DEAR BARRY: My home is about three years old. When the builder’s one-year warranty was still in effect, I notified him that water drained into the garage during rainy weather. He tried repeatedly to fix the problem, but with no success. Now that the warranty is expired, he has hinted that there’s nothing more he can do — that I’m on my own with this problem. What rights do I have if he is unwilling to solve the problem? And how will this affect my ability to sell the home to someone else? –Van
DEAR VAN: With a one-year warranty, what matters is that you notified the builder during the first year. It does not matter that the year has now expired because you gave timely notice. The builder cannot walk away from the problem simply because he has been unable to determine the cause or the solution. It was his responsibility to provide proper drainage when the home was built. Instead of trying to patch the problem on a trial-and-error basis, he should hire a drainage specialist, and you could suggest that he do so.
If the problem is not solved by the time you sell the property, you will have to disclose faulty drainage to future buyers, and this could complicate your ability to sell the property or to obtain fair market value. Therefore, it is essential that the builder eliminate the problem.
DEAR BARRY: In one of your columns, you mentioned that a closet is not required by code for a room to comply as a legal bedroom. Could you please elaborate on this? What publication is the source of that information? –Thomas
DEAR THOMAS: The requirements for bedrooms are contained in various versions of the building code. Regardless of which one you consult, the International Residential Code (IRC), the Uniform Building Code (UBC) or the Council of American Building Officials (CABO), requirements for bedrooms are limited to room dimensions and window dimensions.
Not one word is mentioned about bedroom closets in these codes. The reason for this omission is that a traditional closet consisted of a portable, freestanding cabinet known as an armoire. Because it is still possible to use an armoire, built-in closets are not required by code.
DEAR BARRY: When I turn on the cold water in my bathroom sink, there is a loud noise that seems to vibrate the walls throughout the house. If I turn the water on full force or if I flush the toilet, the vibration stops. What could be causing this? –Bud
DEAR BUD: You probably have a loose rubber washer at the end of the valve stem. When the valve is partially open, the water flow causes the washer to flutter, and this vibration resonates throughout the piping system. When the toilet is flushed, the tank valve opens, which reduces the water pressure in the line, causing the vibration to stop.
The solution is simple: You need to replace the valve washer. And make sure that the screw that secures the washer is tight.
To write to Barry Stone, please visit him on the Web at www.housedetective.com.
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