Bryan J. Smith, P.E., / Residential Safety Expert ::::
Case Description/Summary: A home constructed in 2002 began showing signs of water infiltration, water damage and mold growth six months later. The home builder took minor actions to correct the leaks, to no avail, and then voided the home warranty. Plaintiff hired an expert to inspect the home in order to identify the cause(s) of the infiltration and identify measures to fix the various problems.
Expert Analysis: A site inspection was conducted by the expert, which discovered many gaps and voids in the above ceiling insulation, missing under-roof deck baffles, improperly installed roofing shingles and inadequate gutter drainage. The gaps and voids in the ceiling insulation allowed cold air in winter to contact the backside of the sheetrock ceilings. This allowed condensation to build up on the ceilings in the master bedroom, the master bathroom and the breakfast nook. The condensation damaged the taped/spackled joints in the sheetrock and allowed the propagation of mold in those areas. The improperly installed roof shingles also allowed water to infiltrate into these same rooms during rain events. The missing deck baffles allowed the formation of ice-damming at those locations and more water infiltration through the building envelope. The inadequate gutter drainage allowed roof runoff to splash onto the adjacent brick facing, which then froze and cracked the masonry. The masonry cracks allowed even more water infiltration at that location, causing sheetrock damage and mold growth on the interior surfaces there. A repair cost estimate was prepared and included with the inspection report.
Result: The plaintiff accepted a settlement offer from the home builder, in an amount sufficient to enact all repairs.
Bryan J. Smith, P.E., is a Commercial / Residential Safety Expert with DJS Associates, and can be reached by email at experts@forensicDJS.com or by phone at 215-659-2010.