different inspector. She emailed me a copy of that inspector's report and he does not mention LP siding.

My question is, how easy is it to identify this stuff from 1985, and what are the known issues? I consider these two inspectors roughly equal and both reasonably good. When I go there tomorrow, to look at supposed foundation issues, I should probably do something to assess the siding. Last thing I need is a customer buying this house and I never said anything about the siding, and it's rotting the walls.

For anyone who doesn't know, I'm not a HI, just a contractor who hasn't gotten kicked out of here yet.

There are knots on the sheets that if you look closely you will see an L and a P.

It is very common where I work. I've stuff that looks new and other stuff that is rotted growing mushrooms.

If it is contact with ground, vegetation, an over flowing gutter or any other moisture it rots pretty fast.

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