Home>Discussions>EXTERIORS>Gallons of Water Coming in 6 Downstairs Windows in 6 Year Old Houe - Help!
9 posts / 0 new
Last post
mzimm
Gallons of Water Coming in 6 Downstairs Windows in 6 Year Old Houe - Help!
mzimm

I am a first time homebuyer and we bought a five year old house in Ohio. The inspection was clean and it looked like a great buy. Little did we know that in six months we would have gallons of water leaking into the downstairs windows! The front of the house is brick and I initially thought the leaking was from poor sealing outside the windows. I sealed them but the following year I again had gallons of water come in. Add on some black mold and the whole situation is a nightmare especially since we have a baby on the way. The general consensus is that brick is porous and after a long rain the water goes through the brick and runs down the back of it and hits the top of the windows (from the back of the brick where it touches the Tyvek). I have been told that the water comes in through the top of the windows (above the frame and even inside the Tyvek) because they are flashed incorrectly... I figure I can have someone remove several bricks around each window and re-flash them but it will never match. Or I could spend $24 grand on an entire new brick front which I don't have! Please help because I am in desperate need of advice!

[you will have to add each line to your browser url because the system will not let me post full links until I have 10 posts]

Images:
img94.imageshack.us/img94/6849/img0566jh.jpg
img560.imageshack.us/img560/1176/img0565qu.jpg
img685.imageshack.us/img685/5813/img0564jq.jpg
img64.imageshack.us/img64/7405/img0561tl.jpg

Video:
youtube.com/watch?v=Bx_Klt3F0Fo
youtube.com/watch?v=vZTFKgliGC0

Re: Gallons of Water Coming in 6 Downstairs Windows in 6 Year Old Houe - Help!

Not even going to get into how to correct your problem.

You first need to contact an attorney and find out what the housing merchant implied warranty laws are in your state.

Also, this isn't something that happened over night. The previous owners had knowledge of this serious defect and should have disclosed it.

Your attorney is your first call.

Good luck

mzimm
Re: Gallons of Water Coming in 6 Downstairs Windows in 6 Year Old Houe - Help!
mzimm
LIHR wrote:

Not even going to get into how to correct your problem.

You first need to contact an attorney and find out what the housing merchant implied warranty laws are in your state.

Also, this isn't something that happened over night. The previous owners had knowledge of this serious defect and should have disclosed it.

Your attorney is your first call.

Good luck

Interestingly enough, I am an attorney.

I can't go after the builder (who was the contractor for the brick/windows) because he was an LLC and declared bankruptcy a few years ago. No dice on that one.

I could try to sue the former owners but the leaking may not have begun to occur in such a quantity until I moved in because other homeowners in my neighborhood with the same builder complained about leaking water in their windows starting last summer. Proving knowledge and intent to hide a defect is difficult. Not saying it cannot be done, but the rest of the facts are that it was a messy divorce. The wife has nothing and the husband lives out of state so trying to actually get anything from him would be hard.

Anyway... I do appreciate the advice but I need to know what to do if any legal options are unavailable.

Cougars1996
Re: Gallons of Water Coming in 6 Downstairs Windows in 6 Year Old Houe - Help!
Cougars1996

I am not sure of exactly what you would do to fix the problem, but I am going to make a suggestion that is really terrible visually (and hopefully you don't have a picky homeowners association). I think you have to cover the front of the house, and soon. You need to get that area of the house isolated from any water so you can begin the process of drying out the inside and either preventing mold growth or starting the removal of moldy materials. This has to be step #1 to protect the health of the family.

After that, in addition to finding some technical expertise to evaluate the repair options, you have to consider the other parts of the house. From the video, I get the impression that this is the front side of the house. What about rain on the other sides or rear? Is the same problem apparent? Is it minimal but is there still water getting in behind the brick in
quantities substantial enough to cause problems? These are questions you need to answer.

GOOD LUCK!!

P.S. I am not a lawyer, but doesn't Title Insurance cover things such as a home being constructed to current codes, etc. ? I find it hard to believe that this home is code-compliant, at least to the extent of modern house wrap and flashing practices.

mzimm
Re: Gallons of Water Coming in 6 Downstairs Windows in 6 Year Old Houe - Help!
mzimm

@Cougars1996

That is some good advice. There is no leaking on the back or sides of the house because it is all siding.

I need to research the tip about title insurance. I really don't know if it covers whether the house is to code or not. That is a really, really, good question.

