May have to take my Home Builder to court

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  1. #1
    DriftGirl's Avatar
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    Default May have to take my Home Builder to court

    I purchased a lot and had a house built last year. Decided to hire out an inspector to go over a few "concerns" that I had before the first year of ownership was up.

    I got the report back from the inspector and it read:

    - Insulation missing on a couple of spaces. He took pictures with thermal imaging camera. the areas in question are "cold spots" in the house that I never mentioned to him.

    Builders claim that "those cameras arent accurate..."

    - I spent a lot of money on imported wood flooring. It sounds like Im going to fall thru the floor...not a squeek...sounds like its actually cracking or something.

    builders claim: Its because of your heavy Fridge. People usually get standard sized units.

    The floor down the main hallway has buldged up in several places. They came out twice to "fix it" and even replaced a section of sub flooring.

    The buldges seem like they are moving down the hallway. I want to replace the carpet with wood flooring to match the kitchen but cant because of the added cost with my messed up floors.

    Builders claim: its normal to have a slightly uneven floor

    Misc cracks in the drywall are to be expected with new construction...i know this. However, my (bottom floor) drywall below the problem hallway area is buldging out and you can see the seem where the 2 pieces meet....its about 15ft long.

    Builders claim: "its just how the light hits the wall in that area....We didnt want to put a window there because of that very same issue"


    Im not the "complaining type" and actually like doing some of the lil repairs, that I probably shouldnt have to do...They arent returning my phone calls now


    This whole thing is turning into a headache
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    Justin D's Avatar
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    I own a construction company so maybe I can help you.

    1. Thermal imaging cameras are very accurate. It really depends on what they found with the camera. Big cold spots can mean missing insulation. If you used a fiberglass batt insulation it is typical to have cold spots as it doesn't 100% seal the cavity it's filling. You need more info from the inspector. They should be able to provide you with jpg files to show you a pic of the spot. Also those cameras can be adjusted for how sensitive they are. What is the temperature difference between "normal" and "cold spots"?

    2. I'm guessing your floors haven't been insulated. It's not necessary to insulate floors (Always, depends which floor and local codes). Where we build sound insulation is put everywhere without question. It's considered normal. However many places in the country this is considered extra.

    3. Bulging floors - can you post a pic? I'm not sure what you mean. Are they cupping meaning the the edges are higher than the middle? If so, it could be the wood wasn't properly acclimated before install. Solid wood needs to sit in the house for approx 2 weeks before install and the moisture content needs to be checked first. Otherwise the wood can "move" quite a bit once installed. Keep in mind that wood does move, it is natural. Make sure you don't have humidity problems in the house.

    4. Drywall bulging. Was this a renovation or new construction? If this is the cases that you can see a bulge it most likely has to do with flaws in the framing. Again it is natural for wood to move so cracks are normal in new construction. But if you see a bulge or pieces of rock not lining up it would most likely be uneven framing. Probably means they rushed to build the wall rather than taking time to make sure every wall was straight. Unfortunately most conventional wood for framing is not that good these days, it's new growth material and who knows what kind of conditions it was left in at the supply yard. Also, there seems to be a lot of variance in the size of each piece so this can lead to headaches when trying to build a perfectly straight wall. Lots of times if budget allows, or in critical areas (i.e. door frames or kitchens) we used an engineered wood which stays perfectly straight it's much more expensive. Some other builders will come back a few weeks later and plane the wood walls so they all are perfectly straight, but this is very expensive.
    Last edited by Justin D; 03-31-2011 at 09:40 PM.

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    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond.



    Quote Originally Posted by J08M3 View Post
    I own a construction company so maybe I can help you.

    1. Thermal imaging cameras are very accurate. It really depends on what they found with the camera. Big cold spots can mean missing insulation. If you used a fiberglass batt insulation it is typical to have cold spots as it doesn't 100% seal the cavity it's filling. You need more info from the inspector. They should be able to provide you with jpg files to show you a pic of the spot. Also those cameras can be adjusted for how sensitive they are. What is the temperature difference between "normal" and "cold spots"?
    .
    yes, He gave images. I will grab them off my other computer


    Quote Originally Posted by J08M3 View Post
    2. I'm guessing your floors haven't been insulated. It's not necessary to insulate floors (Always, depends which floor and local codes). Where we build sound insulation is put everywhere without question. It's considered normal. However many places in the country this is considered extra.
    there is insulation under the subfloors. and some sort of liner that went down before the wood flooring. they did leave the wood in the house for a few days before installing. its straight, flat,looks good, but is REALLY loud to walk on. Considering that I couldve bought a used car for the same money...I'm just not happy

    Quote Originally Posted by J08M3 View Post
    3. Bulging floors - can you post a pic? I'm not sure what you mean. Are they cupping meaning the the edges are higher than the middle? If so, it could be the wood wasn't properly acclimated before install. Solid wood needs to sit in the house for approx 2 weeks before install and the moisture content needs to be checked first. Otherwise the wood can "move" quite a bit once installed. Keep in mind that wood does move, it is natural. Make sure you don't have humidity problems in the house.
    The buldging is under carpet going down the hallway. I WANT to add wood down that hallway but it would be impossible with the subfloor being so uneven.

