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California Defective Construction Attorneys


Construction Products

A myriad of finished products are manufactured for use in construction. Construction products usually made and completed in factories, end up in homes, offices buildings, hotels, schools and commercial and industrial buildings. Some examples of widely used construction products are:

Plumbing

  • Toilets (Kohler, Toto, American Standard, Crane)
  • Sinks
  • Faucets
  • Shower enclosures
  • Shower pans
  • Tubs

Doors & Windows:

  • Wood
  • Vinyl
  • Aluminum
  • Clad
  • Sliding Glass Doors
  • French Doors
  • Composite Doors

Roofing

  • Roof Tile
  • Roof Shingles
  • Asphalt Shingles
  • Built-Up Roof Systems

Siding & Wall Products

  • Exterior Siding

Exterior Siding products have been the subject of many class action cases and settlements. Various companies, including Johns Mansville, Forsestex, Weyerhauser, James Hardie (Hardie Shingleside, HardiTrim, HardiSoffit and HardiPlank), Masonite, ABTCO/ABITIBI, Georgia Pacific, Boise Cascade

Types of exterior siding include:

Hardboard Siding –Siding manufactured from inter-felted lingo-cellulosic fibers, consolidated under heat and pressure in a hot press. Other material may be included in the manufacturing process to enhance the products’ properties.

Fiber-Cement Siding – Siding made of cement, cellulose fiber and sand cured with pressurized steam for the represented purpose of improving its performance.

OSB – oriented strand board: the “plywood” that looks like it’s made-up of chips of wood

One Coat Stucco Systems – Parex, Master Wall (One Coat Stucco, OCS & Cemplaster Stucco), Kwik Kote

Traditional Stucco

To lay people stucco is a term used to describe concrete or plaster like material on the exterior of a home or building. Traditional Stucco is sometimes also called Hard Coat or Three Coat Stucco, which consists of a mixture of cement or lime, sand and water, applied in one or to three layers over wood or steel framing or onto masonry walls.

A stucco wall system is applied to wood or metal framing or masonry block walls. Lath ([sounds like math] black asphalt paper, Tyvek or other weather resistant membrane) is attached near the bottom of the framed or block walls. Lathing, the process of applying lath, begins by installation of a vinyl or metal screed around the bottom of building. A weep screed creates a place to stop the application of stucco with near uniform thickness.
After the weep screed is installed the walls are covered by weather resistant material. The weather resistant material is there to keep water from entering into the wall cavity and the building interior, if the stucco becomes saturated. Water that hits the weather barrier is carried by gravity down to the weep screed at the bottom of the wall and “weeps” out. Once the water is out of the stucco system, it will not cause damage or harm to other building components.

A metal lath is attached over the weather resistant material and then three separate coats of stucco are applied. Each coat is allowed to dry for a minimum period and each coat cracks during its curing process. The subsequent coats fill the earlier coats cracks so that the final “color coat” can be installed without cracks. Texture and color are achieved in the final color coat.

EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish System) or Synthetic Stucco

In recent years, manufactured stucco systems have become widespread and popular. These systems are usually sold on the basis that they are faster to install and perhaps the product itself is less expensive than the materials used in a traditional three-coat stucco system. Most synthetic stucco product systems include acrylic resins or polymers. These systems were first referred to as EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish System) systems. EIFS has been used for approximately three decades in the U. S. EIFS was developed and first used in Germany during the 1950’s and helped the rapid reconstruction of buildings destroyed during WWII. EIFS combined good thermal performance. The EIFS system uses an insulation board as its base, a barrier water resistance surface and the ability to choose almost any color and texture.

The early generation of EIFS systems lacked a weather resistant barrier. If water penetrated beyond the finished surface of an EIFS system, the absence of a weather resistant layer allowed water to penetrate into the wall cavity and building interior. Many early EIFS installations resulted in water-damaged buildings, in some cases with mold infested wall cavities.

To overcome this inherent failing, EIFS manufacturers redesigned their EIFS systems to include a “drainage plane” that is the counterpart to the weather resistant barrier in a traditional three coat stucco system.

The two basic types of EIFS are Barrier EIFS and the newer Drainage Plane EIFS.

