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FIVE COMMON RESIDENTIAL BUILDING DEFECTS by Guest Bloggers Tobi Crooks and Melissa Falcetti of IBI Building Consultants

On Behalf of | Sep 12, 2010 | Uncategorized

In over 30 years of business, IBI Building Consultants has uncovered an incredible number of building defects (incorrectly installed products). In our experience, the 5 most common residential defects involve:

1. Windows

Properly installed windows will not leak moisture or air, thereby keeping your heating bills low. Windows must be installed according local codes and the manufacturer’s requirements. Most reputable window installers will be AAMA (American Architectural Manufacturers Association) certified, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will install your windows correctly. If a window is incorrectly installed, it will not be warrantied by the manufacturer. Common window installation defects include damaged window flanges, improperly installed flexible flashings (an adhesive waterproofing product) and hard flashings (metal angles that drain moisture) that have been sealed or installed over the wrong products. As some window warranties last 20 years to a lifetime, you should consider an installer that is AAMA certified and ensure that they follow AAMA standards, code requirements and the manufacturer’s instructions.

What to look for: Damage to the interior wall, moisture leaking and fungi.

2. Non-Flanged Doors

Doors that have been improperly installed may not stay open on their own. Or perhaps water pools next to the threshold. Doors should be installed plumb (perpendicular), level and square so they swing properly. Sill pans should be installed to help drain moisture away from the door and into an appropriate drainage path. All doors that lead to the exterior (and any protruding surfaces, for that matter) should include head flashings to divert moisture away from the top of the door.

What to look for: Damage to the interior wall, moisture leaking and fungi, especially on the door jamb.

3. Kickout Flashings

Kickout flashings (also known as diverter flashings) divert water from the roof into the gutter. Often Kickout flashings are installed incorrectly or are too small. In those cases, water is allowed to drain onto the cladding, thereby subjecting it to excess moisture loads. Moisture damage, dry rot and mold may result.

What to look for: Tell-tale signs of leaking along the cladding, such as discoloration. Also look for mold or debris just above your kickout flashing, which may indicate that it isn’t angled correctly.

4. Roofing Utilities

In order to drain properly, the installer must shiplap products. Shiplapping is when each product laps over the product below. When installed using this method, moisture runs directly along the surface of each component until it reaches the ground. If products are reverse-lapped, moisture will find its way below the products and will run along underlying components that were not designed for that type of moisture load. Roofing utilities, such as stacks and chimneys, are often improperly lapped. As a result, moisture runs underneath the shingles and begins to deteriorate your roofing structure.

What to look for: Tell-tale signs of moisture issues, such as discoloration or building up of debris.

5. Product Transitions

All products expand and contract at different rates due to weather fluctuations. Products also shift with settling or any other movement of the home. The intersections or transitions must be flexible so the components may move naturally without damaging adjacent products. In these situations, a sealant joint is necessary. Sealant is a flexible product that acts as a barrier between the products. However, the joints are often overlooked or forgotten by contractors. In those cases, the products may crack or become otherwise damaged.

What to look for: Cracks, bowing or other damage near product transitions.


Your home is likely your largest investment. Keep it in great shape by performing regular maintenance and by ensuring that your home is free of any damage-causing defects.


Guest bloggers Tobi Brooks and Melissa Falcetti represent IBI Building Consultants. View the website at