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wichitawings 05-26-2009 12:48 PM

certainteed cement siding cracking!
we built a new house as our own GC and the fiber cement lap siding (certainteed = CT) is cracking in several places. Most common is cracks extending up from or down from windows or door corners, but it also cracks on regular long pieces too, usually at the ends the crack will be diagonal.

It appears that the house is moving some and the siding can't take the movement so it cracks. It's really bad but I don't see this as being a problem for anyone else. I have heard that the CT siding is more brittle and I've heard about changes in their recipe (less fly ash). This siding was installed in July 2008 and started cracking within a few days, pieces were replaced and the cracking happened again, seems like we get a new crack somewhere every week.

My guess is we are getting a little movement due to wind and this stuff has zero toleration and is cracking, the cut pieces around windows cracks first because it is weaker there.

Do I have to replace all of the siding? Is the siding defective, who is responsible?

The installer doesn't understand it either?

Our framer wasn't the best in the world but I don't know what he could have done wrong to cause this.

Has anyone else seen this with certainteed weatherboard siding?
I wished I had installed Hardie or Smart Lap siding instead.

VaViaCo 05-27-2009 05:07 AM

We used this product 2 years ago on a storage building built on top of a dock that I know moves as the dock shifts in the wind.
It is not cracked.

Did the initial nailing cause the cracks? Maybe the painter hid some small cracks that have grown.

Otherwise it sounds like you have some major movements, possibly the framer cut some studs short and let it settle down later, or the foundation is sinking.

Door/window issues point to jacks under the headers left short and settling.

But any of this should cause cracks in the drywall inside before problems in the siding.

How is the drywall?

Scuba_Dave 05-27-2009 07:08 AM

Where are you located?
How long between foundation being poured & construction starting?
Do you know if proper gapping was left in the sheathing?
Seems more of a settling problem
Was the area filled before foundation went in?

wichitawings 05-27-2009 01:19 PM

answers to VaViaCo and ScubaDave
Thanks guys for your replies, we are in Wichita, KS on a 5 acres. It's a viewout basement, but the hole was only about 2 feet deep, had to bring in a lot of dirt to get the grade. The roof pitch is 7/12 and the ceilings are 10 feet, the basement is 9 ft, combining all of this it's a tall house and it's very windy and exposed. Framing wasn't very good... when the siding was installed right after framing it started cracking within a week (around windows and doors in the back of house), I had a structural engineer out but he wasn't very helpful but he wasn't impressed with the framing.

He note that their were gaps between a lot of the headers and the studs, which we shimmed, (it surmised that the house walls was framed separately and then put together on site which is correct... the framers on site seemed inexperienced and had the mentality to make parts fit by more nails, lots of windows out of square, etc. the siding was re-installed and it still cracked but not as bad. But now almost a year later we still see an occasional new crack, but also on sides of house where there no windows or doors, a lot of the cracks do go thru a nail hole but not all

framing took about a month and the framing started within 2 weeks of the foundation

don't think initial nailing caused cracks (but cracks are now intersecting nails,) the installer thought the problem was the zip wall we used but I don't think so, it's really popular here, I think it's T&G so the spacing should be OK except where they cut pieces.

There are no drywall cracks (I did put OSB on the inside of the back of the house to add more stability, everyone thought it was overkill but I did it anyway, there are lots of windows along the back and it's perpendicular to the wind from the south.

another thing is the framers put NO bracing in originally, they came out later after I called them to put the bracing in... but again it was that great IMO so I researched and added more braces including lateral bracing to anchor the regular bracing and I also put in anti-sway braces, theres a lot of bracing but I wouldn't be surprised if the roof trusses aren't perfectly plumb. I also added huricane straps

this is complicated but that's what happens when you get the low buck framer, I've learned my lesson on that

wichitawings 05-28-2009 10:15 AM

more info
I just want to re-iterate that we have no drywall issues at all (at least not yet), drywall was done in November so it's been 6 months.

I don't think it's a settling issue, no cracks in basement walls or anything like that,

but if it's movement (either because of crappy framing such as gaps below headers or whatever or wind or not enough bracing) the drywall is not cracking so it can't be that much movement. the truss bracing in the attic exceeds what all the other builders are doing around here because I added extra.

If it's installation related then what did they do wrong? They left space around windows, nails were not ring shank (they were yellow coated) and they were not driven into the siding.

