Get 2 months of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!
Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Get 2 months of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!
Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.
Subject: Siding Damage Grass cutting - mulch beds
Prev Next
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Author Messages
KatharinaW
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:47


06/27/2019 6:03 PM  
Hi all,

You have been so helpful and I really value your experiences and thoughts. So I would like to run this by you guys and see what you think about this suggestion. And I apologize for the long text.

We are a approx. 200 units townhouse community, which was started roughly 13 years ago, but is still building new houses now in phase 4. The association provides grass cutting weekly. We hired a new “landscaping” company this year.

This company now proposes to the board to go forward with allowing them to either “spray mow” along the houses and deck posts or go ahead and install mulch beds along the perimeter to prevent the landscapers to having to replace damaged siding.

I am totally against the spray approach, as we have lots of dogs and kids in the neighborhood and given the chemicals that are already being used, I’d hate to add to that chemical blast even more.

I like the idea of mulch beds along e.g. end units sides. But what about the back of the houses. If they have a walkout basement but decided to keep grass rather than install patio pavers or cement slabs, I feel like we as a board, would be making their landscaping choices for them and I don’t think that is right. Not to mention, that this would add a lot of costs to the landscaping budget due to the HOA having to provide way more mulch around the neighborhood than currently.

For 13 years it was possible for companies to cut the grass and replace the few siding pieces that were damaged. Around the deck posts most of us installed metal “frames”, which prevent the edge cutters from damaging the wood posts, so that shouldn’t be a big issue.

I feel like the landscaping company should have said something to use about their concern PRIOR to biding and also that for one they are trying to get us to pay for them to put in mulch beds and second then make more in mulching those beds.

So my question is, what are your thoughts? Have you been in that situation and decided on either approach? And if so, are you glad you did it or not so much?

Thank you so much
Kat
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8396


06/27/2019 6:22 PM  
It's not their land to decide what to do with. Plus mulch is notorious for attracting termites and other bugs into the house. We had a HUGE termite problem in our HOA because certain mulches are basically feeding ground for them.

Your right. The landscapers should have factored in their bid for such situations. The HOA may also play a role in suggesting steps owners may take to prevent siding damage. It's not so much the HOA paying for it as much as the HOA approving the measures taken. The HOA should concern itself with it's common area like siding damage to a clubhouse siding.

If given the option, the HOA or it's ACC should set an agreed upon siding damage preventers. That may include pine mulch, covers for legs of decks, and other methods of protection. That way HOA doesn't pay for it but allows the owners to choose. If it's a violation, the HOA can then remove.

Former HOA President
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3123


06/27/2019 7:34 PM  
It's a myth that mulch attracts termites. They like the cool moist environment of mulch if they find it, but there's nothing in mulch that actually attracts termites.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:81


06/28/2019 3:50 AM  
From Termenix:

"Cypress heartwood has been rated as termite-resistant, with one study showing that extracts from this wood actually repel termites. Similarly, if you lay cedar mulch, termites won't be very happy. Organic, wood-based mulches aren't going to provide termites with a source for heavy feeding."
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:338


06/28/2019 5:27 AM  
My community dealt with this problem some years ago. The lawn care company at that time was damaging the siding and deck supports with their weed whackers. The board approved installing narrow mulched beds with small bushes. Now we have to deal with the bushes being too close to the buildings and keeping the mulch levels below the siding and/or brick to prevent mold and insect intrusion. So it was not a perfect solution.

Mulch may or may not attract insects but it can catch fire. I worked in a community where some mulch caught fire for no apparent reason.

https://www.safetyinsurance.com/resource_center/homeowners/mulchfires.html

We've also considered gravel or stone mulch, but we don't have any in the community now and hesitate to start down that path. You can end up spending more time and money on the solution than the original problem cost.

Probably the most effective step we took was replacing the lawn care service that was tearing up the place. A lot of the problem resulted from shoddy, careless work, and our current company does excellent work. Occasionally some siding will get nicked, but accidents will happen with even the most responsible crews, and our property manager keeps them on their toes. Also, in my area communities often bundle lawn care and snow removal. Our current company is top notch with snow removal, so on balance we consider the occasional nicked siding an acceptable trade off.
KatharinaW
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:47


06/28/2019 12:34 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 06/27/2019 6:22 PM

Your right. The landscapers should have factored in their bid for such situations. The HOA may also play a role in suggesting steps owners may take to prevent siding damage. It's not so much the HOA paying for it as much as the HOA approving the measures taken.
If given the option, the HOA or it's ACC should set an agreed upon siding damage preventers. That may include pine mulch, covers for legs of decks, and other methods of protection. That way HOA doesn't pay for it but allows the owners to choose. If it's a violation, the HOA can then remove.





Thank you Melissa! We do not have any common elements like clubhouses or playgrounds, which may need to get anything put in place. All we have are townhouses.

While siding repair and replacement is part of what the association covers, in the past, if the grass cutting company damaged siding, they were the ones replacing it. As it should be.

