Are costly dangers lurking in your home?
Many homeowners know the basics of taking care of their house’s interior, but what about places unseen?
Plenty of vulnerable material sits in between the painted walls and the exterior walls that keep a house safe. Construction defects, or flaws in a structure’s build or design, are sometimes the root cause for issues, such as water damage in a home’s wooden frame. According to John Chakeris of the Chakeris Law Firm on Daniel Island, it can take years for construction defects to be noticed.
“It’s typically between five and 10 years of age, usually the claims that we end up bringing for owners are typically latent defect claims,” said Chakeris. “So, an owner that purchases a house and has lived in the house for a year or two or three, typically, are not aware of the issues and problems that exist and manifest.”
The Chakeris Law Firm, a practice concerned primarily with defects in the construction of homes and condominiums, sees problems related to water intrusion the most. In many situations, long-term water damage is caused by improper flashing, or small pieces of material that are used to prevent water from entering a structure.
“What we more frequently find, and I would say overwhelmingly find, is for example that window would not be flashed properly and that water’s manifesting on the dry wall because of what’s going on in the wall cavity,” said the attorney.
As Chakeris demonstrated, water intrusion can cause a house’s wooden frame to rot and the nails in the lumber to rust. According to Chakeris, residents should always be on the lookout for water stains on drywall, rusting heads on visible nails, termites (as they’re attracted to moisture), and cupping floors (when the edges of a floorboard are higher than the middle). If something amiss is spotted, residents are encouraged to call their builder or another expert.
“An engineer may come out and look at it and look to see how the window’s flashed,” said Chakeris. “He might say ‘the window’s flashed perfectly, this is just a function of perhaps a break in the caulk at the window,’ and therefore this is a maintenance item.”
Because construction defect issues can take years to become visible, some homeowners are out of their warranty when they notice a problem. By far and away, the most frequent problem the Chakeris Law Firm sees is improper window flashing.
“That condition of the mis-lap at the windows is unfortunately incredibly common, and so easily preventable—and to the point that it’s so easily preventable that it doesn’t cost a builder or a subcontractor any more money to do it right,” Chakeris clarified. “It’s just not doing it right and not having proper supervision to make sure they catch those errors during construction.”
In the past year, the Parkside Condos on Blakeway Street underwent a refurbishment because of structural damage that had been with the townhomes since their construction. The $4 million project was in response to water intrusion and termite damage, echoing Chakeris’ comments. “Ultimately, we completed repairs that included the removal of siding, removal of the roofs, removal and replacement of the windows; a variety of different work that went into everything,” Paul Kennedy of Kennedy Richter Construction told The Daniel Island News at the time.
WANT MORE INFORMATION?
Friday, June 21 10:30 to 11:30 am Daniel Island Library
This program is part of the Daniel Island Library’s Island Enrichment Series, presented by Kim Blank. Home ownership can be exciting and overwhelming – and living in a coastal community brings even more challenges for maintaining your home. Learn to spot the warning signs. Join construction defect attorney Amanda Blundy as she shares her annual maintenance items for homeowners and tricks of the trade that she’s gleaned from her work with respected forensic engineers. Free. Contact: (843) 471-2952.