One-Coat-Stucco is a newer stucco system that is very similar to traditional stucco, but with some advantages. It provides design flexibility, durability and water management. It can also be finished in a variety of ways including premixed colored cement stucco finish coats, elastomeric coatings and paints or even acrylic textured finishes.

Each one-coat stucco system is a proprietary mix of Portland cement, polymers and fiber.

Common Problems with One-Coat Stucco & EIFS Product Systems:

  • Water Entry At Windows & Doors
  • Signs of Water Entry At Windows & Doors
  • Paint cracks, discolored or peeling on ceilings, walls, staining on the exterior at joints between windows and doors and the EIFS system.
  • Water Entry at Roof to Wall Intersections
  • Missing, improper or unsealed flashings where rooflines terminate into an EIFS wall will allow roof run-off to be dumped directly behind the EIFS.
  • Water Entry at Other Conditions
  • Penetrations in the EIFS at decks, hose bibs, dryer vents, light fixtures, satellite dishes, etc. that are not appropriately sealed.
  • Joints where EIFS meets other materials that are not appropriately sealed.
  • Foam insulation installed in contact with concrete, turf or earth adjacent to the bottom of walls; EIFS foam insulation termination with 2-4 inches of adjacent grades and materials.
  • Where backer rods are used to support sealant at joints around windows, doors and other openings in or terminations of the EIFS wall system.
  • Unsloped horizontal EIFS surfaces.

Interior:

Cement Backer Board – thin sheets of concrete used in place of drywall in bathrooms and on which shower and bath tiles are set. Some proprietary names include: Hardie Backerboard, Util-A-Crete, ToughRock®, Durock, WonderBoard®, RhinoBoard® and EasyBoard®. Cement Backer Boards are relatively thin boards make of proprietary mixes of concrete. They are used for the installation of tile on walls or floors.

Green Board – (drywall with green colored paper on its front and back).
These materials are used in place of traditional tile installations (comprised of black asphalt paper and metal lath, full mortar “mud” bed and then tile or stone.

Green board and cement backer boards are used in lieu of asphalt paper, metal lath and full mortar bed. However, building departments’ approvals of Greenboard usually require extensive coats of water proofing or water resistant materials. These waterproof and water resistant materials are often left out of Greenboard installations and result in water penetration and extensive damage in wall and floor systems. Where the Greenboard is terminated in relation to a tub or shower pan ledge can often cause extensive water intrusion and damage.

Caulks/Sealers/Sealants

  • Urethane Based Caulks and Sealants
  • Window Sealants
  • Exterior Wall Sealants
  • Waterproofing Sealers (Applied to floors, walls, used in flooring, tile & walls)
  • Silicon Sealants

Not all caulks and sealants are the same. The characteristics of the material in a sealant determine their longevity, where the material should be installed and the materials it can be installed against and in contact with. Some sealants undergo appropriate laboratory testing before being sold, others do not. Some sealants have a long and positive track record, while others are new and untested. Sealants may be critical components in a building’s wall system that are installed in more than one location. If you have experienced sealants or caulking failures (they often cause damage to parts of your property), you should consult with Eppsteiner Law, APC regarding your rights and the remedies available to you.

When construction products, such as roofing, windows, doors, walls, baths, showers or decks fail, substantial damage can be the result. Water leakage into or through building harms materials in wall cavities as well as the interior finish materials. Wood windows that allow water to pond or pass through wood and drywall components intended to remain dry, can result in deterioration of drywall and rot in the window itself.

Construction products are impliedly warranted, under certain circumstances, and are usually expressly warranted against defects. However, express warranties may carry limitations, restrictions and caveats. Consumers of construction products may have rights created by state and federal statutes. In California, a product manufacturer is, in almost all cases, strictly liable for damage caused by a defect in its product.

Given the negative affect of defective construction products cause, most property owners, look to construction product manufacturers to pay for the removal and replacement of their defective products and repair of resultant damage. Making a manufacturer pay for the cost to replace their defective product and repair the damage it caused is simply fair and just.

The determination of a property owner’s rights requires consideration of that person or entities’ particular situation and facts.

Eppsteiner Law, APC, with offices in San Diego, California and Boulder, Colorado, and serving the Western United States, specializes in defective construction product litigation. When you have a defective building, or construction product in your home or building,

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