The Mystery Behind the Vinyl Siding — Termites, Water Damage and Asbestos
We are negotiating a counter offer on a house that was built in 1928. The house has 15 year old vinyl siding and no rain gutters. There are small perforated air holes in the siding under the eaves to let the house breathe. We have noticed some chipped corners on the siding in a few places, but otherwise it looks intact.
We have some concerns, though, and would welcome some feedback:
1) The seller says there are asphalt shingles under the siding. We could see some thick insulating foam between the siding and whatever is underneath. There are no access points for the home inspector to assess the condition of the exterior walls.
2) We found a very small section where the siding has gapped between the trim and roof. We could see old, peeling paint and what may be dry rot. This section is maybe eight inches long and just 1.5 inches high.
3) The house had termite damage. The seller paid $14,000 to have the damage repaired per a Section One clearance. The pest report says the attic was not inspected, aside from looking inside the trap door in a closet ceiling and doing a quick visual inspection. There is vermiculite insulation in the attic which is believed to contain asbestos. That seems to by why they never did a thorough inspection, despite the extensive damage in the joists and floorboards, etc.
4) Because of the termite damage, we are concerned about the exterior walls. If moisture has seeped between the house and the siding, there could be extensive termite and water damage (and mold) there.
5) Our realtor says if we have the inspector remove some of the siding, we are responsible for fixing any damage caused by this should we decide not to buy the house. We do not want to spend any money on repairs for a house that's not ours.
We love this house and are not afraid to buy an old home. We are pretty well versed in the asbestos concern and are willing to pay to have the entire house decontaminated and the insulation replaced. It's a small house, so the cost is not going to be more than $6000. We are willing to do this.
But what about the siding? If they had that much termite damage in the flooring and had to replace some of the original wood flooring and several sections of supports, doesn't it make sense that the exterior walls could be harboring termites and water damage? The inside of these walls are smooth and show no signs of damage, but the outside is a gamble.
I would be very grateful for your feedback. Thank you.
Last edited by Jared C.; 09-21-2013 at 06:50 PM.
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