t1-11 z-flashing and water

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No stepped wall. I've probably done a dozen of these homes built by different builders. All of them in the 12-13 yr old range, done because of rotted siding. I know how builders build, especially cookie cutters. Its for the most cost efficient way. I never held any carpenter responsible for following specs, its something they _must_ do.
The straight edge would just follow the taper. Now if you held a 6' level, I'm sure the bubble wont be centered, but then again, being a cookie cutter, I doubt there are any plumb walls in this place.
The last time this house was done, was about 10 yrs ago, when it got a color change. As far as sealing it up, it was the best SW had to offer, I'm talking an initial investment of $10 for 2 tubes of 50 yr stuff, which I ended pitching the left over. When it got color changed, I bought a tube and touched up a few areas. Low maintenance IMHO, if you like T1-11, then many people don't.
Climate: Midwest with extreme temperature swings, near Lake Erie. Lots of snow, rain, sleet, wind, & heat.
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If you decide that you want a 3/8" gap instead of a 1/8" gap, with very careful use of the circular saw you could trim the upper panel in place to remove 1/4" of it. You'd need to set your circular shy of the depth of the panel, so you don't hit the Z-flashing, and you could finish up with a sharp utility knife. With a 3/8" gap you should be able to get a small brush in there to seal the new cut.
Cheers, Wayne
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