12 ON YOUR SIDE: Louisa home defects fixed

LOUISA, VA (WWBT) - Your home is an emotional investment, so when a Louisa man discovered a defect that would cost thousands to fix, he turned to 12 On Your Side after lawyers refused to take his case.

I got all sides together to look at the substandard work in Paul Rippeth's home. The meeting lead to a resolution the home owner says saved him at least $15,000.

Before we got involved, Paul Rippeth was out of luck. The home had no warranty and he was the second owner.

"Y'all saved me. You saved me money. Lots of money. Ha ha. I'm happy as a lark. I have my house back. It's safe," said Paul.

Paul Rippeth's construction disaster didn't become obvious until he'd lived years in his home. His refrigerator revealed defects hidden behind a drop ceiling in the basement.

"The door came open and hit this (slaps counter) and I looked over there and 'oh my gosh.' The floor was squishy," said Paul.

Floor joist boards held in place with only nails - not specific hangers as required by the Virginia Building Code. Those nails popped out over time under the weight of furniture and the floor above.

"See that silver up there? That's a hanger. They put that additional board, that 2x4. Yea. That gives it extra support," said Paul.

Metal hangers are now installed on every joist board, giving the modular home the support it should have left the factory with.

Clayton Homes C.E.O. sent the plant manager where the home was built and said having everyone at the big meeting would be helpful.

Kevin Clayton said they have a long history of taking care of their customers and if anything was not up to code they will take care of it.

A crew from Norris Homes out of Tennessee - a division of Clayton Homes - worked over four days to correct and strengthen the home's support.

Diane: "There was concern about this part of the floor collapsing and the refrigerator coming through."

"These joist hangers, they are about an inch and a half wide. The way you attach them they're ready to hold pressure," said Rick Steadman, for Norris Homes.

The work is guaranteed. County inspector certified and up to code.

Louisa building inspector Skip Harper said the substandard work went undetected because when the modular home came into the county back in 2003, inspections of load bearing walls was not required. It is now. The code changed around 2005.

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