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Question DetailsAsked on 5/22/2011

Is the siding contractor responsible after 1 year warranty expires?

My home in Wisconsin is only 3 years old. The builder gave me a 1 year warranty on the construction. The siding is now falling off and buckling very badly. The subcontractor who installed the siding it says the problem is the Built Rite sheeting used under the siding. The contractor (Overing Homes) assured before building, the sheeting was just as reliable as OSB material. They claim the siding manufacturer is to blame. Can anyone tell me if the contractor is responsible even after the 1 year warranty has passed? Does anyone have any legal resources I can contact about such a problem? Thanks for any help.

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3 Answers

0
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geeze! I typed out what I thought was good advice and didn't hit the send button.... duh![:$]

Presuming the siding is wood. Several brands have been recalled in recent years. If you know the maunfacturer's name, check out their website.

Sounds like your general contractor is passing the buck. You didn't sign a contract with subcontractors, did you? Unless another reader lives in WI and is familiar with WI law, we can only guess what recourse may be an option for you.. Have you contacted the WI state contractors board or AG to seek advice?

Answered 3 years ago by tessa89

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Votes

On the one hand you have a reasonable expectation, which anyone would have, that siding is going to last longer than 3 years, warranty or not. On the other hand, you are going to have to determine who is responsible and then probably sue them to get any money to fix the problem. Since several contractors are involved, this could be a total nightmare. I'd suggest getting a licensed home inspector, who will have no vested interest in passing the buck, to tell you what he thinks the underlying issue is.

Answered 3 years ago by Commonsense

0
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I think you hean BildRite Sheathing, not Built Rite ?

The prior two responses make good sense - I have one modification to suggest (point #2) and several points to make.

1) your contract was with the builder or general contractor, presumably not with the siding contractor - so your action needs to be with who your contract was with, not with subcontractors who had no contractual obligation to you. This is not to say the general contractor or his insurance company may not go after the sub - just that you generally have no recourse for poor workmanship or product against someone you had no contractual relationship with.

2) For something like this, I would NOT use a Home Inspector to assess the problem - they generally have little or no professional experienice or qualifications, so their word carries little or no weight in court. You need an architect or civil engineer experienced in siding issues to assess the situation, document it with photos and testing, and issue an unbiased report on the cause and estimated repair cost, and one who can convince your attorney that their experience and expertise will stand up to cross-examination in court as a witness. Likely cost about $350-500, plus deposition/witness time if it makes it to court.

3) Since you are beyond the warranty period, I would say you are spitting into the wind unless you have a contracts litigation attorney behind you on this, and even then you are possibly into a defective product rather than workmanship issue, so unless there is a class action suit you can join, your odds are not good. I would guess your attorney will say, unless there is a class action suit pending, that your best bet is a suit based on general merchantability of the house siding system, though your contract may have specifically cut that liability off at one year. I would suggest you get an attorney on board - if he contacts the builder, perhaps the builder will replace the siding (or siding and sheathing) with another product rather than risk a suit.

4) You did not say if there was house wrap under the siding - if not, google on the sheathing - there are a lot of reported issues with fiberboard sheathing when used directly under siding, as being a fiberboard rather than true wood product it is reputed to soften rapidly when wet, so fasteners in it do not hold well, and it starts to sag and buckle, causing siding deformation and collapse. I have seen a couple of instances where fiberboard sheathing was the considtency of wet newspaper because of this, and you could literally put your fits right through it and pull out big handfuls of mushy rot. My personal opinion - OSB was bad enough as a replacement for plywood and I have seen a LOT of performance problems with it, but I think using fiberboard in a house is just plain dumb. This harks back to the days when asphalt-coated fiberboard was the "in" product as backing for ceramic tile mudcoats - for the same application we use concrete backer board for today. That went out of the code after its terrible performance was demonstrated, and I predict fiberboard will go the same way.

Answered 9 months ago by LCD




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