Peeling paint. Poor workmanship?

southernrnFebruary 16, 2010

My S.O. and I live in a new home that was purchased 21 months ago. The home is in a somewhat upscale neighborhood, and the builder responsible for our home has a website that overflows with claims of "superior quality" etc etc. The home came with a one year warranty. There were a couple of minor issues that were repaired at the one year mark.

A couple of months ago, we started noticing throughout the house that the paint on our doorframes and window sills began to bubble, and started having notable peeling in areas. The underlying wood appears to be bare wood (unprimed). The crown molding and baseboards are unaffected, which leads the painter I spoke with, and myself, to believe that the problem is due to wood that was not of acceptable quality. My painter mentioned that the wood likely wasn't properly "seasoned" prior to being installed by the builder. The problem has gotten progressively worse, and has gotten to the point of being an eyesore in some rooms.

I've contacted the "superior quality" builder and discussed the problem with them. Obviously they were not very receptive, but agreed to send someone out to look at the problem. The gentleman who came out was quite receptive, and stated that he'd never seen paint peeling off in this quantity, and that "I don't blame you for calling us about this". When I called back to their office today, their office manager basically said something to the effect of "it's your problem now".

Other than paying what I imagine will be thousands of dollars out of our own pockets to have this repaired (scraping, sanding, and repainting), is there any accountability that the builder must show at this point? I know it is past the one year warranty, but this just seems ridiculous in an almost half million dollar home.

Any suggestions?

Thanks so much!!

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if the problem did not come up until after the warranty, then you likely are responible for the repairs.

why would it cost "thousands of dollars out of our own pockets", can you not scrape/prime/paint? it is really simple to do.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 4:31PM
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I used to do a lot of painting for a living. People would want wood painted and expect paint to last forever and protect it from anything, and one big enemy of paint was wood that was wet. Paint will not stay on wet wood. I suspect though, that the problem is that your windows could be installed without flashing. A homeowner on the garden web home building forum was quite knowledgeable about this, Susie Snowflake or Suziesnowflake, something like that. Others there would know what you meant if you took these 'symptoms' to the building forum and asked what was causing the peeling paint. Many builders, I've learned since, omit flashing and the windows leak and the wood rots. Not at all surprising it lasted just long enough for the warranty to expire or that the builder isn't interested in fixing it. These kinds of problems end up costing homeowners a lot of money sometimes, especially if it's NOT just a matter of repainting, but a more expensive underlying problem. Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 7:46PM
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I've just now checked this forum after months of struggling with this (still) unresolved problem.

David, the reason it will cost thousands of dollars is because this is not as easy as scrape/prime/paint. At first, I jumped to the same idea, as I have done many home renovations/repairs in the past. When I noticed the problem on one window I thought "Oh, no big deal, it happens, I'll scrape, sand, repaint". But when it becomes an issue on every piece of trim throughout a 2600 square foot house, it's a different story. We've had several contractors come look at it, and all feel that it will be safer, and cheaper (as far as the amount of labor) to just pull and replace the trim & repaint rather than pay someone to scrape, sand and paint for days and days. Our estimates have ranged from 10k-14k.

To fathen, I don't expect painted wood to last forever. However, as I mentioned in my post, this house is only about 2 years old. I could paint my toenails and expect the paint job to hold up better than this. This is occurring on interior doorway trim as well as on the windows. I don't believe it has anything to do with window flashing. It's just a bad situation with no hope for help to be seen.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 1:16PM
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southernrn, I could've written my sentences better. I didn't mean to come across as if I thought you believed paint lasted forever. I was emphasizing the fact that if there's an underlying problem like moisture, you can repaint over and over but it won't stick.

It could just be a bad paint job especially since it's also on interior wood. Many builders skip primer, or will paint over wet lumber. Leaks and omission of flashing are pretty common in new houses, too. Just don't let the age of the house lull you into believing it is only a cosmetic issue. You'll need to find out why it's really happening because the builder won't likely admit to any expensive fixes even if he knows the real reason. I've been thru a construction dispute and it's important that you know all the facts and meet all the deadlines, or you could be stuck with a big repair bill.

Good luck. Hope it's just minor.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 6:52PM
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