Profile picture for wendytxn

Any help with local Austin builder who refuses to address deferred maintanence/quality issues?

We bought a new built home from a local Austin builder on 2/16/13.  We've come to find that its riddled with deferred maintenance/quality issues that the builder refuses to address...any help you might provide in alerting others would be helpful.  Ideally, we'd like to get things resolved...any way that you might assist?
  • December 25 2013 - Austin
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Answers (10)

Profile picture for blue screen exile
Even if one doesn't clean the drywall/joint compound sandings before priming, the majority of that dust has fallen to the floor, and what remains mixes with the paint and still bonds to the drywall paper, unless of course one coated the paper of the drywall with grease from cooking prior to painting, which seems highly unlikely.

The "all in one" paints bond just as well to the drywall as the primer would, and sufficiently seals the drywall, so that one gets a good installation.  Most all-in-one paints claim they cover in one coat (two is still recommended), and they typically have a "life time warranty" on the paint, if installed properly.  One common error is to water it down to put it through a paint sprayer.  The all-in-ones typically are thicker than normal paint and won't go through a sprayer without thinning.  If thinned, they won't bond properly and the warranty on the materials is voided.  For warranty replacement, the paint companies typically require a sample of the failed paint (a pealed piece....) to be sent for them to be analyzed in their lab.  They claim they can determine if it was installed properly and if it was in fact their paint, and the specific line of paint.  Of course most contractors choose to spay as it is substantially less labor.

Can you get the paint manufacturer's name and the specific product number from the contractor?  Perhaps mentioning a desire to do some touch-up?  If you have the name, you can contact the paint manufacturer for how you are to proceed with a warranty issue.  If they can document for you that the paint was installed "wrong", you then have leverage to work with the contractor.

As for the spa, do you have any photos to assist in determining the cause of the issues that you could post?  I have a suspicion that it is related to the catch basin, drainage system.  It is highly likely that either a pipe is broken or incorrectly glued in that system, OR that there is debris in the system causing the water to back up and over-flow.  It may require snaking out the system, or possibly vacuuming the debris in the drainage.  Do you have a slot-drain too, or only the catch basin?  Typically the slot drains are not sealed at the top, so could easily overflow.

  • December 26 2013
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Profile picture for SoCal Engr
Reading your posts, it's time to get a lawyer. Round up all your documentation (pictures, receipts for repair of defects, any statements other professionals doing repairs may have made, etc.) and go see a lawyer.

I'm not a huge fan of the "go viral mode" (too often, only one side of a disagreement is presented), but this also sounds like something you local "news on your side" consumer reporter would jump all over.
  • December 26 2013
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
There are some paints that don't require use of primer before painting.      How do you know the joint compound dust wasn't removed? 

Are your neighbors having similar problems?  Perhaps you could work together.
  • December 26 2013
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Profile picture for wendytxn
As for the spa/pool, we have it serviced every week since moving in by a reputable local company.   It does have a catch basin where the water recycles back through. The pool company is not sure what is causing the leak in the concrete below the spa area.  The spa has been drained twice (at our expense...we are in a drought and water is at a premium) and re-plastered due to detection of small holes.  Also had a reputable company test the valves and no leak there.  I'm sure this requires the expertise of an engineer and of course, it will most likely be at our expense as the builder (who also built the house and claims he knows how to build pools) will not stand behind it...like everything else.

As for the paint, they used a finish that has no texture.  We have come to learn that the dust from the joint compound used was not removed, nor was primer used before applying the paint.  This is why the paint is not adhering to the wall.  The only time it peels is when it's penetrated...moving a picture or switchplate or any other changes. 

Of course a one year warranty is standard but someone forgot to inform Keith Durio/JKD Builder.
  • December 26 2013
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Profile picture for blue screen exile


Notice that it is typical to provide a drainage channel adjacent to a "Zero Edge", so that when the water overflows when someone gets in or moves around, it does go down below the adjacent concrete, and is filtered and recycled.  If one wanted to pay extra water and chemical costs, it could be put down the sewer system, but that is probably not typical.  It might also be put down the storm drain system, but most local jurisdictions don't want pool chemicals being put in the run off water that goes to the ocean untreated.

I did not find the service and maintenance instructions on line.  You likely will need to contact the manufacturer's rep directly.

Yes, Zero edge pools and spas do require more maintenance on the part of the owner.  Maintenance is an owner responsibility, not the installer responsibility, regardless of any warranty.

Do you have a pool service company servicing your pool on a schedule, or are you doing it yourself?  What does the pool man say?
  • December 26 2013
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
"The biggest being that the interior wall paint was not prepped properly and is peeling off the wall." -

That is not making any sense at all; new construction is "drywall".  After the joint compound, the only "prep" is to use a drywall primer, and then paint.  It doesn't cost any less to use the wrong primer, and it would take more finish paint to cover the wall if one skipped the primer.  The only way I know for new paint to fall off new drywall is "too high humidity".  And if the humidity was that high for an extended period of time, something else is going on.

