If your home is suffering from leaky windows, soggy walls, mold growth, or missing waterproofing—you may be the victim of a construction defect.
Unlike typical deterioration, such as fading paint or storm damage, you can trace construction defects back to shoddy building techniques. These errors can manifest years after your home was erected, and they cause frustrating damage that puts the safety of your home and family in jeopardy.
Learn more about what constitutes a construction defect below, and discover the steps you should follow to seek repairs from a professional contractor.
What Is a Construction Defect?
Construction defects are building mistakes and design flaws that occur during the construction process. These errors are typically caused when a contractor is rushed to meet a deadline or uses sub-par materials to keep the project within the homeowner’s budget.
Unfortunately, construction defects are common in the Portland area. During the construction boom over the past decade, many contractors failed to adhere to building codes, follow manufacturer guidelines, and use high-quality materials.
The result? Many Portland homes have suffered from moisture intrusion and structural damage that have reduced the resale value and, in some cases, made the homes dangerous to occupy.
Common Signs of Construction Defects
There are two types of construction defects—patent defects and latent defects.
Patent defects are apparent when the building is inspected, so they are usually fixed before the homeowner occupies it. On the other hand, latent defects are concealed, so they may not manifest until years after construction. When you notice a construction defect, chances are, you are observing a latent defect.
If your home has a latent construction defect, you may notice one or more of the following:
- Leaky windows and doors
- Improper siding installation
- Poor roofing installation
- Dry rot, mold, and mildew
- Foundation issues
- Missing weatherproofing or flashing
- Damp drywall or window sills
Sources of Construction Defects
Construction defects are caused by your home builder’s negligence, but there are three reasons the error may have occurred: poor workmanship, design oversight, or inferior materials used during construction.
Here’s an example of each:
Workmanship defects describe the contractor’s failure to build a home component per the building code or manufacturer’s guidelines. These errors can also occur when the building crew cuts corners to save time. For example, an improperly installed weatherproofing system or lack of flashing installation are both examples of workmanship defects.
Design defects occur when the home’s designer fails to present an accurate set of construction documents to the building crew. This oversight can result in an entire building component, like a roofing system, being installed incorrectly. In this instance, the homeowner’s roof may experience poor drainage, water penetration, and inadequate structural support.
Material defects occur when a contractor uses inferior products to complete a construction project. These types of mistakes are common when the contractor discovers low-quality materials can help them meet a tight deadline or stay within the homeowner’s budget. For example, if you notice your dual-pane windows are clouded between the glass, this may be from a materials defect. If the contractor had used a reputable window brand, this problem likely wouldn’t have occurred.
What to Do If You Notice a Construction Defect
Whether your construction defect is due to poor workmanship or sub-par materials, it’s vital to repair the mistake as soon as possible to keep your home and family safe.
Follow these steps if you notice a construction defect:
Notify Your Old Contractor
Although you may be frustrated with your contractor, it’s important to notify them of the construction defect. They may be willing to fix the mistake, and in some states, there are laws in place that allow them the chance for remediation before alternative steps are taken.
If your contractor does not fix the defect, you need to find someone who will. You’ll need to use a new contractor for future repairs moving forward anyway, so this is a great time to establish a relationship with a reputable company.
If you plan to take legal action against your old contractor, consult with an attorney. This process is often costly, and it may postpone your exterior repairs for months. Whether you pursue legal action or not, it’s always wise to have a lawyer review your construction contract to confirm your next steps will not breach the agreement.
Next, look through your warranty information to see if the defect is covered. Did your contractor offer a labor warranty? Did the defective product come with a warranty?
If you have valid warranties, review the process for filing a claim, and complete the process as soon as possible. However, if several areas of your home are suffering from defects, filing multiple claims may result in more frustration than worthwhile results.
Hire a New Contractor
At this point, hiring an expert contractor to repair the damage to your home is the best course of action.
During the construction defect remediation process, you can expect a professional contractor to:
- Complete a thorough assessment of the damage
- Check for hidden damage
- Follow a detailed scope of repairs created by an architect
- Oversee the quality of construction with an on-site project manager
- Use superior building materials
- Adhere to correct installation techniques
Count on Portland’s Leader in Construction Defect Repairs to Restore Your Home
You deserve to work with a contractor who uses durable materials, follows manufacturer guidelines, and takes their time to build a home that’s sturdy, safe, and beautiful.
We’ve helped hundreds of Portland homeowners protect their most significant investment with expert construction defect repairs. Learn more about how our construction defect repair services can restore your peace of mind about your home.