Modern materials, a less-skilled work force and lax code enforcement are blamed
By PAUL WENSKE, The Kansas City Star
Chagrined homeowners in relatively new subdivisions throughout the area are being stuck with house-repair bills that can hit $10,000 and sometimes much more.
The culprits? Wood rot and mold caused by water leaks.
With their dream homes turning into financial nightmares, homeowners are increasingly wondering: Who's responsible?
Many blame their builders for slighting precautions to keep water out, such as flashing and moisture barriers around windows, doors and roof lines. Builders acknowledge that some contractors cut corners, but they say homeowners often make things worse by failing to maintain their homes.
Improper application may cost you in repairs
By Paul Wenske - The Kansas City Star
Dwight Orr suspected he had a problem when he saw water leaking into his $500,000 Parkville home — but he never dreamed it was literally rotting away.
When workers tore off the exterior's synthetic stucco in 2003, they found water damage and mold so extensive that the repair bill totaled a staggering $105,000.
“It was just a god-awful mess,” said Orr, who sued the builder of his nine-year-old home and won a judgment through arbitration. “It has taken a long time to get over feeling totally irate about this.”
Orr isn't the only one steaming over bad stucco.
Experts predict that because of damage caused by improperly applied stucco, hundreds of homeowners in the Kansas City area — and thousands nationwide — may end up paying millions of dollars to repair homes that are less than 15 years old.
“Our general feeling is that this is a big problem,” said Jerry Anderson, assistant codes administrator in Overland Park, one of the first area cities to begin inspecting stucco.
Anderson acknowledged no one knows the scope of the problem, though experts estimate that eight out of 10 homes probably aren't affected. But Johnson County codes officials have formed a task force with local builders to develop stucco application standards. They hope such standards will be adopted across the metropolitan area.