Builder Defect?

southernwhimsyJuly 15, 2009

I need some guidance. We have been in our home almost 3 years. We bought it as a spec home in a custom community. We of course have already had our 1 year walk through where the builder fixed the things we pointed out (or didn't). Now in my daughters bath there are a couple things going on that are of concern. First the tub is a porcelein tub. The finish is wearing/peeling off in areas. Instead of the glossy white finish there are large areas of dull white where it looks like the porcelein finish has worn off. The second is on the tiled wall surrounding the tub. This wall has 12x12 porcelein tiles with a decorative border. The decorative border has a tile pattern done in browns and blacks. These are tiles shaped in triangles. A couple weeks back when cleaning her shower in one area of this border I noticed what looked like dried blood. I tried to clean it off with out the stain budging one bit. I walked away from it and didn't give it anymore thought until this past weekend when cleaning it I noticed the stain looked a little bit bigger. This time I used a bleach based cleaning solution on it and still it did not come off. Now I am wondering if it is rust. If it is rust why would it be appearing in the center of the shower wall from behind porcelein tiles three years after the home was built. If it is a nail pop coming through and rusting I would imagine this means there is a leak and the green board wasn't installed properly. In any case I think a tub should last more than three years unless it is defective and whatever is up with the wall is concern too. I am hesitant to call the builder because I don't think they will do anything about it (this economy has really put a huge dent in their business from what I have heard) but I do know that the one year "warranty" is really by mouth only. By law I have heard it is 10 years. Before I give anyone a call I need to get some ideas on what this is and how to handle it. Thanks!

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On the dull places on the tub I would try some white vinegar and scraping with a razor blade. We've had that on our tub and it came from the water.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 8:50AM
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The dullness of the porcelain and the rust stain may be caused by your water.

Try a product like "CLR" or "Kaboom" which are specifically designed to removed such stains.

Have the water tested and a treatment system installed if necessary.

Most states only require a 1 year warranty on materials and workmanship for new construction. Only a few require 10 year warranties.

You need to check with your state attorney generals office for specific lengths of consumer warranties.

In all likelihood, you are responsible to pay for all repairs after 3 years.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 8:41AM
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If this is porcelain over cast iron, I've never seen a tub finish degrade that quickly.

Porcelain over steel, yes. They are not as durable.

As to the rust stain, it could be from a nail or screw that is rusting through. Iron Out might work on the rust stain.

It doesn't necessarily mean there is a leak, the tile backer can get wet. That's why greenboard has been outlawed. But behind the tile backer there should be a barrier, usually 6-mil poly or tar paper.

If you have greenboard, too bad, as greenboard became non code compliant as a tile backer in wet areas in January of '06. If you fall under IRC that is.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 3:16PM
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"If it is a nail pop coming through and rusting I would imagine this means there is a leak and the green board wasn't installed properly."

Three years is a little short for green board failure unless the shower gets heavy use.

If you do have green board you need to tear it out and put up the correct cement board or new drywall with a membrane like Kerdi.

My tile guys only use cement board, not trusting the flex in drywall even with a membrane.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 10:11AM
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