Daily Archives: February 17, 2014

Hidden mold in dream home points to larger industry concern

By Gitte Laasby,  Journal Sentinel http://www.jsonline.com

The beautiful two-story stone-faced Sheboygan County home with the impressive Lake Michigan view was supposed to be a retreat for Mequon resident John Liebl and his wife, Beth, once they retire.

Instead, the couple are now seeing well over $250,000 of their retirement savings vanish to remedy and replace rotten exterior walls. The Liebls’ contractors say it’s a warning tale to every home buyer about the damage that can result when cheap building materials are combined with questionable workmanship.

“This was to be our weekend retreat. It’s turned into a nightmare,” John Liebl said. “What the guys are telling me is, had we not discovered this, in three to four years it would have been a complete tear-down. I don’t think we have any recourse.”

Bruce Nordgren, partner in Mequon-based Northgreen Builders LLC, which is now rebuilding the Oostburg-area home, calls the Liebls’ experience “a prime example of what’s going on in our industry.”

He predicts many more mold cases will come to light in the coming years.

“I’ve been building for 37 years now. I’m horrified by what we’re doing as a construction industry,” Nordgren said. “We’ve got to start looking at some of the things we’re doing….

“In the last five years, we’ve repaired so much stuff. It’s the products that we’re using. It’s the techniques, it’s all kinds of things. If it doesn’t change, (this) is going to happen.”

A home inspection before the Liebls purchased the house, built in 2004, in September of 2010 uncovered only minor defects. Those were remedied and the couple moved into the home, which was fully decorated and painted. Beth noticed a musty smell, but nothing showed.

It wasn’t until September 2012 when the Liebls hired Northgreen Builders to enclose the courtyard of their U-shaped house that signs of trouble appeared.  Read More