BATAVIA, Ohio -- Judith Corrado "had a reasonable expectation that her house would not melt.”
That's the first line in a lawsuit filed by a Batavia woman Thursday after she said nearly 500 square feet of her vinyl siding melted since she purchased the home last March.
"I just thought that I should have gotten a new house that wasn't...going to melt,” Corrado said.
Corrado is suing Drees Homes, one of the largest privately-owned homebuilding companies in the U.S., for $25,000. She accuses the company of “reckless conduct,” disregard for her rights and “reckless disregard of the falsity of its statements."
Damage to vinyl siding has been more common nationwide as energy-efficient windows have gained popularity. These windows reflect a large amount of sunlight, in some cases significant enough to melt and warp the vinyl siding of neighboring homes.
Corrado’s story is similar, except the lawsuit alleges that Drees knew about this possibility when they sold her the home.
The lawsuit states when she told Drees about the condition of her home, an employee told her that the company experienced the same problem before. The employee also said Drees had been warned not to install a particular type of window that would reflect too much sunlight, the lawsuit states.
"It had been mentioned directly to me that Drees had been advised not to use these materials together and they did anyway," Corrado said.
The lawsuit states Drees tried to address the problem once Corrado took her story to media outlets. A proposed solution was to replace her neighbor’s window with frosted glass, but the owners of the home did not agree with this change, according to the suit.
"The solution they offered was to have the neighbor replace their window, and if the neighbor didn't agree to it then they would do nothing for the house,” Corrado said. “That was pretty much said and done."
Drees officials said the company's obligations to homebuyers are listed in its written warranty agreement, and the melting of one’s home is not contained within that agreement, according to the suit.
John Woliver, Corrado’s attorney, said the agreement does not provide any solutions.
"In this case there is no corrective action warranted by this booklet,” Woliver said. “It simply refers a customer to the manufacturer. In this case the manufacture would disclaim liability...or so we think.”
Corrado just wants a solution to a problem she never thought she’d have.
"When you do your walkthrough of your brand new house they don't say, ‘You know your siding could melt, just so you know it could melt before you buy it,’ but that was never told to me,” Corrado said.
“That was never an expectation."
WCPO has reached out to Drees officials for comment on the lawsuit, and a company spokesperson said it is impossible to replace the siding with another material because no other material is comparable to the vinyl siding in effectiveness and cost.