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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2 years ago, I did a reside for a very rich, pompous and rather unsociable client here in NY. You know the type, old money, snooty people who look down their nose at you as if you're a lowly nobody. It's on a 300 acre horse farm. You get the picture..We sided his horse barn and a modest cottage that was built about 20 years ago. It's a red job and looks really nice.

The cottage had wood, novelty siding on it (like a modern dutchlap). The existing window trim and corner boards were installed "over top" of the siding, assumably because it was easier than cutting the siding precisely to fit?? Due to the fact that the existing siding was laying flat and to keep the cost down for the customer we went over top, removing only the corner boards so the vinyl corners would be flush with our wall. The window trim presented a nice, solid edge to butt our "J" channel up to. We trimmed the windows (they used a 1X6 around the perimeter) and caulked everything with a white silicone. Under the original siding is an OSB substrate covered with tyvek. (we know this now, not then).

Fast forward to two+ months ago. We get a call from our client claiming that our install allowed rain to get in and rot the wall under his front window. HUH??? After numerous failed attempts to schedule a face to face with him my project manager takes it upon himself to visit the job, remove 4 courses of siding under the window in question. As expected the wall was intact with no visible rot. A few weeks later our client calls again and puts me in touch with his carpenter whom is installing new windows (oh boy....) Our client expresses to me that his carpenter feels our installation has caused this rot. So we speak on the phoneand after looking at emailed pictures it was clear to me his wall was in fact rotted badly. The sill plate was shot, the perimeter around the window (under the old 1x6 trim) was also rotted and the wall directly beneath the window is in really bad shape. The OSB is disintegrating. The conversation ensues and the carpenter and I "seem" to agree that this was not caused by my install. That in fact this kind of rot take years to happen and was most likley do to the old trim never being flashed properly. All we did was cover the trim that was in place, which showed no visible rot.

Fast forward again to this week. I get another call from our client. He asks me to come out and meet his carpenter. We agree on yesterday and I head out there. I get there and the conversation immediately switches from the windows to the vinyl corner pieces being installed improperly. Technically he's right because upper corner was installed and seamed away from view. IOW slipped into not over top of the bottom corner. Ok fine..even though it was a snug fit with no opening on the face and a small opening in the pocket I'll agree, it should have been over top. (I only know this from pictures as he has already R&R'd corner and repaired rot which as you'll see, he decides to blame me for) Now he states that because of this minor infraction, the OSB substrate, which was covered by the novelty siding, tyvek, my insulating/leveling board and the new, vinyl siding was rotted 8" on either side of the corner. He had to remove the entire wall, repair the rot, replace insulation and install new plywood and reinstall the vinyl. As I'm looking at the wall, I notice that there are at least 6 courses of siding reinstalled and left short of the corner pocket. One piece is actually protruding and buckling because it's hitting the edge of the corner. The new trim around his windows is horrendous and will most certainly leak again.. These so called vinyl experts are skilled/experienced enough to deduce this damage was caused by my installation, but not skilled/experienced enough to install siding correctly. LOL It gets better...:thumbup:

Ok, So I ask... Why did you wait until this was all done to call me? No answer.. I ask again Why?? The carpenter pipes up.. "I'm not going to leave a wall open".. I'm thinking...What???? I'm 20 minutes away. I have a staff of 20 people. Are you joking? We would drop everything in a heart beat and be there immediately. Then the proverbial threat from the client. " well it's like this. Either offer some compensation or I'll take you to court"... Give me a break!! I'm being labeled as a fall guy for the original builder. This rot was there long before I got there. Never miond that my contract specifically excludes any damage to any substrate regardless of cause. Of course this could be challenged but I feel I'm pretty well covered.

So I need your opinions. Is this sort of rot in two short years possible given these circumstances.

Thanks for reading and any comments are appreciated
 

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2 years ago, I did a reside for a very rich, pompous and rather unsociable client here in NY. You know the type, old money, snooty people who look down their nose at you as if you're a lowly nobody. It's on a 300 acre horse farm. You get the picture..We sided his horse barn and a modest cottage that was built about 20 years ago. It's a red job and looks really nice.

The cottage had wood, novelty siding on it (like a modern dutchlap). The existing window trim and corner boards were installed "over top" of the siding, assumably because it was easier than cutting the siding precisely to fit?? Due to the fact that the existing siding was laying flat and to keep the cost down for the customer we went over top, removing only the corner boards so the vinyl corners would be flush with our wall. The window trim presented a nice, solid edge to butt our "J" channel up to. We trimmed the windows (they used a 1X6 around the perimeter) and caulked everything with a white silicone. Under the original siding is an OSB substrate covered with tyvek. (we know this now, not then).

Fast forward to two+ months ago. We get a call from our client claiming that our install allowed rain to get in and rot the wall under his front window. HUH??? After numerous failed attempts to schedule a face to face with him my project manager takes it upon himself to visit the job, remove 4 courses of siding under the window in question. As expected the wall was intact with no visible rot. A few weeks later our client calls again and puts me in touch with his carpenter whom is installing new windows (oh boy....) Our client expresses to me that his carpenter feels our installation has caused this rot. So we speak on the phoneand after looking at emailed pictures it was clear to me his wall was in fact rotted badly. The sill plate was shot, the perimeter around the window (under the old 1x6 trim) was also rotted and the wall directly beneath the window is in really bad shape. The OSB is disintegrating. The conversation ensues and the carpenter and I "seem" to agree that this was not caused by my install. That in fact this kind of rot take years to happen and was most likley do to the old trim never being flashed properly. All we did was cover the trim that was in place, which showed no visible rot.

