Siding warranties provide peace of mind, but for a manufacturer to honor their warranty, you must use specific products and processes when installing and maintaining their siding. This guide will discuss what a siding warranty involves and what you, as the property owner, must do to ensure it remains valid.
What Is a Manufacturer’s Warranty?
This term refers to a manufacturer-offered warranty that is valid for a limited time. This period generally begins from the date you purchase the siding, and may only be valid in specific states and territories. For example, James Hardie Building Products offers the warranty for their siding in the United States except for Alaska, and in Canada except for Yukon Territory, Nunavut and Northwest Territories.
The manufacturer’s siding warranty asserts that their products will resist damage from termite attack or hail and contain no manufacturing defects in workmanship and material.
This limited warranty only extends to the following, referred to as “covered persons.”
- The first purchaser of the siding
- The first owner of the home or building to have the siding installed
- The first transferee
During this limited warranty period, if it turns out the siding contains workmanship or material defects, Hardie will replace or refund the defective portions. Alternatively, the company may reimburse the covered person for up to two times the cost of the siding’s defective portion. If the covered person cannot establish the defective siding’s original retail cost to Hardie’s satisfaction, Hardie will determine the cost in its sole and reasonable discretion.
Hardie’s replacement of the defective siding or reimbursement is only a remedy for workmanship or material defects — it will not pay or refund any costs associated with additional materials or labor. After 30 years have passed, this limited warranty will no longer be valid.
How to Get a Manufacturer to Honor Their Warranty
For a manufacturer to honor your residential or commercial siding warranty, you must install and maintain it to their specifications, which is why it’s crucial to review all warranty information they provide.
Below are the three general steps you must take for a manufacturer to honor your siding installation warranty. Keep in mind that the specifics vary by manufacturer.
1. You Must Use Manufacturer-Specified Products
When cutting, fastening and touching up siding, the manufacturer will specify which products you must use. Below are examples of products you should use when installing the popular HardiePlank Lap Siding.
- Saws: You must cut the boards using one of the manufacturer’s recommended methods, including a circular saw with a HardieBlade saw blade and an attached vacuum system for dust collection. If you are cutting indoors, you cannot do so with a power saw — instead, you must use manual, electric or pneumatic shears, though the company does not recommend shears if the siding is thicker than 7/16 inches.
- Fasteners: Fasteners used for installing HardiePlank Lap Siding must be galvanized, stainless steel or corrosion-resistant. The warranty’s terms also allow electro-galvanized fasteners, but be aware that they may corrode prematurely. James Hardie recommends high-quality hot-dipped galvanized nails, though if you are installing siding near the ocean, a large body of water or in a very humid climate, they recommend stainless steel fasteners. If you’re fastening using nails and a pneumatic device, you should put on a flush-mount attachment, which will help you control the nails’ depth when you drive them.
- Water-resistant barriers: In compliance with your area’s building code, you must correctly install a water-resistive barrier, which should include function and penetration flashing. James Hardie will not assume any responsibility if water infiltration occurs.
- Touch-up kits: When touching up James Hardie’s ColorPlus products, the warranty requires manufacturer-made touch-up kits.
2. You Must Follow the Manufacturer’s Installation Process
Siding manufacturers also require installing their products using specific methods. That’s why it’s crucial to read the manufacturer’s installation instructions, which will usually specify every step you must take in installing their siding — even down to how you store the product before installation.
To illustrate how detailed a manufacturer’s installation instructions can be, we’ll discuss the installation instructions for HardiePlank Lap Siding.
- Storage: If you are not going to install your product right away, you will have to store it flat and keep it covered so it stays dry. Installing damp or saturated siding could result in shrinkage at butt joints.
- Handling: Carry the planks on edge, protecting the corners and edges to prevent them from breaking. If damage occurs due to incorrect storage or handling of the siding, James Hardie will not be responsible.
- Substrates: There are also specifications regarding the types of surfaces upon which you can install HardiePlank lap siding. You can install the siding over steel studs or braced wood, from a minimum of 20 gauge to a maximum of 16 gauge and spaced no more than 24 inches on center. You can also install it directly onto OSB sheathing, which must have a minimum thickness of 7/16 inches. If there are any irregularities in the surface before installation, make sure to correct them.
- Sloping of finished grade: Any finished grade adjacent to the siding should slope away from the building. The specifics will depend on the building codes in your area, though the minimum is generally 6 inches in the first 10 feet.
- Don’t use siding for other purposes: HardiePlank Lap Siding is siding only — not trim or fascia. You can only install the siding on vertical, flat wall applications.
- Keep away from standing water: You cannot install James Hardie siding in a way that keeps it in contact with standing water.
- Consider moisture movement and thermal expansion: For more extensive projects, such as multi-family and commercial projects, wall spans are often considerably long. In this case, the architect or designer should think about the siding’s coefficient or moisture movement and thermal expansion. The manufacturer should provide these values.