Brookworld
Re: Gallons of Water Coming in 6 Downstairs Windows in 6 Year Old Houe - Help!
Brookworld
Cougars1996 wrote:

P.S. I am not a lawyer, but doesn't Title Insurance cover things such as a home being constructed to current codes, etc. ? I find it hard to believe that this home is code-compliant, at least to the extent of modern house wrap and flashing practices.

Sorry this is happening to you . . . I have a less severe problem and the fix is "only $3,000" to replace a triple window.

First, I'm not a real estate expert, but do look at your Title Policy for the "special coverages." I will say you have a zero to 1% chance of finding coverage, since what you need is basically Warranty Insurance.

The other point, although it doesn't really apply to you as your house is recently built, is something that most Homeowners Insurance don't cover unless added -- "Increased Cost of Construction". Basically, with an older house, the insurance company will only pay to replace what you had, so if something built in 1970 needs to be rebuilt after damage to 2000 code, they pay only what it takes to rebuild to 1970 (you pay for the "increased cost of construction" attributable to the new code --- this is particular true for earthquake, stronger roof, energy/insulation, specific materials by new code, etc. The premium is about 10% more so buy it, plus buy it for "replacement cost." Most quality insurance companies sell it as a package or require you to afirmatively decline it, but don't go cheap and decline it.

I have some experience with neighbors and my own experience on these "undisclosed defects" and the PRACTICABLE lack of remedies. California may be bankrupt, but they have the better set of consumer/buyer protection laws -- it is a "disclosure" state which has typically a 20 page set of questions for the seller to affirm -- this also causes many Seller RE Agents to require seller home, roof and pest inspections (3 separate ones, I know, I wrote 3 checks totaling $900 to SELL a house). The Buyer does the same thing; very costly but helps prevent kicking the problem bucket to the next BUYER. My neighbor bought their house "as is" which still obligates the Seller to disclose problems; the Seller, a RE Agent with investment properties, concealed the leaky roof and the BUYER after the first winter didn't have the money or motivation to pursue a claim. As an attorney, you know it will probably take $1,000 (5 hours @ $200/hour) to research and prepare a written complaint, and the SELLER would perjure herself and maintain "lack of knowledge" or "no notice" as a defense.
In Virginia where I am now residing, it's basically caveat emptor and no wonder it's a red state.

Again, sorry to hear this, and this is the insidous side of home purchasing and ownership. If the house was built in boom times, there were hacks in the building trade. In Florida, you have "Chinese Drywall" and years ago, I had chemically treated wood that slowly burned in summer heat.

dj1
Re: Gallons of Water Coming in 6 Downstairs Windows in 6 Year Old Houe - Help!
dj1

Your first priority should be fixing the problem now (mitigate future damages). When you fix the problem, get an expert's assessment of the source of the problem and whether it is a new problem or an old problem.

If it is a new problem which started after you bought the house, you can't go after anyone.

If it was an old problem, how did the inspector miss it? How did you miss it when you were house shopping?

Under some conditions, you may be able to go after the seller, the broker and the inspector.

As brookworld explained, we have a bunch of laws dealing with issues like this. I'm sure OHIO has laws too. Do some research and find out your rights.

jpsmithny
Re: Gallons of Water Coming in 6 Downstairs Windows in 6 Year Old Houe - Help!
jpsmithny

Ok,

Looking at at the pics, is it possible that water is actually coming in only at the bottom of the upper windows?

Since the brick is only a facade, it would stand proud of the rest of the structure i.e. there's space behind the brick.

So water hits the sill of the upper windows, some leaks in and wets the upstairs carpets,but much more gathers behind the brick and over the lower window and leaks into the downstairs.

I only say because I had this same thing happen but on a smaller scale in a former residence.

When it rained, the gutters overflowed and water would hit that sill like a torrent. When I finally got around to opening the wall after fixing the gutters, a small waterfall came out.

Might be you need to get someone in to at least open the wall to have a look. From the inside I mean.

I'm assuming you have sheetrock walls.

Re: Gallons of Water Coming in 6 Downstairs Windows in 6 Year Old Houe - Help!

You're at a crossroads.

You either research the local area for a contractor that fully understands what a drainage-plane is, window/door flashing and how to put it all together behind a brick wall, and pay their price, or go with the cheapest guy that comes up with a "sounds good to me" solution and get screwed again.

You're in a bad situation and it's going to be an expensive fix to do it correctly.

Personally, If I planned to live there for years to come, I'd rip the brick off the house and any other siding, and get down to ground zero.

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.