Several homeowners who live in two newly-built subdivisions on the city’s far Southside are puzzled by the amount of roof damage from Hurricane Harvey.
Peeled and ripped roof shingles are just some of the problems many noticed after the storm, and now some are dealing with the expense of a total roof replacement.
"I don't know the square footage of the roof, but probably several thousand dollars,” said Luis Reyes, who lives in the Rancho Vista subdivision. “Hopefully it's not too much out of pocket, but we're prepared for that."
6 Investigates looked into the roof problems and found it’s difficult to know what went wrong because the state does not inspect newly built homes for state windstorm compliance. Instead, the Texas Department of Insurance relies of the homebuilder to hire an engineer who signs off on the work.
That and the state’s record requirements make it especially difficult to determine what went wrong.
The Rancho Vista neighborhood began 11 years ago. Roofs on the some of the neighborhoods first homes were supposed to last at least another decade.
And it's not just that neighborhood. Homeowners in the Las Brisas subdivision, which was built eight years ago, are dealing with similar problems.
“Mainly the left side of the house,” said homeowner Mike Favela, as he described where the roof was damaged. "It took off quite a bit of shingles."
But those roofs were supposed to withstand top wind gusts of 120 miles an hour, according to Texas windstorm regulations for the Corpus Christi area. Those regulations were in place when both subdivisions were built, said Doug Klopfenstein Sr., Texas Department of Insurance.
In that part of the city, Hurricane Harvey brought top wind speeds of 75 miles an hour, according to data from the National Weather Service.
So what happened?
The builder’s engineer Ronald “Ronnie” Voss, who approved the roof shingle blamed the problems on a manufacture defect.
"I personally think it's the shingles because I have been out there and looked at some that have blown off,” Voss said. “They were nailed properly. It looks like they weren't sticking. It's notorious for some shingles, for some reason, that they just don't stick."
The roofs were built to code, Voss said.
But state records make it difficult to confirm. All that’s required is an inspection by the engineer, which includes minimal details. The form is called a WPI-8. There is no detail about the type of materials used, how the roof was constructed and at what point the home builder's engineer inspected it."
The state confirmed only the engineer of record would have those details, and at the time the state only required the engineer to save those records for three years. Voss did not provide those details.
"At this time, the certified engineer may not have records of the type of materials and their inspection records,” Klopfenstein said. “That might make it more difficult for us to know."
Homeowners are left picking up the tab.
A total roof replacement after 10 years surprised Reyes.
“Ten years is not long enough for the damage that we got,” he said.
The roof problems began several months before the hurricane, according to some homeowners who decided to replace their roof then. Those homeowners told 6 Investigates they noticed peeled shingles and because of that they had problems with water seeping through the damaged roof and into their homes.
Homebuilder Bart Braselton no longer uses the 3-tab shingles installed at that time. Several years ago, he said he switched to another product after getting a better deal from one of his suppliers, he said.
Newer homes built in the Rancho Vista subdivision with a different roof, known as a three-dimensional roof, did not appear to have any damage from the hurricane.
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