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Architectural panel conundrum


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Fiber cement architectural panels nailed to framing, sheathing is Denshield gyp board (near as I can tell from a few peeks in the basement), my best guess (by peeking corners and seams) of the WRB is plain old Tyvek with some roofing felt in a few locations. Z channel between horizontal joints.

Nails are pulling through in a few locations, no apparent good drainage plane, looks like some of the seams are lifting a bit.

2 year old house.

Opinions welcome....

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Never seen the cement fiber panels without the "H" strips or battens. That stuff moves a lot around here depending on its exposure. It's not really uncommon to see cracks at the face nails.

Were the nails overdriven, or were the panels installed too tight and now they're popping outward?

How straight were the walls? Worst stuff I see is almost always the framers fault!

At least they didn't caulk the siding to the flashing!

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Walls were pretty PLS. The rest of the house was actually decent.

I'd say the nails were pulling through; they weren't overdriven. The panels were pushing out where the nails were pulled through.

My take is a lack of adequate drainage behind the panels. Not even grooved tyvek. No air gap whatsoever....panels tighty tight to the WRB. There is a slight lifting/swelling at the vertical seams. Water isn't getting out.

My question is....is water getting in? No way to tell without taking it all apart...which is what I'm going to say in the report.

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It looks like cut rate construction, not unlike what I've seen around here. My experience with that construction is that the exterior framing is often very uneven, especially at floor diaphragms. Bending FC panels around protruding rim joists or subflooring and such then nailing them under tension is going to later result in some nails that look like they've pulled through because the panels have sprung out around the nails, relieving the tension.

Just my two-bits.

Marc

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In your picture, it looks like there are no fasteners at all in the field of each panel, only around the perimeter. If so, the installation is in big trouble.

I hadn't weighted that as much as I should be. I think you're right.

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Bending FC panels around protruding rim joists or subflooring and such then nailing them under tension is going to later result in some nails that look like they've pulled through because the panels have sprung out around the nails, relieving the tension.

Just my two-bits.

Marc

You know, that could be. I think that might be going on in some areas.

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I scanned it. Nothing definitive other than a couple spots that one might barely construe as anomalies, and which would require excavation to verify. So far, for me anyway, IR just points at where I should dig.

I'm thinking the lack of fasteners and zero air space in the "drainage plane" are the problem. If they refasten/nail more fasteners, then they're perforating the WRB.

My view of this is it's looking like trouble.

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I would go to Hardie-board for guidance if you haven't. Those may be Z-flashings between the boards and no issue unless you see some interior moisture problems. I don't know what Hardie recommends for popped nails.

I don't know if it's Hardi material, but it doesn't look like any of the Hardi Panel materials I've seen. Cut and pasted from Hardie....most current....

"Rainscreen application for panels - Effective September 1, 2013, James Hardie will require that HardiePanel Vertical Siding is attached over a minimum 3/8" furring to create an air space behind the panel."

That confirms my largest suspicion. No air, it can't work right.

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