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What are the Guidelines for Inspecting Liquid Vinyl Siding?

Tan colored vinyl siding with drops of water at the bottom.

The untrained eye might have difficulty identifying liquid vinyl siding.

Have you ever seen liquid vinyl siding? Maybe you have, and you haven’t realized it.

Liquid vinyl siding came into use in 1985 as an alternative to traditional vinyl siding. It’s about half the cost, and it can be installed over almost any surface. It’s roughly double the cost of paint, but if it’s applied properly, it can last for decades — many years longer than any paint application.

You Have to Do the Dirty Work

Proper surface preparation is critical when applying liquid vinyl siding. Of course it is for paint, too, but a botched paint job costs much less than liquid vinyl siding that starts peeling in a few years.

LVS can be applied over wood, stucco, cement, and many other building materials. It’s important that the surface be clean, so pressure washing is recommended. When the surface is dry, it should be sealed against moisture before the LVS is applied. If either of these steps is not taken — or taken incorrectly — the product will not adhere properly, and mold and mildew may grow unabated.

Identifying Liquid Vinyl Siding

When you inspect a home covered in LVS, you may not realize right away what type of material you are viewing. It resembles paint fairly closely, although it has more of a satin appearance. Ask the current homeowner if they know what type of material it is.

If the house has changed hands many times, they may not know. However, if they have the warranty from the original installation, ask to see it so that you can check to make sure the installer was licensed and approved, as well as how much time is left on the warranty.

When you inspect a house covered in LVS, you should look for the same type of problems you would with paint — blistering, cracking, and peeling. Although these are signs of wear and tear, they may also signal improper installation. Peel back blistering LVS to look for dirt or other signs of inadequate surface preparation. This material is meant to last decades, and if it has been only a few years, it’s a sign something is wrong.

LVS suffered a bad reputation for a time because inferior products that were little better than paint were being marketed as LVS and didn’t last very long. Consider this possibility also when encountering deteriorating LVS.

Close up of peeling vinyl siding.

Peeling liquid vinyl siding looks a lot like paint, but it’s much harder to repair.

Repairing Liquid Vinyl Siding

LVS repairs are neither easy nor cheap. The area must be scraped, sanded, ground, washed, and allowed to dry before two to three coats of new LVS is applied. Color matching can also be an issue in these instances.

Regardless of whether or not you can be certain the home you’re inspecting is clad with LVS, you should note any areas of peeling, cracking, blistering, or deterioration. If you are sure it is LVS, make a note to prospective homeowners explaining how the product is different from paint and briefly outline the repair process.

Advise them to contract with a company that has been in business for more than a few years, as contractors that specialize in inferior LVS products often go out of business, rendering their warranties useless.

Home Inspection Courses Equip You with the Skills You Need

ICA home inspection courses provide you with a comprehensive overview of all aspects of home inspection. Every home you inspect deepens your experience in the field and broadens your knowledge of products such as LVS.

Interested in learning more? Check out our website today.

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