Naperville residents unable to get help with fiber cement siding that's cracking years early

ByJason Knowles and Ann Pistone WLS logo
Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Naperville neighbors' fiber cement siding cracking years early
A group of residents in the same Naperville development are dealing with Allura siding on their newer homes cracking years before it should.

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- A group of residents in a Naperville real estate development are all dealing with the siding on their newer homes having dozens, even hundreds of cracks.

Residents say they shouldn't have to pay out of pocket to solve this expensive problem.

John Furth showed the I-Team dozens and dozens of cracks that run up and down his fiber cement siding, which industry experts say should last up to 50 years.

His home is about eight years old. Furth said he discovered the cracks only a few years after he moved in.

"I started to investigate that and made some calls to the builder and they gave me a little bit of help. But it was a long, long process where eventually a manufacturer's rep came out, took a look at it and basically it turned out to be a finger pointing match," he said.

In a letter from the manufacturer, they offered Furth $210 to replace some tiles, then blamed the issue on the installation, saying the cracks "were not determined to be product related" and were due to "installation deviations."

The developer's attorney blames the manufacturer.

Furth said it would cost him about $68,000 to fix the problem. He's concerned about his ability to sell the home one day and worried about potential water damage.

The I-Team found three other neighbors in the same development with relatively new homes that also have cracks in the siding.

They said the local builder has offered to replace some of the siding but since the warranties have long expired, residents would have to pay themselves to replace everything.

Neighbor and homeowner Giridhar Burra said one contractor found 284 cracked panels. Burra and Furth said the developer offered to replace all of the siding, at cost, without profit or mark-up. Still, the bill would be roughly $55,000.

"We have to replace the siding. My resale value is going to be affected, any type of sale, if I ever have to do that. I'll have to replace the siding. So I'm trying to get this fixed," says Burra.

Another resident said the developer replaced some siding panels, however the paint does not match and the cracking continued.

Randy Stine said his problem is just beginning.

"There's one right under the window on the left side of the window. Now it's been spreading," he said. "It was one at first now there's two or three."

And he's worried about what's to come.

"The first thing I think when I pull into my driveway is kind of that looming price tag of what I'm going to have to pay to get it fixed for the safety of my home," Stine said.

In a letter to the I-Team, the attorney for Oak Hill Builders and Developers said homeowners can file a claim with a class action lawsuit and settlement about cracked siding against the fiber cement siding company Allura.

Furth and Burra said they tried to join and collect on the settlement, but they don't qualify, because their specific brand under that company name doesn't qualify.

The developer's attorney said in a statement, "My client joins the homeowners in their disappointment regarding the siding issues on some of the homes," and added, "In over 30 (years of) business constructing homes, the company has never encountered allegations regarding widespread latent defects in material provided by a vendor. Oak Hill is known for the quality of its workmanship and makes every effort to choose materials that are worthy of that standard of care."

"I'd just like you to take care of the problem. I would like them to pay for the siding. It's not a repair. It's a full replacement. We've had other contractors come here and provide us quotes and you can't repair this you have to replace it," Furth said.

The siding manufacturer added that if homeowners are not eligible for the class action settlement and they still believe they might be covered by a limited warranty, they can try to go through that warranty claim process on the company's website. Furth said he already tried and didn't qualify.