As I learn more about the issues homeowners are having with construction defects, there is one problem that rises above all others. That?s water in your house where you don?t want it.
It could be a water leak in your roof, siding, windows, foundation, plumbing or air conditioning system. It could be caused by poor drainage or a foundation that has not been correctly engineered or built to meet the soil conditions under or around the house. It is a common occurrence for the drain to plug up on air conditioning systems.
If you see water or signs of moisture in your house it is extremely important to stop the source of the leak and clean it up as soon as possible.
I say this because the longer your home is wet, the more likely you will have long term damage. Mold, mildew or dry rot have a tougher time taking hold when things are cleaned up and dried out quickly. Some people have serious health issues because of this. Some are fortunate not to. Everyone will have a problem when they go to sell their house.
Here?s an example of water intrusion. The backyard of our house slopes up and away from the house. In heavy rains over a few days we used to be in danger of having water come in the back of the house. Leaves and debris would catch on our fence at the sides of the house and form a dam. Then it was just a matter of time whether or not enough rain would fall.
It leaked in three times before I completely (I hope) solved the problem by putting in an extensive French drain and re-sloping the backyard to force water around the sides. I also put in a brick patio so that I could monitor the debris better and keep it cleaner around the back of the house. I also raised the fence so that there was more space under it.
I was fortunate each time that it started to come in because I caught it within minutes of starting.
First step was to make sure the dam disappeared.
Second step was to pull back the carpets, remove the wet carpet, mop up the water and use a bleach solution on the concrete slab to disinfect and kill anything that could grow.
When carpets have a pad under them, tack strips are used around the edges. Take a pair of pliers and go to a corner, grab the carpet and pull it up. Try to be careful but if it tears don?t worry, the carpet installer who will put things back together can re-seam it. Then work your way along the walls. It is easier to grab the carpet and pull with the pliers.
In areas where the carpet changes to another type of flooring there is usually a z bar. This is a piece of metal under the carpet with a fold of the carpet tucked under it. The metal is completely hidden. Kneel down on the floor facing the carpet area. Take a flat bladed screwdriver or a small crowbar and force it under the edge of the carpet, using a hammer if you have to, and lift up a little more than the thickness of the carpet. Work your way from one side to the other. Then gradually keep lifting that edge until there is enough room to free the carpet. I can do a three-four foot section in less than ten minutes. Sometimes there is a visible piece of wood or metal that overlaps the carpet and the other flooring. It may be screwed or nailed down. Unscrew it or pry it up. If it is damaged it can be replaced with another piece or something else that looks acceptable.
For the third step I supported the carpet up in the air about a foot, like a tent, using trash can s and empty boxes. Then I directed fans under the carpet to speed drying. I was able to do this much within an hour or so of the water first coming into the house. Don?t wait until the next day. Do it immediately. If you can?t do it call a company that can or get some friends or neighbors to help.
Finally when it was dry it could be put back together. At one point when we replaced the carpet due to wear I used a different kind of carpet pad that had a layer of vinyl on the top side. That was a good move because it leaked again after that and that vinyl kept virtually all of the carpet dry.
Someday when I sell the house I will disclose the problems I had to the buyer and the steps I took to resolve the problem.
If you think that the damage was a construction defect because of someone else?s action, contact an attorney so that you can take the proper steps. Make sure you document everything that happens. That means writing it down and taking pictures.