Suburban Philadelphia Real Estate News


If my house "MELTS" your house----is that a problem?


Something else to be aware of when looking at properties!

I have seen this several times on homes with vinyl siding in this area.  When considering a purchase of any home or investment property, you should always look at the surrounding environment for any potential issues that could impact the property itself.

Thanks to Charles Buell in Seattle for the great information and description!


     It is usually pretty easy when I am inspecting homes, and I come across problems, to simply recommend what needs to be done to remedy the problem.  Even if the problem requires “further evaluation” by some other professional----at least there is some kind of answer/resolution/repair than can be performed to resolve the issue.

     For the most part a house is an assemblage of concrete, wood, drywall, doors, windows, electrical components, heating components, plumbing components, insulation, interior finishes and roofing materials.  All of these components are assembled in a logical, coherent, and systematic way. 

     When they are not-----well that is why I have a job.

     It is less common for these systems to “act out” and attack a neighboring house. 

     But this "acting out" is not without precedent.  Trees can fall from the property wiping out the neighbors house or car----or fence.  Oil tanks can leak from one yard to another----the oil can even find its way into drainage systems and city sewers creating all kinds of havoc.  Carpenter ants in a stump in your yard might have satellite nests in several of your neighbor’s homes.

     I have no idea as to the liability around any of these issues.  Some are likely considered acts of God----while others are less God-like.  We would probably like to blame God for lots of things that are our own creation----but I will grant him full title to lightening, hurricanes and tornadoes.  There is however, some evidence that man has a hand even in the weather.  We were, after all, created in his image supposedly----although some would argue that it is the other way around.

     The other day I inspected the south unit of a duplex----three more identical duplexes lined the street to the south of the duplex that I was involved with.  During the year, the sun hits the windows on the south side of the unit I inspected, and the windows cast their focused light on the side of the building to the south---just 12 feet away.  This intense reflected light/heat melted the vinyl siding on the building.  This occurred on all the other duplexes down the row.

Sun doing its thing

Sun doing its thing

     So who is responsible for this damage?  The owner of the affected building?  The owners of all the south units?  The siding manufacturer?  The window manufacturer?  Forrest Gump?  God?

     I think this is a sure message that in some instances vinyl siding might be the wrong choice-----so perhaps liability goes back to whoever specified the vinyl siding-----and around and around we go----where the liability stops----nobody knows.


Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector


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Comment balloon 0 commentsDavid Henke • October 23 2010 10:51AM
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