New build or new construction homes are an ideal choice of home for their modern layouts, customization, and most of all peace of mind. The primary reason most home buyers choose a newer home is for the peace of mind that there are fewer and less costly home repairs and maintenance required than older homes. However, we have encountered consistent issues of water damage home exteriors within developments communities across Ohio. Specifically we have found frequent water damage around windows, entry doors, roofing and siding. If you’ve recently purchased a newer home, or are in the market for one, we advise you to learn more about the potential issues affecting new construction homes and why they occur.
Common causes of water damage in developments
There are three sources of construction defects which affect exterior water damage.
1. Design Flaw
Design flaws can derive from poorly communicated architectural details. Installers often rely on diagrams of trim details to properly flash in install elements such as roofing, siding, trim, windows and doors. Though these elements require licensing to install and inspections, poor communication can lead to water infiltration.
The second common method of design flaws leading to water infiltration is an improper design of the building envelope. The most frequent example of this is weather resistant barrier or “WRB”. Properly installed and manufactured vinyl siding is considered to be a water-shedding barrier. This means that it is meant to displace the majority of the water that hits it, but is not designed to keep all water off the substrate. There is still need of a weather resistant barrier beneath vinyl siding. Vinyl siding manufacturers state that WRB is a necessary element to the building envelope, but these design specifications, are sometimes not included in the design details. Symptoms of missing WRB are often hard to detect until there is rot or structural failure. A simple inspection behind vinyl siding will show if WRB is present.
2. Inadequate Material Selection
Inadequate material selection has been a major culprit in all developments and is especially disturbing in higher end neighborhoods. Cutting costs on extravagant looking exterior trim details has created many headaches for developers and homeowners. MDF – medium density fiberboard and MDO – medium density overlay are very inexpensive and have a common reputation of absorbing water, swelling and falling apart after a few years. Some of this may be due to inadequate care and maintenance, but given the track record and composition it is wise to be wary of any home with MDF or MDO trim packages. A simple test of pressing the surface with a screwdriver will show if failure has occurred. Most of the houses that this product is used on have either flashing issues or lack of WRB that lead to structural damage and rot. If there is questionable product, have it remedied immediately. Replacing rotted sheathing and framing increases costs tremendously.
3. Installation Error
Installation errors are becoming more and more common as the labor crunch starts hitting the construction industry. Crews have less time and more challenges recruiting talent which leads to rush jobs that can lead to leaks and water issues. A skilled eye is required to inspect and find if installation is a contributing factor to water infiltration.
If you’re in the process of buying a new home, we recommend having the windows, entry doors, roofing, and siding inspected carefully to ensure home buyers get the most value and security from their new home.