There was a time when stucco was an extremely popular building material and many brand new homes were being built with it. But as time went on it started to fall out of favor and fewer homes used this type of building material. Still, there are some parts of the country where it is still being used by builders and that has led to a range of different problems because stucco isn’t as versatile of a material as many others.
In general, stucco can be a very nice material that is weather-resistant and capable of lasting for quite a long time.
When it is not installed properly, however, it can result in a range of different problems for the homeowners who live in these homes. It’s only natural for a homeowner to wonder if they are able to file lawsuits against the builders of their home for the problems and the costly repairs that they are faced with when the material starts to warp or lets moisture through.
Does Homeowners’ Insurance Cover Stucco Damage?
Whether your homeowners’ insurance policy covers various types of stucco damage will depend on key factors. Some of these include:
- If the stucco was applied by a professional business
- How long you’ve been on the same insurance policy, or how long you’ve had any coverage on the property at all
- How recently you realized that the damage was there
While it may not seem intuitive, it can be very helpful to speak with a legal professional before contacting your insurance company about a potential claim.
Insurance companies are notorious for placing obstacles between their own customers and the payout of the claim they’ve actively paid into for years. They may use any excuse to deny your claim and, if you’re not familiar with the relevant law or the technical language on your policy contract, you will likely be placing yourself at a disadvantage.
Yet, when you have a lawyer experienced in similar cases advising you, they will be able to guide you in the process and comment on what settlement amount is possible based on your circumstances. Fixing exterior stucco damage can be surprisingly expensive, so investing in good legal counsel will likely save you money in the long run.
Are Stucco Lawsuits Viable?
In Pennsylvania, there has already been a lawsuit filed against a new home builder who used stucco on the outer walls of his properties. The fact that stucco was used is not a cause for complaint or alarm, but the fact that it was not properly installed most definitely is. The builder is facing the lawsuit because homeowners are now left with tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to their homes because the stucco, which they were informed was weather-resistant, was actually not.
What Are Stucco Related Problems?
There are a number of problems that can occur when stucco is not properly installed and sealed. It is for these reasons that homeowners are looking to receive damages. This particular suit names a specific builder as having installed these homes and the stucco walls on the outside of them, but there have been a large number of builders who used stucco over the last few decades or even longer. This means there are a number of different builders who could potentially be at risk for lawsuits.
To come up with a short answer, a suit most definitely is viable. Furthermore, there is definitely cause for those who have stucco sided homes to consider whether or not there are problems with that material in their particular case. Also, whether the company can and should be held responsible for the problems that are occurring should be taken into consideration. Problems can include:
- Increased humidity levels
- Termites, ants and other insect infestations
- Mold, mildew and fungus on interior walls
- Cracked drywall or paint
- Rotting trim work
- Decreased structural integrity
Class-Action Stucco Lawsuits
Teams of attorneys throughout the country are investigating claims against the largest homebuilders in the nation. Most notably, large corporations such as Toll Brothers or D.R. Horton have previously been mandated by courts to pay for damages resulting from faulty installations.
These companies develop hundreds of properties each year. If the same stucco installation guidelines are used on all homes, then there are potentially thousands of homes at risk of stucco cracks and ultimately water damage.
Toll Brothers does offer a ten-year warranty on new homes. However, the damage caused by a defective stucco installation is insidious. Much of the destruction is a result of water damage, yet this type of damage can take decades to develop and be detected. In many cases, once it is detected, it is because the structure of the property or building has already begun to fail.
Hundreds of millions have already been paid out; it appears only a matter of time before more claims are filed. Yet, no class-action lawsuits have been announced against stucco manufacturers or the contractors who install it.
A home builder is likely to refuse a warranty repair outside of their advertised warranty period. This leaves a homeowner with few options, the most prominent one being litigation.
Do You Have A Stucco Lawsuit?
If you think you have cause to file a lawsuit then, by all means, make sure that you pursue it. The problems can only continue to get worse if they are ignored over time and replacing the stucco siding on your home can most definitely be an expensive undertaking. For anyone who has recognized the problems associated with improperly installed stucco, it’s important to take action right away to find out if your problems and your damages could be covered because of a builder’s mistake.
The first thing you should do is contact a lawyer, but after that, there will be a number of additional steps that you’ll need to pay attention to in order to make sure you’re getting what you deserve.
- Contact an attorney
- Get an inspection of the exterior of your home. highlighting any damage
- Get an itemized quote for repairs and replacements needed as a result of the stucco problems on your property
- Get all the information about the builder of your home who did the installation
- Work with your inspector and attorney to determine if the builder may have done an improper or incomplete job
- Notify the builder of your intent to seek damages; extend a settlement offer
- File your lawsuit in the appropriate court
Remuneration For Stucco Repair Or Replacement
When calculating compensation in a potential lawsuit, you want to make sure you’re not paying for something that wasn’t your fault. The builder who applied stucco on the outside of your home should be responsible for making sure it’s done correctly. If they can’t manage it, then you’re entitled to damages and your attorney will definitely make sure that you get them.
If you’re considering filing a lawsuit due to faulty stucco on your building or property, it’s vital to seek a legal professional who is familiar with the specific type of law. Call around if need be, and ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable with the person who will represent you.
You should not hesitate to ask your potential lawyer about their past cases. If they can’t provide references, you’ll likely be served best by inquiring with someone else.
Taking legal action is no frivolous matter. It can cost thousands of dollars to take a case to court, let alone win. However, the repercussions from a defective stucco installation are so severe for a home that, even considering the input of time and money required, it is likely to be a worthwhile endeavor.