Siding systems are continually evolving, changing and sometimes improving as new materials are developed and new understandings in building envelopes are improved.
We are always looking for the sidings that need less maintenance, are inexpensive and, are easy to install with very little instruction. Those three attributes fuel the evolution of sidings and over the years some have been great and some have not been so good. In the last 20 years there has been a siding that has worked well in other parts of the country but has failed so consistently in the northwest it has actually been banned in Oregon! This wonderful siding is very adept at allowing water into the wall cavity while appearing visually good.
Synthetic stucco, Exterior Insulating Finishing Systems (EIFS), or even by the brand name “Dry-vit.”
Like most siding systems the problems arise with poor installation. Lack of proper installation training appears to be at the heart of the problems with EIFS. If EIFS is installed precisely and maintained aggressively, it can shed water properly.
Perfect installation is very rare. So rare, that I have only seen one home that had a proper EIFS installation and the home had just undergone a $100,000+ insurance claim siding remodel that involved forensic siding specialists!
If you are going to buy a home that is covered in EIFS you should plan on having an inspection that will include invasive probing. The foam boards that make up the substrate can be a very clever thermal barrier…
EIFS is still allowed on commercial buildings and on a recent inspection in Salem, my clients did not negotiate for invasive probing and thankfully the pictures that the thermal camera captured made the total replacement of the siding a compelling option:
This is a short video I took while on a home inspection of the water in the North Santiam river.
My handy little thermal camera can show all sorts of nifty temperature differences. Including electrical hotspots, structure, insulation, leakage, critters and apparently the water temperature in the river.
Looks a bit cold for swimming but I am sure the salmon and steelhead that are headed upriver find those temperatures just right!
Jim Allhiser President/Inspector
“Always on the cutting edge”
Can you tell me how to find, how to find a roof leak ……..
While most people complain about our recent downpours they have been providing me with much-needed rain to make leaks light up. One of the biggest benefits having a thermal image camera is the ability to see things you can’t see with your visual senses. A recent inspection on a home on Sesame Street and no I don’t need you to tell me how to get there, I found a leak that wasn’t showing through the finished surfaces yet….
Although advanced in age the surface of the roof did appear to be satisfactory. On initial scans from the kitchen and family room there did appear to be an interesting cool spot in the family room and upon further investigation this cool spot did in fact turn out to be a current wet spot. This was roof leak.
Although no Big bird or other Muppets could be noted during my investigation, I did provide some much-needed information for my clients. Thermal Imaging again proved its value and ensured my client’s home would be a safe and dry place to live
I just did a home inspection on a fine home here in Salem, Oregon. Overall the home was a piece of cake, and very well taken care of. There was one little section of insulation in the attic that had fallen (from the cable guy presumably). It was impossible to see visually but thanks to the magic of my fancy little thermal/infrared camera my clients now know of an area that could use some additional insulation.
Very simple fix, in fact the fallen insulation is most likely sitting up there in the attic just waiting to be reinstalled and protect the home from the hot or cold of the attic.
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Being an inspector equipped with a highly advance thermal camera I have been called upon to find quite a few leaks.
Leaks can be very frustrating and challenging. Our modern, climate controlled, super insulated and immaculately finished homes do not respond well to storm water on interior surfaces. Window sills swell, drywall turns brown, and wood floors crack. How rude it is when Mother Nature invites herself into the world we control.
A very interesting pattern has developed after a few dozen, “….help me find where this leak is coming from,” calls. A majority of the calls that were related to storm water had three significant things I common: the leakage could be noted in a window opening, the window was on the south side of the home and the siding was a lap type.
With properly installed flashing homes should not leak. However it is nearly impossible to ensure contractors install something properly especially if it is above and beyond those minimum building standards some call ‘codes’. Caulking is always a good first line of defense but if the openings are flashed properly, caulking should not even be needed to keep the home water tight.
Before all of our modern, space aged materials it was common knowledge to crack open a leeward window in windy and wet conditions. With a modern understanding of hydro-dynamics we now understand that when wind hits a home a low pressure vortex is actually created inside the home. This means that in windy, wet conditions water is not necessarily blown-in but pulled-in. When the window on the leeward side of the home is cracked open, the pressures are able to equalize. Many intermittent leaks can be slowed, stopped or completely prevented.
If you do have a leak around a window or door, your flashing is not adequate and should be repaired. This can potentially mean thousands of dollars. In the mean time, if the wind is blowing rain at your home, try cracking a window on the other side of the home.