I'm going to submit a warranty claim with Certainteed, but I fully expect them to say it's installation or preparation

Termite 05-28-2009 04:05 PM

Was the home sheathed on the exterior with 7/16" OSB or 15/32" plywood? Or did they install the fiber cement straight to the studs? If it is the latter you have one heck of a problem in my opinion.

If your sheetrock were cracking I'd say the framer did a poor job, because sheetrock won't hide any movement. Since the sheetrock's in good shape I'd look really hard at the siding installation.

It never hurts to put in a claim to the siding manufacturer. Just DON'T SIGN ANYTHING AT ALL without carefully reviewing all the fine print. They'll do anything they can to get out of the liability. Even if it is a manufacturing issue they probably won't cover installation labor, just material.

wichitawings 05-28-2009 04:58 PM

we used zip board which is 7/16" thick OSB with some water barrier on the panel, so the whole house was sheathed with 7/16" OSB plus we put 7/16 OSB on the inside on the back wall, which has most of the windows, the drywall was put right over the osb.

However, they did not overlap the wood floor trusses which I think would have been better.

One thing that they did was they built all of the walls in a facility and trucked them out and had a crew put it together, it's called panelization I think... which isn't necessarily bad if it's done right but I think they didn't do the best work on-site

Plus I can't see how they fastened the panels, and I can't remember either, but I know they missed a ton of studs

also the front of the house has a brick veneer

user93440 10-31-2010 08:32 AM

My home was sided with CertainTeed weather board fiber cement siding about two years ago and I've had problems from day one. Some boards de-laminated and took on the appearance of water saturated card board. Even though the CertainTeed info specifically states this will not happen, they wouldn't even talk with me about the problem. They asked me to fill out a warraty request form that required info that I don't even have. Now, I just started noticing cracked boards on he south side of our house. I've now asked my contractor to get more involved and help me file a warranty claim. We'll see where I get with this, but to date, I've had to pay for any repairs out of pocket. I was very excited to be getting my home re-sided with this siding, but now regret doing so...what a downer when these types of problems begin to surface. Especially when it's pretty much immediately after the installation. I have pictures of all defects if anyone would like to see hem

kwikfishron 10-31-2010 09:21 AM

199 Attachment(s)
I’d like to see them.

user93440 10-31-2010 07:57 PM


Originally Posted by kwikfishron (Post 526039)
Id like to see them.

Ok...will do. I'll dig them out. I had some Halloween stuff to do with the little ones today.

wichitawings 11-01-2010 08:53 AM

It's been about 18 months and the cracking has gotten a lot worse, pretty much every piece has at least one crack... it appears that the siding is contracting significantly which is causing the cracking. I suspect the siding was wet when it was installed. I can't find the installer now, he won't return calls... I'm just caulking all of the cracks, but it's getting ridiculous.:furious:

wichitawings 11-01-2010 08:57 AM

the contracting is significant and obvious, gaps are appearing at the ends and also between boards, they used those spacers (which they weren't supposed to use per certainteed) and there are even boards where it has contracted so much that there are gaps at the spacers between boards.

wichitawings 11-01-2010 09:00 AM

the installers seemed to do a very neat job, but it had been raining a lot and I think the siding must not have been dried out completely...these guys admitted that they hadn't worked with certainteed before, I suspect the Hardie product does not contract as much? I heard (but don't know if it's true, I suspect it is) certainteed cement siding contracts more because of the formulation. I've got pieces where siding is falling off because it is cracking at the nail holes on the ends and when the wind blows the corner falls off.

user93440 11-01-2010 09:01 AM


Originally Posted by wichitawings (Post 526576)
the contracting is significant and obvious, gaps are appearing at the ends and also between boards, they used those spacers (which they weren't supposed to use per certainteed) and there are even boards where it has contracted so much that there are gaps at the spacers between boards.

Has CertainTeed worked with you at all? Have they sent anyone out to look at the problem? I've had other problems, but have just recently started noticing the cracks. I suspect this is only the beginning. Caulking them all probably wouldn't look very good and would be a nightmare to maintain.

wichitawings 11-01-2010 09:11 AM

we filed a warranty claim, you can goto their website and print off the form and mail it in with that time we had about 15 boards that had cracked and we assumed it was done (it had been about 6 months)...they provided 15 pieces of trim plus $500 to replace those pieces, which was based on a standard amount per 100 sq ft of siding, problem is was the pieces were interspersed, the cheapest bid we got to replace all of the pieces of $1200, so I just caulked the siding, but more cracks keep appearing!!! I wonder if your siding was wet when it was installed?

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