What You Should Know About Manufactured Stone Veneer Siding
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What You Should Know About Manufactured Stone Veneer Siding

Published: Nov 22, 2013

Today’s home siding comes in a variety of materials, can increase energy efficiency, and dramatically enhances a home’s appearance. Molded from real rock, stone, or other natural materials, manufactured stone veneer (MSV) siding has become a popular option for many homeowners since it costs less, weighs less, and is easier to install than natural stone.

If you’ve been in relocation long enough to have experienced the effects of Exterior Insulation Finishing System (EIFS), aka synthetic stucco, the result of improperly installed manufactured stone siding will be a familiar, unwelcomed blast from the past. Sold as an alternative to traditional stucco, synthetic stucco contained an exterior insulating coating, was crack resistant, and more versatile than traditional stucco.

The problem with synthetic stucco wasn’t the product, but the faulty installation that allowed moisture to penetrate around doors and windows, and other vulnerable points in the façade, leaving behind rotted wood, spongy sheetrock, mold, and costly remediation.

Fast forward to today and, despite everything learned about the improper installation of siding, homes are popping up across the country with damage from moisture intrusion all over again. Only this time it involves manufactured stone veneer siding. Unfortunately, many builders didn’t heed the lessons learned from synthetic stucco and hired untrained, uncertified installers who failed to follow the manufacturers’ instructions and complicated (and loosely enforced) city building codes.

In the worst cases, the siding was adhered either directly to the solid moisture barrier wrap, wire mesh, or to the wood sheathing without proper drainage space, leaving homeowners with a decaying structure, mold, and in some cases, termite infestation within as little as one year after construction.

Critical to proper installation of the manufactured stone siding system, at a minimum, is the application of at least one solid moisture barrier wrap, use of expansion joints where the siding borders other materials, caulking around windows and doors, flashing in all critical areas, weep holes, and adequate space above grade for any accumulated water to escape.

Fortunately, not all manufactured stone veneer siding was installed improperly, as we are now seeing a spattering of these homes entering our clients’ home sale programs. NEI is bringing attention to this emerging issue by educating and individually consulting with each of our clients with home sale programs to determine their approach to manage these homes.

NEI Next Steps

As NEI continues to investigate the concerns associated with MSV, we are taking some initial actions to raise awareness by:

  • Modifying our Homeowner’s Property Questionnaire, requiring disclosure on the presence of manufactured stone veneer siding (MSV)
  • Educating home buyers to help ensure a wise home purchase in the destination through counseling, and by providing information on the possible issues associated with improperly installed manufactured stone veneer siding in our Transferee’s Educated Buyer, and Environmental and Building Materials Issues guides.
  • Contacting our clients to initiate policy changes as appropriate, and
  • Reviewing recommendations regarding inspections and remediation being either the transferee’s or company’s responsibility or if any assistance will be provided

NEI will follow client policy based on the transferees’ disclosure and recommendations by appraisers, real estate agents, and the general home inspection. Since the results of improperly installed manufactured stone veneer siding are the same as what we have encountered with synthetic stucco, we anticipate most clients adopting the same eligibility and program guidelines for both synthetic stucco and manufactured stone veneer siding.

Recommendations

Our initial recommendation, until our industry becomes more familiar with identifying and working with manufactured stone veneer siding, is to order an evaluation of the type and installation method of the subject home’s siding.  If the results from these tests suggest further evaluation, we will consult with our clients on recommended next steps.

If you have any immediate questions or need assistance, please contact your NEI team at 800.533.7353. As always, we will keep you updated on the latest developments.

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