- Treat the cut edge: Paint, prime or caulk all the field-cut edges. To achieve the best results, James Hardie recommends using an elastomeric joint sealant of at least Class 25 that complies with ASTM C920 Grade NS. A latex joint sealant that complies with ASTM C834 is also an acceptable option. You must apply the caulking or sealant according to the manufacturer’s written instructions. Keep in mind that the manufacturer may prohibit tooling. If you choose to paint your siding, you cannot use oil/alkyd-based paint, powder coating or stain on James Hardie siding. If the James Hardie product is factory-primed, you must paint it within 180 days of installing it.
The fastening method is one of the most crucial aspects of the installation to get right. Not only do you have to use specific, manufacturer-specified fasteners, but you must also place them to achieve specified design wind loads. Drive fasteners perpendicular to your siding and framing, and the heads of the fasteners should be snug against your siding — there shouldn’t be any air space. When a structural member is present, you should fasten the HardiePlank with spacing even to it. If traditional framing isn’t available, only use the tables that allow direct to plywood or OSB.
You can also nail James Hardie siding manually or fasten it using a pneumatic device. James Hardie highly recommends the latter method. Adjust the air pressure to drive the fasteners snug with the siding’s surface.
3. You Must Maintain Your Siding According to the Specified Care Instructions
Even if you’ve installed your siding to the manufacturer’s precise specifications, you still have work to do — you must also maintain your siding using manufacturer-approved methods. Though siding can last up to 30 years, this lifespan is only if it is well-maintained. For instance, you must reapply paint and caulk every 10 years.
Below are some examples of manufacturer-specified maintenance tasks for Hardie HZ5 siding.
- Patching: Fill in chips, cracks and dents with a high-quality acrylic mortar patch, a cement patching compound available at hardware stores and home centers.
- Replacing siding: If you replace siding, you must do so according to James Hardie’s written installation instructions.
- Replacing caulk: When it’s time to replace caulk, you must remove the existing caulk carefully and replace it with a paintable, high-quality latex caulk. To achieve the best results, James Hardie recommends using a latex caulk that’s compliant with ASTM C834 or higher. You must also apply the caulking according to the caulking manufacturer’s instructions.
- Maintaining paint: Remove and repaint chipped, cracked or damaged paint. However, before repainting, you must make sure to clean the surface area properly. Once cleaned, repaint right away using a high-quality 100% acrylic paint. Refer to the paint manufacturer’s written specifications for other crucial details such as required topcoats and application rates.
James Hardie also recommends that homeowners take the following maintenance steps to ensure their siding stays in top shape for many years.
- Cleaning exterior surfaces: Once or twice a year, you should wash exterior surfaces down using a garden hose to remove dirt and debris. Clean your siding using a damp cloth or soft brush using a side-to-side motion, following the direction of the plank’s grain. You can also wash your siding using a pressure washer, though you should take extra precautions. To minimize the risk of damage, you should keep the pressure under 1,500 psi, use a wide fan tip and stay at least 6 feet away from the siding.
- Install and maintain gutters: If gutters and downspouts were not already present when you bought your home, installing them will help protect your siding. You should also clean your gutters regularly.
- Trim nearby vegetation: You should also trim back any bushes, shrubs and small trees so the greenery doesn’t make contact with the siding.
- Adjust your sprinkler system: If you have a sprinkler system, adjust it so that it doesn’t spray on your siding excessively or soak the ground around your home continuously.
- Keep deicing salts away: Your siding should not make contact with deicing salts, which can damage your siding’s finished look. To manage icy or snowy surfaces close to your siding, we recommend using gravel or sand.
- Maintain drainage slopes: Meet the required ground clearance, which is usually 6 inches. Don’t in-fill your landscaping up to the siding.
- Touch up scrapes, nail holes and nicks: James Hardie suggests its ColorPlus Touch-up Kit for this task. However, if the area you plan to touch up is bigger than a dime, the manufacturer recommends replacing the damaged siding.
- Reapplying caulking after signs or wear: If you notice any signs of wear in the caulking, reapply it. Doing so will help prevent moisture from making its way into the wall cavity. These areas include flashings, penetrations and trim and plank connections.
Warranty Differences Between Types of Siding
When talking about siding warranties, it is essential to note that we only discussed a single product from one manufacturer — HardiePlank Lap Siding — as an example of what a siding warranty is like. However, siding warranties vary among manufacturers and products. Even the same product can have a different warranty depending on whether the application is commercial or residential.
In summary, before installing siding for your home or business, it is critical to check with the manufacturer regarding the specific products, processes and maintenance steps required for them to honor the warranty.
Have Grace Point Contracting Install Your Siding
At Grace Point Contracting, we don’t cut corners. When installing your siding, we follow every step meticulously to ensure your manufacturer honors their warranty. We even bring in a siding manufacturer representative to sign off on our work to ensure our installation process and products are all correct according to their warranty terms. When you hire us, you will avoid all the hassles of installation and get the peace of mind that our experienced professionals have completed the job with the manufacturer’s approval.
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