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Slightly O.T.: Residential Construction - Weather-Resistant Exterior Walls

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I just want a few opinions to compare to my own.

Looking at Section R703 of the 2000 International Residential Code, I don't seem to be able to identify anything that would strictly define the requirements for "Hardi-Plank" siding. Typically in this area Hardi-Plank ( is used as a horizontal lap-type siding, over a moisture barrier or weather-resistant sheathing paper (such as tar-impregnated paper, Tyvek® wrap, etc.)

I am not sure if Hardi-Plank CAN be installed such that it fits the definition of "Horizontal Siding" as defined in R703.3.2 such that it does NOT require the weather-resistant sheathing, but my experience is that the laps are not sealed or closed (which I BELIEVE is the what is meant by ship-lapped).

The problem is that I'm looking at a house that was re-sided using Hardi-Plank, and the installer left the sheathing out during the installation. There is some remaining "tar paper" still there where it randomly DIDN'T get ripped away during the demolition of the old (composite) siding, but there are large areas left unprotected. In the attic area, you can actually see sunlight shining through the "cracks" between the Hardi-Plank boards.

The installer insists that according to R703.3.2 of 2000 IRC he does not have to have the moisture barrier, because the rain is not coming through the openings. However, I just don't see it that way. The wallpaper's peeling off the walls since he did his job, and the house, according to the homeowner, "feels clammy." Of course here on the Texas Gulf Coast humidity is a big issue, and even in the Winter the dampness is pervasive.

Although liquid water may not be coming into the house, I suggest that there is a problem.

Any other opinions?

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