Defects in New Homes

Foundations

Foundation problems are by far some of the most common and most expensive to resolve. Unusual settlement of a foundation can cause problems ranging from doors and windows sticking to cracks in tile, brick, flooring, and more.

Settling and active soils. Homebuilders and warranty companies use this as their first line of defense claiming the home is built on active soil and they cannot be responsible for the damage. Foundations move not because of the soils, but instead because of the lack of preparation of the soil or a defective foundation.

  • Cracked slab. This causes cracks to other items in the house, tile, walls, windows, etc.
  • Inadequate Draining. Water does not drain away from foundation. Many times the builder will install French drains to solve a foundation problem claiming the water was not draining properly. This is a reactive repair instead of a preventative measure.
  • Consequential damage. Damage done to the home caused by a failed foundation including tile, interior walls, etc.
  • Wet foundations. Leaks water under the flooring causing wet carpets, wet grout, mould
  • Foundation chipping. The concrete of the foundation can be chipped off usually causing buckling of floor coverings and water intrusion.
  • Built not according to specifications. Home is built without a brick ledge
  • Non-engineered foundations. Foundation design does not have an engineering approval causing a multitude of problems.
  • Ground not prepared correctly. Soil not compacted. Soil not fit for foundations.

Other Concrete

This includes defects in other concrete areas. Usually the warranties will not address the defects unless they are found within the first year and the cracks are 1/4” wide causing very unsightly appearance.

  •  Cracks in sidewalk and driveway. Cracks that exceed hairline and continue to grow.
  • Sagging driveway and sidewalk. Driveway sections sag.
  • Angle of driveway too steep. Driveway entrance is too steep causing cars to scrape.
  • Cracks in garage floor. Exceeding hairline width and continue to grow.
  • Cracks continuing to grow. Small cracks continue to grow in width and length.

Structural

This includes all non-foundations defects.

  • Upper floor is slanted. Causes a vertigo effect.
  • Upper floor sags. Not supported correctly.
  • Wall buckles. Stress from above.
  • Exterior wall moves. Actually will move if pushed. Brick walls also.
  • Roof not supported. Roof sags.
  • Rafters too far apart. Roof not supported correctly.
  • Lumber size too small in the roof. Could cause sagging.

Tile, Carpet, Flooring

This includes carpets, vinyl, hardwood floors and tile. Most of these defects are not covered in the warranty past the first year.

  • Hardwood floor buckles. Due to a number of reasons such as water, or bad wood.
  • Hardwood floors rot. Water from under the foundation or exterior.
  • Hardwood floors discolors. Reasons unknown.
  • Carpet is wet. Water from under the foundation or exterior.
  • Carpet seams noticeable. Carpet seams should not be seen.
  • Carpet discolors. Color fades
  • Tile cracks. Hairline to larger.
  • Tile comes loose. Grout does not hold tile to the floor
  • Tile grout is wet. From water under the foundation or from exterior.
  • Vinyl bubbles. Unknown cause

Exterior

Includes exterior bricks, synthetic stucco, vinyl and siding. Many of the warranties include little if any protection for these items. Cracks in the exterior walls usually have to be 1/8” to 1/4” of an inch wide before it is considered a defect. Usually cracks are covered for only 1 year. The fact that it may be caused by a faulty foundation does not come into consideration.

  • Bricks crack. Cracks seen in the exterior bricks could be a sign of foundation movement
  • Weep holes plugged. Does not allow water to escape from the walls.
  • Bricks fall off the home. Due to foundation movement or grout.
  • Grout is coming apart. Due to incorrect mixture.
  • Siding installed incorrectly. Not to specification. Voids the warranty.
  • Siding inadequately caulked. Voids warranty. Leaks into the home.

Interior

Many of these are caused by other more serious defects.

  • Wall separates from ceiling. Shifting foundation.
  • Walls are not plumb. Or out of square.
  • Trim separates. Separates from the wall.
  • Stair banisters move. Not secured correctly.
  • Stairs are too steep. Causing a tripping hazard.

Roof

Roofs built by a third party are usually guaranteed for 5-10 years. Roofs built on a new home are rarely guaranteed for more than 1 year.

  • Leaks. Leaks from the roof into the interior of the home for various reasons.
  • No flashing. Leaks into wall cavity.
  • No ventilation installed. Hot attics and premature deterioration of roof.
  • Incorrect support structure. Incorrect trusses.
  • Incorrect installation. Incorrect installation of roof causing multiple problems.
  • Tiles buckle. Waves in the roof.