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Defective Building Materials (Part 3): Windows And Sliding Glass Doors

Windows are an essential - and expensive - component of new construction. In Florida's hot, humid climate, windows must first and foremost be watertight. They must keep the elements out, even in severe weather.

When windows or sliding glass doors are defective, repairing or replacing them can be costly. Replacing the windows in a single home can well exceed tens of thousands of dollars. When all homes in a development suffer from the same window defects, that cost gets multiplied.

The same goes for condominium communities. Depending on the community's governing documents, windows and exterior sliding doors may be considered common elements, which means the burden of repair and replacement falls on the association.

For HOAs and COAs alike in these situations, it's wise to consult with a construction defect attorney. You may be able to hold the manufacturer accountable for defective windows.

What Can Go Wrong

The most common type of window defect involves water leaks. Even minor seepage can lead to major issues - such as mold growth, warping and water damage - especially if the problem goes unnoticed for any length of time.

Defects may also involve improper seals, problems with the frame, failure to live up to the product specifications (a common issue with "hurricane-resistant" windows), and deterioration long before the expected lifespan.

Determining Who Is Responsible

When it comes to issues with windows and sliding glass doors, it can be difficult to determine who is responsible. Many window problems - including leaks - are due to improper installation rather than manufacturing defects. In that case, the contractor may be liable for poor quality workmanship.

However, some cases do involve product defects. And those defects sometimes affect an entire community, whether a single-family residential development or a condominium complex.

It's critical to involve the right construction experts to inspect the windows and analyze the root of the problem. The first step, though, is always to enlist an attorney who focuses on construction defects. The right legal counsel can connect you with trusted experts in the industry.

More in this series:

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