Fast forward again to this week. I get another call from our client. He asks me to come out and meet his carpenter. We agree on yesterday and I head out there. I get there and the conversation immediately switches from the windows to the vinyl corner pieces being installed improperly. Technically he's right because upper corner was installed and seamed away from view. IOW slipped into not over top of the bottom corner. Ok fine..even though it was a snug fit with no opening on the face and a small opening in the pocket I'll agree, it should have been over top. (I only know this from pictures as he has already R&R'd corner and repaired rot which as you'll see, he decides to blame me for) Now he states that because of this minor infraction, the OSB substrate, which was covered by the novelty siding, tyvek, my insulating/leveling board and the new, vinyl siding was rotted 8" on either side of the corner. He had to remove the entire wall, repair the rot, replace insulation and install new plywood and reinstall the vinyl. As I'm looking at the wall, I notice that there are at least 6 courses of siding reinstalled and left short of the corner pocket. One piece is actually protruding and buckling because it's hitting the edge of the corner. The new trim around his windows is horrendous and will most certainly leak again.. These so called vinyl experts are skilled/experienced enough to deduce this damage was caused by my installation, but not skilled/experienced enough to install siding correctly. LOL It gets better...:thumbup:

Ok, So I ask... Why did you wait until this was all done to call me? No answer.. I ask again Why?? The carpenter pipes up.. "I'm not going to leave a wall open".. I'm thinking...What???? I'm 20 minutes away. I have a staff of 20 people. Are you joking? We would drop everything in a heart beat and be there immediately. Then the proverbial threat from the client. " well it's like this. Either offer some compensation or I'll take you to court"... Give me a break!! I'm being labeled as a fall guy for the original builder. This rot was there long before I got there. Never miond that my contract specifically excludes any damage to any substrate regardless of cause. Of course this could be challenged but I feel I'm pretty well covered.

So I need your opinions. Is this sort of rot in two short years possible given these circumstances.

Thanks for reading and any comments are appreciated
Its possible but it doesn't sound like they gave you a chance to inspect or remedy the situation. did you guys install any kind of tyvek or foam over the old siding?
 

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Never miond that my contract specifically excludes any damage to any substrate regardless of cause. Of course this could be challenged but I feel I'm pretty well covered.
Good luck, I don't think they gave you the chance to analyze and remedy the problem.

That said, I do not think that a siding company can contractually indemnify themselves from damage due to the failure or misapplication of the siding. I'm not saying that is what happened here, I'm saying that this clause of your contract is likely weak
 

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How much for how much buddy?

Meaning, what would it cost you to do EXACTLY what the possible suer wants you to do....measured against the cost you would incur, the mental anguish you will suffer, attorney's fees...etc, etc

....and also, what doing said work will open you up to more liability, attorney fees and the overall feeling of being screwed
 

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DavidC
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Here's a fact you probably already know. Vinyl siding does not prevent rain from being blown behind it. It does sound to me like the HO is trying to hold you responsible for somebody else's lack of flashing details.

Get a copy of JLC's Guide to Residential Construction, A Manuel of Best Practices. You'll want the exterior volume. You can check the details of the original construction against what is recommended and accepted as an industry standard. Don't disassemble anything other than your own work if at all possible. My bet would be you can show that the original builder was lacking in the details.

The down side would be if you discover that it was originally built correctly you are the next best target.

Possibly your client is bluffing with the lawsuit also. Most bullies have no real game if you call their bluff. Definately a discussion for your attorney rather than a forum though.

Good Luck
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Given what I told you do you guys think it's possible that an amount of rain sufficiant to rot 8" on each side of the corner could have gotten into such a small place in less than two years?? I'm talking 1/16" inch on a 3" corner. Remember also the old siding was left on and there's tyvek under that. The old sidng also comes within 1" of the corner of the 90 degree wall. so in order to rot this much the water would have to penetrate a surface less than 2" through a gap of 1/16"
I don't think it's possible. I did install insulation under the vinyl.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well thanks all, though I'm not looking for legal advice. I'm looking for opinions on wheteher you guys think that little water over that time span could cause that much damage. I simply don't see how it could.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It is hard guessing, without seeing. It is possible.

That's the answer I'm looking for, :clap:though it's really not the answer I'm looking for :sad:
 

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Quick question.
Did any of your original installers mention any sign of rot?
If you had installed starter,insulation ,siding surely someone would have found a soft spot in the original Osb.
Some installers would ignore these spots as it would hinder ther time schedule,and call for a change order.
Were the original windows flashed properly,this would have given a clue to the condition of sheathing.
And how did you address the new waterproffing around the window trim that you installed.
A lot would have to be asked here to come up with any viable conclusions.

Unfortunately,you didn't get achance to inspect before the newer work/repair was done.
All you'd have to do is wait for rain,before opening up other areas or been called right when the rot was discovered to see if it was actually still getting wet and not old damage.
 
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