I am on board with installing deck post covers, that is something easily done and removed if necessary and doesn't require maintenance.

I appreciate your input! Termites or not, I did not even consider animals, whether it be insects, moles or whatever else lives out there in the wild
KatharinaW
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:47


06/28/2019 12:37 PM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 06/28/2019 5:27 AM
My community dealt with this problem some years ago. The lawn care company at that time was damaging the siding and deck supports with their weed whackers. The board approved installing narrow mulched beds with small bushes. Now we have to deal with the bushes being too close to the buildings and keeping the mulch levels below the siding and/or brick to prevent mold and insect intrusion. So it was not a perfect solution.

Mulch may or may not attract insects but it can catch fire. I worked in a community where some mulch caught fire for no apparent reason.

https://www.safetyinsurance.com/resource_center/homeowners/mulchfires.html

We've also considered gravel or stone mulch, but we don't have any in the community now and hesitate to start down that path. You can end up spending more time and money on the solution than the original problem cost.

Probably the most effective step we took was replacing the lawn care service that was tearing up the place. A lot of the problem resulted from shoddy, careless work, and our current company does excellent work. Occasionally some siding will get nicked, but accidents will happen with even the most responsible crews, and our property manager keeps them on their toes. Also, in my area communities often bundle lawn care and snow removal. Our current company is top notch with snow removal, so on balance we consider the occasional nicked siding an acceptable trade off.




WOW, thanks Cathy! The fire situation is quite eye opening! Stones were not even brought up by the company, although I personally find them prettier than the mulch. But nevertheless I just don't have a good feeling about deciding about "landscaping objects" on other peoples property if it was fine for 13 years, plus adding the annual maintenance cost to it. not to mention the weeding etc.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8550


06/28/2019 12:42 PM  
If landscaping is included in your dues then adding things that need to be maintained (bushes, mulch, etc.) will raise the landscaping cost thus maybe your dues.

When our owners ask for something I reply, we can give you anything you want as long as you are willing to pay for it. That usually shuts the "wishers" down.

You want the association to provide you breakfast in bed? We can do that. The question is how much are you willing to pay.
KatharinaW
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:47


06/28/2019 12:45 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 06/28/2019 12:42 PM
If landscaping is included in your dues then adding things that need to be maintained (bushes, mulch, etc.) will raise the landscaping cost thus maybe your dues.

When our owners ask for something I reply, we can give you anything you want as long as you are willing to pay for it. That usually shuts the "wishers" down.

You want the association to provide you breakfast in bed? We can do that. The question is how much are you willing to pay.




100% agreed John!

This was never raised as an issue in the 3 years I have lived here. I know of some siding, that got damaged and was repaired by the prior grass cutting company. No big deal - it happens.

Given this was never raised as a concern by anyone PLUS the fact it would not only take away from their decision on how to use/ decorate their yard, but also add cost to it, makes me not want to do this.

I just wanted to see here, whether anyone had great experience with this and to see if with a different point of view and arguments, I may be missing, I would change my mind.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3296


06/28/2019 12:52 PM  
We used crushed rock instead of mulch. You only have to do it once and you don't need to maintain it. You shouldn't have grass right up to the siding. Bad design.

That said..... You need to protect anything with a barrier from lawn mowing people and weed wackers. Trees. Building. Etc. Just common sense.
KatharinaW
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:47


06/28/2019 12:56 PM  
Steve, do you mean something like this?

https://www.landdesigns.com/keep-dirt-mulch-off-house/

I have seen landscapers using weed whackers too closely to those and "kicking" the rock all over the yard. To me they'd have to be just as careful about this, as they should be with siding?! But please let me know, if I am wrong.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3296


06/28/2019 6:47 PM  
Yep, just like that. Add another foot wide. Make it level with the grass and the mower goes right over it doesn't kick up any rocks. No need to use the weed wacker.
KatharinaW
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:47


06/28/2019 6:59 PM  
Thanks Steve.

While I wouldn’t be opposed to something like this - I don’t think a new grass cutting company should make a problem out of something that was fine for 13 years - neither increase the cost for homeowners. Plus the problem with the neighbors not having a patio ... I don’t want them stepping over a “moat of rock” to get in their yard ?!
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3296


06/29/2019 4:21 AM  
It was always a problem. You just had a skilled weed wacker. Most people who do lawns are unskilled.... at anything. So all those years, you were simply lucky.

Job of the lawn guy is to weedwack every blade of grass. When you have an item that is next to that blade of grass, its going to get wacked. Really simple.

The moat of rock is very normal. Replacing siding regularly because the weedwacker hit it because you have no barrier is NOT normal.

As an added benefit, many small insects wont walk across it into your house.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3296


06/29/2019 4:25 AM  
FYI:
Some jurisdictions require non combustible material.... i.e. gravel next to the structures. Many buildings fires have started from discarded smoking materials in mulch. Mulch starts on fire very easily.
KellyM3
(North Carolina)

Posts:1418


06/29/2019 7:10 AM  
Many companies wish to not cause any damage to the property and will request prevention measures where they can. Vinyl siding is notorious damaged by routine mowing and weed-trimming. I like the idea of create a low-maintenance planting bed, if reasonable, to create a buffer and add an aesthetic touch.

