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Old 04-10-2010, 04:57 PM   #1
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Serious Problems with a New House


I live in Philadelphia PA. My house was built in 08 by a developer. I bought the house in May of 09 and moved in in June. There were no problems when we first moved in...now we're drowning in them.

The house in a 3 story row house build where an old house was torn down. I'm not sure if a new foundation was put in or if this house was built on the old foundation.

In Decemeber, I began to notice the dry wall tape where the interior walls would meet the ceiling begin to crack and peel. At first I thought nothing of it as the changes were subtle and small. At the end of December we had a massive snow storm and our roof leaked over the third floor bath room. At the same time, there was clear water damage to a second floor wall. (My neighbors both have 2 story houses). The roof leak continued for months when roofer after roofer offered up different suggestions. Out of pocket, I had the roof resealed and some of the stucco patched.

In late Feb/March, the cracking had become even more extensive and the leak was continuing. I got in touch with the developer who came out with a dry wall construction guy and a roofer. The roofer finally came last week and resealed all my stack pipes and installed essentially what was missing flashing on 2 sides. The developer paid for this.

The roof leak seems to have stopped. However this cracking problem seems to only be getting worse. I suspect that there is something really wrong with the way the walls were constructed. I'm not noticing cracks on the second floor and the bathroom door and that floor is having a hard time shutting now. Also the caulking on the internal aspect of the windows of the 3rd floor are now all separated leaving cracks and spaces between the well and the window.

I've heard the term truss uplift alot and wonder if that's my problem. I have a flat rubber roof so I'm not sure if that applies.

These are pictures of my ceiling









I got a very unhelpful home warranty from the developer but no actually new construction warranty to cover material and construction defects. This was clearly my error.

The developer basically wants to send someone in to do some dry wall patching here and there but no actual fixes to the joists or substance of the wall or ceiling. I'm extremely hesitant to do this.

My questions now are:

1.) What is this problem I'm dealing with?
2.) Though the developer did not build the house themselves, they certainly hired the contractors who did - thus should they have gotten a warranty from the contractors and if so who's responsible for all these problems?
3.) Should I get a structural engineer out here to tell me exactly what's wrong?
4.) How much trouble am I in with all this?

HELP!!! I'm in the medical field so all of this is new to me. This was my first house and frankly has sort of turned my life into a nightmare.

Gbenga


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Old 04-10-2010, 05:07 PM   #2
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Serious Problems with a New House


I suspect the dimensions of your walls are changing due to serious house structural problems and/or expansive foundation soil.

I'd make a series of baseline diagonal wall measurements as accurately as you can and check them over several days or weeks. And get opinions from several Consulting Structural/Civil Engineers.

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Old 04-10-2010, 05:13 PM   #3
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Serious Problems with a New House


At first glance it looks like what you call truss uplift, I call it a sinking house, big issue if that's what it is. I wouldn’t agree to anything with the developer until you’ve done all your homework, structural and legal.

Is the only place your seeing seperation like that on the top floor?
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Old 04-10-2010, 06:57 PM   #4
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Serious Problems with a New House


Yes. That separation and splitting is only on the third floor. I you get up close to it you can see that there is a 1/4 inch gap between the dry wall of the ceiling and wall.

Is there any chance this is related to the water damage? Perhaps water weakening the joists or wall studs?

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Old 04-10-2010, 07:14 PM   #5
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Serious Problems with a New House


wet insulation be my guess
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Old 04-10-2010, 07:45 PM   #6
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I hope that’s all it is but I doubt it. I think your leaks and this are two separate issues all though all the weather you’ve had has contributed to both. With water damage the ceiling would be falling down but what I can see it looks like the ceiling is staying put and the walls are dropping. I’ve seen this before on new construction, the trusses are bearing on the outside walls and the outside footings are fine so the trusses stay were they are suppose to be but if the soil is not compacted enough then any of the smaller footings in the field can sink. This is just a opinion and a possibility and I hope not the case, and once again don’t make any deals till you know.

You will not get a conclusive answer off this web site.

Picture #3 is the one I don't like.
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Old 04-10-2010, 08:12 PM   #7
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Serious Problems with a New House


Seems to me the 3rd floor level is sinking, which should mean the 2nd floor ceiling is sinking too?


Are these same walls on the 3rd floor over walls on the second floor or are they over an open area? Meaning, is the load from the roof, thru the 3rd floor down to the 2nd floor all over the same load bearing wall?
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Old 04-10-2010, 08:27 PM   #8
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I've seen similar problems when interior walls are built on a floor without proper support below. The floor sags and lowers the wall but the truss stays in place.
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:01 PM   #9
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Serious Problems with a New House


The roof leaked. The insulation got wet. I would guess the tape is delaminating due to the moisture.
Open the ceiling, remove and replace all the wet insulation and retape the effected areas.
I think it was just a roof leak.
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron6519 View Post
The roof leaked. The insulation got wet. I would guess the tape is delaminating due to the moisture.
Open the ceiling, remove and replace all the wet insulation and retape the effected areas.
I think it was just a roof leak.
Ron

Look at picture #3.
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:12 PM   #11
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Serious Problems with a New House


Quote:
Originally Posted by kwikfishron View Post
Look at picture #3.
I see delaminated tape. A gap at the top of the sheetrock and a crack coming off the corner.
My take is that the sheetrock was installed like that, not that the house has a structural defect.
Poster said all the issues were on the third floor.
Unless there's other information shared, I think the it's a simple roof leak that went on for too long a time.
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:23 PM   #12
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Serious Problems with a New House


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron6519 View Post
I see delaminated tape. A gap at the top of the sheetrock and a crack coming off the corner.
My take is that the sheetrock was installed like that, not that the house has a structural defect.
Poster said all the issues were on the third floor.
Unless there's other information shared, I think the it's a simple roof leak that went on for too long a time.
Ron
But no water marks on the ceiling and none of the cross tapes are delaminated.
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hayewe farm View Post
But no water marks on the ceiling and none of the cross tapes are delaminated.
"Ten Four"

The tape looks like Crown Moulding, not a wet noodle.
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:15 PM   #14
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http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...d-but-strange/

Be safe, Gary
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwikfishron View Post
I hope thatís all it is but I doubt it. I think your leaks and this are two separate issues all though all the weather youíve had has contributed to both. With water damage the ceiling would be falling down but what I can see it looks like the ceiling is staying put and the walls are dropping. Iíve seen this before on new construction, the trusses are bearing on the outside walls and the outside footings are fine so the trusses stay were they are suppose to be but if the soil is not compacted enough then any of the smaller footings in the field can sink. This is just a opinion and a possibility and I hope not the case, and once again donít make any deals till you know.

You will not get a conclusive answer off this web site.

Picture #3 is the one I don't like.
Spring is here, hopefully the problem will disappear.

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