Owning a beautiful new home is a dream of many hardworking people and one of the biggest accomplishments of several peoples’ lives. That dream can unfortunately be ruined by home water intrusion, an unseen force that ruins houses from the inside. Recently, The Inquirer reported on widespread damage found in Southeastern Pennsylvania homes built by 27 different building companies, including the PA-based construction company Toll Brothers. It’s imperative that homeowners are aware of the destruction that this damage can cause and what they should do if they’ve been affected.
The Areas Affected by Home Water Intrusion
In the early 2000s, several homes were built in Southeastern PA. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, half of the over 90,000 building permits issued for single-family houses since 2001 were issued before the 2008 housing crisis. The building boom at the beginning of the century led to fast construction and lax standards. This has left several of those who purchased the homes during the high demand era with structurally flawed homes and financial difficulties.
Several parts of Pennsylvania have been impacted by this epidemic, stemming from the frequent precipitation in the southeastern region of the state. A Bucks County building diagnostics company says they’ve inspected over 2,000 homes for water damage in just the past five years. The Inquirer reported that over 650 homeowners in 55 zip codes needed repairs clocking in at 5 to 6 figures in expenses. Counties affected include Chester, Bucks, Philadelphia, Montgomery, New Castle, and Delaware.
As the Philadelphia area is experiencing another rise in real estate sales, new and renovated homes of this decade may also be at risk. Rushed and sloppy workmanship combined with disregard and apathy of home builders is a recipe for even more devastated homeowners to come.
Home Water Intrusion: Cause and Effect
Home water intrusion is a silent and invisible cause of immense damage. Experts report that up to 90% of cases are not visible from the outside. The problems begin as soon as construction is completed, and the keys are handed over to the homeowners.
A home becomes susceptible to water intrusion if the siding is built improperly or created using ineffective materials. Instead of keeping water out, the moisture seeps in and turns the siding into a water-logged mess that cannot air out enough in order to become dry again. So, the moisture just sits and creates problems like mold, compromised structure, insect infestations, and dangerous health hazards.
Lawsuits and Settlements
Since shoddy workmanship, poor planning, and cheap materials are usually the root cause of home water intrusion, many affected homeowners have brought lawsuits against building companies responsible for the subsequent damages. Several homeowners have claimed they were never given a warning about the possible water damages their homes were vulnerable to, despite some builders being aware of the problems that could occur. Unfortunately, in many cases, homeowners file claims too late, oftentimes missing mandated deadlines by very small margins. This has caused many judges to side with building companies, leaving those affected to pay out of pocket for repairs and unable to hold building companies accountable. These costs can be astronomical, especially for people trying to raise families, move towns, begin retirement, and pay for college tuition. Some homeowners have had to take out loans and/or use their savings in order to pay not just for the repairs, but also for legal fees that can rack up to several hundred thousand.
Lawsuits have been brought against Toll Brothers, AGA Developers, Guidi Homes, The David Cutler Group, PulteGroup, and over 20 other building companies. Several homeowners have had immense difficulty receiving compensation due to companies denying liability and passing responsibility off to subcontractors, producers of building materials, and ineffective building codes of the time.
The Security and Exchanges commission have gotten involved as well as the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. Their investigations and suits aim to tackle this problem that has impacted the state at a rampant rate. Millions of dollars are set aside by these building companies in order to pay warranty claims for those who are able to receive a payout. Unfortunately, several homeowners that have been impacted signed away their ability to sue their building company when they purchased the home, leaving them to be forced into mandatory arbitration, a private process. If a builder settles out of court, they typically have the homeowner sign a confidentiality agreement, making the discourse even more private.
Affected by Home Water Intrusion? Call the Experts at Stucco Today
If you have been affected by this crisis, Stucco Today will repair the damage done to your property by home water intrusion. We offer stucco remediation and repair, as well as thorolastic coatings to ensure your home is protected from the elements for years to come. We can work with you through our financing options to help ease the economic burden of repairs. Our services are backed by a 5-year warranty, so your continued satisfaction is our guarantee. We have decades of experience and our testimonials speak for themselves. Don’t hesitate—contact us today.