I wouldn't worry about termites. In fact, your HOA should have termite monitoring or abatement measures as part of routine maintenance.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8396


06/29/2019 8:00 AM  
Many HOA's pest control is NOT included. It's on the homeowner to be responsible. So I would not assume nor put on pest control onto your HOA responsibilities. Most likely not even put into your rules to be a responsibility. The lawncare people should be responsible for repairs for their work damage.

Former HOA President
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:338


06/29/2019 8:53 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 06/29/2019 8:00 AM
Many HOA's pest control is NOT included. It's on the homeowner to be responsible. So I would not assume nor put on pest control onto your HOA responsibilities. Most likely not even put into your rules to be a responsibility. The lawncare people should be responsible for repairs for their work damage.




That's true in HOAs where people own their lots, but in condo and townhome communities the grounds are common elements and the CC&Rs will spell out who does what. In my community the association takes care of exterior pest control while owners are responsible for the interiors of their homes as well as their patios/decks. We have to budget for things like mole removal (and it's amazing how much damage the little stinkers can do).

MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8396


06/29/2019 9:12 AM  
We own our houses and the lot the house sits on. Everything else is "Common area". The HOA did not provide pest control. We had some railroad tie retaining walls. Those were filled with termites and the mulch around homes. Pest control experts told us to NEVER remove those walls and to use pine mulch only. If we removed those railroad ties, the termites would go straight to the houses to eat them.

Had someone who demanded we removed their wall. They then also demanded we pay for pest control once I told them their house would be subject to termites. Our HOA wasn't responsible for pest control and especially when pest control says to keep the walls. As long as the walls were up, the termites would live there.

So be careful about wanting your HOA paying for pests. It's a very slippery slope...

Former HOA President
KatharinaW
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:47


06/29/2019 9:12 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 06/29/2019 8:53 AM
Posted By MelissaP1 on 06/29/2019 8:00 AM
Many HOA's pest control is NOT included. It's on the homeowner to be responsible. So I would not assume nor put on pest control onto your HOA responsibilities. Most likely not even put into your rules to be a responsibility. The lawncare people should be responsible for repairs for their work damage.




That's true in HOAs where people own their lots, but in condo and townhome communities the grounds are common elements and the CC&Rs will spell out who does what. In my community the association takes care of exterior pest control while owners are responsible for the interiors of their homes as well as their patios/decks. We have to budget for things like mole removal (and it's amazing how much damage the little stinkers can do).





Our association only provides lawn mowing; weed control and shrub trimming in the front
RoyalP


Posts:0


06/29/2019 11:06 AM  
the issue would NOT occur with a PROPERLY constructed structure fit for human occupation

i believe code actually REQUIRES 6+" of vertical clearance above grade for siding


ICC 2009:

R404.1.6 Height above finished grade.
Concrete and masonry foundation walls shall extend above the finished grade adjacent to the foundation at all points a minimum of 4 inches (102 mm) where masonry veneer is used and a minimum of 6 inches (152 mm) elsewhere.
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Siding Damage Grass cutting - mulch beds



Get 2 months of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!



News Articles Provided by: Community Associations Network
News, articles and blogs about condos/HOA's

Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.







General Legal Notice:  The content of forum messages are from the posting member and have not been reviewed nor endorsed by HOATalk.com.  Messages posted by HOATalk or other members are for informational purposes only, are not legal or professional advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.  HOATalk is not a licensed attorney, CPA, tax advisor, financial advisor or any other licensed professional.  HOATalk accepts ads from sponsors but does not verify sponsor qualifications nor endorse/guarantee any sponsor's product or service.
HindmanSanchez Legal Notice:  (For messages posted by HindmanSanchez) This message has been prepared by HindmanSanchez for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Members of HOATalk.com should not act on this information without seeking professional counsel. Please do not send us confidential information unless you speak with one of our attorneys and get authorization to send that information to us. If you wish to initiate possible representation, please contact an attorney in our firm. Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in the state of Colorado only.

Legal Notice For Messages Posted by Sponsoring Attorneys: This message has been prepared by the sponsoring attorney for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Readers of HOATalk.com should not act on this information without seeking professional counsel. Please do not send any sponsoring attorney confidential information unless you speak with the sponsoring attorney or an attorney from the sponsoring attorney’s firm and get authorization to send that information to them. If you wish to initiate possible representation, please contact an attorney in the firm of the sponsoring attorney. Sponsoring attorneys that post messages here are licensed to practice law in a specific state or states as indicated in their message signature or sponsor’s profile page. (NOTE: A ‘sponsoring attorney’ is an attorney that is a HOATalk.com official sponsor and is identified as such in the posted message or on our sponsor page.)

Copyright HOA Talk.com, A Service of Community123 LLC ( Homeowners Association Discussions )   Terms Of Use  Privacy Statement