    They had to shave joists(sp?) that had bowed or were uneven.

    I snapped a picture when they cut open the floor. Will post shortly


    Quote Originally Posted by J08M3 View Post
    4. Drywall bulging. Was this a renovation or new construction? If this is the cases that you can see a bulge it most likely has to do with flaws in the framing. Again it is natural for wood to move so cracks are normal in new construction. But if you see a bulge or pieces of rock not lining up it would most likely be uneven framing. Probably means they rushed to build the wall rather than taking time to make sure every wall was straight. Unfortunately most conventional wood for framing is not that good these days, it's new growth material and who knows what kind of conditions it was left in at the supply yard. Also, there seems to be a lot of variance in the size of each piece so this can lead to headaches when trying to build a perfectly straight wall. Lots of times if budget allows, or in critical areas (i.e. door frames or kitchens) we used an engineered wood which stays perfectly straight it's much more expensive. Some other builders will come back a few weeks later and plane the wood walls so they all are perfectly straight, but this is very expensive.
    New construction. I can understand every scenario that you posted and wouldve been "OK" had they used any of those explanations...but the "lights are just playing tricks on you" excuse was beyond unprofessional.

    I can live with that untill things "settle" and had drywall people come in and smooth things out...but jeez! LoL!!
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    Justin D's Avatar
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    I couldn't agree more with the "lights are playing tricks on you" excuse. That's a poor one.

    Bulging floors under the carpet? hmmm... this sounds a little suspect to me, as even the floor joists (Which may not be perfectly straight) shouldn't cause an issue bad enough that you can see. I'll have to see what you got in your picture.

    Can you be more specific on loud to walk on? You said it's not a squeaking noise right? How did they install the flooring, blind nail? Meaning you don't see the nails?

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    I'm sorry for the headache with your new home. I'd be a little chapped too if I couldn't get straight answers from the person I entrusted with such a task. I realize that running a business of any sort is very demanding and time consuming but here it seems like the owner is not very sympathetic or concerned about your situation. Hope all of this sorts itself out before having to lawyer up.

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    Thanks...I really dont want to deal with lawyers either. I just want to enjoy my home

    The other day (week after the last floor repair) a guest came over and their little kid cut her knee pretty good on a nail head that has now worked itself up a quarter inch. I offered to pay for the hospital visit but havent heard from them. It was my first time meeting them ....they're prolly thinking about sueing me now....
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    floor buldges all the way down the hall now...like its moving LoL!!
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    It's tough to see anything from those pics or really understand the report without being able to walk through the house. But it appears as if there was a load point in the house that wasn't supported properly. It seems like that area of the house might be sagging a bit? If that is the case, then it appears they have been attempting to fix the symptoms rather than the cause of your problem. What is underneath that part of the floor?
    Last edited by Justin D; 04-02-2011 at 02:51 PM.

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    yes, it feels like its sagging in tha area in the hallway. Directly below the hallway is where the drywall seams are buldging out...about 12-15ft and several cracks on the basement ceiling.

    EVERYONE who walks down the hallway asks why its "lumpy" or "uneven". It feels bad...looks great in pics tho


    the good thing is that I actually had a message from them on my recorder when I got home from work on Friday. I hope they stand by their work....
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    settlement issues will arise within 1 year of a house being constructed.
    the contractor should come back in 12 months to fix drywall cracks.

    wood will shrink in a house when you stick heat and ac in it. 1 year the settlement should be done.

    cold spats usually arise from improper insulation in the wall or missing insulation.

    the cure is to cut out the drywall and reinsulate to fix it.

    the floor should not buckle like you say.

    symptoms could be due to improper design and load points could cause buckling like that.

    a structural engineer would be able to tell if the house was improperly designed or built.

    consult with one to see if you are right or the contractor is correct.

    his excuses are bull. a floor should not do that.

    squeeking floors are due to the nails. but this should not happen if installed properly, you may get one here and there but not everywhere. this is just a guess on my part

    have a flooring guy come out and see what they think. a 3rd party would be the best bet at this point, pay them to give you their thoughts, a cheap expense to pay to ensure you are going about this the right way, and to come up with solutions.

    the acclimation is true about sitting in a house for a couple of weeks, if not a month before you install.

    also not putting the posts below the frost line on the deck is not the right way to do a deck, just putting pads is not a correct way to set posts, this will cause issues down the road.

    i suggest digging a hole and setting the bottom of the post below the frost line and setting in concrete. 48" is a good way to sink below the surface of the soil.
    Last edited by handym3000; 08-02-2011 at 03:23 PM.

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