Repairing Where Builders Cut Corners

Sometimes builders cut corners when they build homes or buildings. When they do that, I get called in to fix it when the inevitable problems begin.

At the end of last week myself and a co-worker got sent to a townhome to fix where the builder had cut corners. The town home had these 3 windows all next to each other with pieces of trim in between each window (this will be important in a minute).

It looks like a nice, normal townhome...

The townhome was just plain old built improperly. The builder didn’t use Tyvec®, which is what goes underneath siding. So picture this, if you’re going from the inside of a home to the out, this is the order of what should be happening: drywall, plastic (this is a vapor barrier), insulation, sheeting (4’x8′ sheets of plywood), Tyvec®, and then the seams of the Tyvec® must be taped up, and then comes the siding. If any part of that is missing, then there will be a mold problem and the house will just be trashed.

....but it's missing Tyvec! The horror, the horror!

This particular home leaks like crazy. You would think that siding would be enough protection from the rain, but it’s not. The Tyvec® and siding combination is what protects from the rain. When a builder cuts a corner like this, it usually goes unnoticed by the homeowner, until leaking or mold problems come up.

So we had to pull off all of the siding on the home from the 2nd story up to the roof line, put up the Tyvec®, tape up the Tyvec® seams, and put the siding back on the townhome. And then after that we had to re-do the trim around those 3 aforementioned windows, which completely sucks. I hate re-doing trim.

If you’re having a home built, drop by the site every so often so you can make sure that they’re putting up all the correct exterior wall components — it’s not a corner you want a builder to cut!

Have you ever been the victim of a builder cutting corners? Have any warm, fuzzy feelings about Tyvec® and siding that you’d like to share?


Repairing Where Builders Cut Corners — 22 Comments

  1. My brother in law just had a major problem with his roof. The builders didn’t put any flashing? (I think that’s the right word) around anything and my husband had to go fix it all.

  2. Wow, that’s pretty scary. You pay good money to have a home built and the builders don’t do the job properly. They should be held accountable for shoddy work. I’ve never had to deal with this, but friends of mine did. When they were building their home, the husband discovered that a beam was missing from the basement, and only because he is a civil engineer; otherwise they wouldn’t have known!
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  4. Our current home had lots of short cuts that we didn’t find out about until we had to replace or wanted to upgrade. Our sinks are all lacking a shut-off valve, so the pipes just go straight from the wall to the faucet. (I don’t know anything about construction so hopefully I’m making sense here!) Also, the drywall in the “finished basement” was just put up with no backing…so it’s just a hollow wall–totally cheap looking.
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  11. It seems like it’s always the waterproofing details where they cut the corners. Our first house was new construction, four-sided brick. And they didn’t bother with brick flashing. I’m talking about the stuff behind the brick at the base of the walls, over the doors and windows, etc.

    What a nightmare. They saved a tiny amount of money and jeopardized the entire structure. And there’s no real way to fix it after the fact short of tearing off the brick. Unfortunately, we didn’t discover this until after closing (naive new homebuyer + crappy inspector).

    The good news (for us) is that it’s someone else’s problem now.
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