Inspecting Exterior Finish

Inspecting Exterior Finish.  Steel siding is less common than aluminum. The most popular styles of steel siding look like smooth or textured bevel-wood siding. Many colors and styles are available. The installation of steel siding requires special skill and tools. Steel siding is resistant to dents, but if the finish becomes scratched or chipped, repair will be needed to prevent rust from developing. Steel siding can be repainted.

Vinyl siding is the exterior cladding of choice for homeowners, remodeling contractors and builders. Compared to other siding products, vinyl is attractive, durable, easy to maintain, and cost-effective. Vinyl siding is made of extruded polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The color permeates through the material. Scratches do not need to be repainted. If the vinyl is scratched, the scratch is the same color. The color does not peel or chip off the surface. Vinyl will not fade, rust or dent easily. It comes in a wide variety of colors and styles.

Since plastic siding is a manufactured product, it may come in unlimited color choices. Historically vinyl sidings would fade, crack and buckle over time, requiring the siding to be replaced. However, newer vinyl options have improved and resist damage and wear better. Vinyl siding is sensitive to direct heat from grills, barbecues or other sources. Unlike wood, vinyl siding does not provide additional insulation for the building, unless an insulation material (e.g., foam) has been added to the product. It has also been criticized by some fire safety experts for its heat sensitivity. This sensitivity makes it easier for a house fire to jump to neighboring houses in comparison to materials such as brick or masonry.

Other skin material can be used for specific purposes. These panels are designed to be part of the structural support members of the outer walls. They are used in post-and-beam construction, and can form a complete wall system with an exterior wall covering, insulation, and an interior wall surface. The result is a building system that is extremely strong, energy-efficient and cost-effective. Building with SIPs saves time, money and labor.

Stucco or render is a material made of an aggregate, a binder, and water. Stucco is applied wet and hardens to a very dense solid. It is used as a coating for walls and ceilings and for decoration. Stucco may be used to cover less visually appealing construction materials such as concrete, cinder block, or clay brick and adobe.

The first layer of plaster is called a “scratch coat,” consisting of plastic cement and sand. A brush is used to scratch the surface horizontally or in a crisscross pattern to provide a key for the second layer. The first coat is allowed to dry (cure) before the second layer is applied.

Clay and slate siding can be damaged by a variety of things, including tree branches, stones, balls, and heavy-impact hail. Patching a clay or slate shingle with roofing tar, caulk, asphalt, pieces of metal, or non-matching clay tiles is inappropriate. Such treatments are visually incompatible. They also have the potential to cause physical damage. Water can collect behind these patches and accelerate the deterioration of the wooden structural components of the wall and the fastening system. During the expansion and contraction of a freeze-thaw cycle, ice buildup at patches can break surrounding tiles. Patching is not recommended; replacement of clay or slate siding pieces that are in poor condition is the best recommendation to make to homeowners.

The Barrie Home Inspector is trained to inspect and note any deficiencies pertaining to your homes exterior cladding system. Experience and training allow the home inspector to note details the average home owner may miss. Always use a Professional Home Inspector when purchasing a new home.

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