I don't see over-filling a hot-tub as being the contractor's issue either.  Did an authorized factory representative of the hot-tub manufacturer state that it was installed "wrong"?  Do you have that in writing?  Do you have a copy of the installation instructions?  Are those instructions available on line?

If it was the "show" model, you already knew it had excessive foot traffic before you decided to purchase.

I've never known a builder to NOT provide at least a one year warranty on materials and labor.  Some provide 5 year warranty on materials.

Something is not making any sense.

New homes are always going to have more problems then buying "used", as the used homes already settled, and any problems that would show up already did, and were likely already addressed.  A home is not an assembly line production product; they are each built separately, and people make mistakes and cut corners.  That is the nature of the product and the industry.  If you expected something else, you likely didn't do enough research before deciding to buy.
  • December 26 2013
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Profile picture for wendytxn
The house did sit empty for an extended period of time before we purchased.  We bought this as a spec home which was showcased for a local "Parade of Homes".  The VA who backed our mortgage, required a one year warranty.  The builder presented the document post closing.  After having an attorney look it over, it was advised for us not to sign as it was in the builders favor only.  Did I mention the name of the builder?  He's Keith Durio/JKD Builder here in Austin.  There also were manufacturer's warranties on items..unfortunately, because of incorrect installation on the builder, some of those warranties are voided. I hope no one else falls for his BS...
  • December 26 2013
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
I'm also baffled about "deferred maintenance"  if you bought "new".  As it was unoccupied and not being used until moving in after purchase, about the only deferred maintenance possible would be if the house sat empty for an extended period of time before purchase, and leaves had collected in rain gutters stopping them up, or similar.  And normally those items are all taken care of prior to final walk though, and the new owner typically signs off on those items, except as covered by the warranty.

As far as "quality"?  Unless one is specifically paying for an upgrade, and/or it is specifically written into the contract, what comes with "new" typically is the lowest cost items that meet the building codes.  If you wanted something different, you needed to make that clear in your purchase negotiations.

Yes, I've certainly seen some of what I would consider questionable quality in Austin, such as scrap wall studs that were just spliced together in Mexico.  That type of scrap lumber wouldn't meet the building codes in my area, nor is it sold in this area.

The builder should refuse to address anything that is not in their contract.  Anything that occurs after purchase is an owner maintenance item (unless covered by warranty), not a builder issue.

If there was a documentable breach of contract, or a blatant code violation, that is a different issue.
  • December 25 2013
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Profile picture for wendytxn
Our home is financed by the VA and requires a written warranty document.  We were never presented a document at closing...it was post closing.  The builder asked us to sign it but after review with a lawyer, it was advised that we not sign as it was solely in his favor.  After contacting the VA about the issues, they reached out to the builder and he told them that he wasn't going to do anything about the issues.  They will not approve any other loans on homes that he builds. His response to them was that he didn't care. Unfortunately they cannot levy legal action. They are clear that he is to provide a one year warranty...with or without a document.

The issues are many and are serious.  The biggest being that the interior wall paint was not prepped properly and is peeling off the wall.  Beside that, we have a pool/hot tub which has leaked from day one...it is a negative edge style and water is seeping through the concrete and easy to see.  Other items include improper installation which void manufacturer's warranty.

At the current time, the same builder is building another home on the lot next to ours.  We are planning on putting a sign in the front yard denoting our issues in hopes that realtors coming through the neighborhood will see. I also am going anywhere and everywhere I can to post these problems.

I would prefer to not engage a lawyer but may have to in the end.
  • December 25 2013
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Profile picture for SoCal Engr
In the new homes I've purchased, irrespective of type/size of builder, there has typically been a "new home warranty" against defects (e.g. improperly sealed windows, leaky roof, etc.). Part of the "turnover" on a new home is a list of vendors (depending on trade) for warranty work.

During the final walk-through, there should have been a punch list developed for identified "quality issues". This list, in my experience, requires builder concurrence, but is usually fairly quickly addressed by the builder (as they want to get the house behind them and move on).

I'm confused about "deferred maintenance", as a new home, almost by definition, would not have any "maintenance issues". Defects in workmanship//material should be covered by the previously mentioned warranty, and all installed equipment/appliances should, at a minimum, be under a manufacturer's warranty.

If there is disagreement between you and the builder as to what constitutes a "quality issue", you may be in for a more difficult time. If it is a small builder, I had success before by addressing the issue via the brokerage that marketed the houses (although, I had documentation of representations made during the sale process that the builder did not make good on).

What is the nature of the issues? This will, in all likelihood, affect any useful advice you get on these forums (outside of "I am not an attorney, but it sounds like you need to talk to one").
  • December 25 2013
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