Although efforts were made to re-build homes in Katrina-stricken New Orleans, some wood products used appears to be falling apart. Specifically involved are some of the 100 homes built by actor, Brad Pitt’s, Make it Right Foundation.
The foundation claims some of the wood product used, known as TimberSIL, is rotting, according to The New Orleans Advocate. TimberSIL is touted as a novel glass-infused wood product that does not contain chemicals used to prevent decay, an important selling point for the foundation, which is focused on building energy-efficient and ecologically friendly dwellings. The wood was used in outdoor steps and porches, according to The New Orleans Advocate and was touted to last 40 years.
Despite marketing promises, it seems that TimberSIL is unable to withstand the moist New Orleans climate, is turning a dark gray, and is falling apart, The Verge reported. To date, the foundation has had to replace the wood in 30 homes and indicated that it intends on replacing all of the homes’ TimberSIL in the next six months, The New Orleans Advocate reported, noting that replacement costs are expected to run about $150,000. The foundation has contacted the manufacturer “to put them on notice of the defects in the product and to seek to recoup our costs,” but the firm as been “unresponsive,” according to a foundation spokeswoman. “We are evaluating our rights under the law and under the product warranty…. we are prepared to pursue all legal remedies if necessary,” the spokeswoman added.
TimberSIL Complaints Mounting, Received from Various States
Make it Right is not the only client experiencing problems and New Orleans is not the only location involved. The historic Summit House, a former Massachusetts hotel was in the midst of a years long renovation when it was discovered that TimberSIL does not adhere to paint, according to The Daily Hampshire Gazette. A consultant and two wood specialists confirmed that paint does not remain on TimberSIL.
The state will tear out most of the porch and TimberSIL is being replaced at a cost of an additional $100,000, not to mention that the popular destination spot has been closed during the now-delayed work, The Daily Hampshire Gazette reported. The state seeks to recover the additional costs from Timber Treatment Technologies; however, it has been unable to communicate with the firm. Following inquiries by The Daily Gazette, Timber Treatment Technologies indicated that it would work with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to complete the renovation; yet, despite assurances from a newly hired executive vice president, the state DCR and its contractor, Westfield Construction Co., reported that they have not received any response.
TimberSIL was created by Slimak, an environmental toxicologist and entrepreneur that did not have a long history, and which marketed the product as being resistant to bugs, rot, and weather; to being long-lasting and meant for exterior use; and to being “fully stainable and paintable,” The Daily Hampshire Gazette report indicated. Promotional materials also indicate that TimberSIL provides “an effective barrier in lumber to rot, decay and common wood problems without using toxic ingredients,” according to a The New Orleans Advocate report. The state indicated that it followed product recommendations and specifications.
A Massachusetts couple who purchased $500 of TimberSIL to build a raised garden bed four years ago said they have been struggling to get a refund from the firm through its warranty. The couple alleges—and a The Daily Hampshire Gazette reporter examined—that the TimberSIL is rotting and warped. The couple purchased TimberSIL based on product recommendations for its use for raised garden beds. “It cost us a lot of money to do that,” the wife said. “It’s totally rotted out within four years. I’m talking rot. Total rot.”
The lumber retailer in this case—Vermont’s Planet Hardwood—indicated that it stopped selling TimberSIL over increasing customer complaints and issues dealing with Timber Treatment Technologies. “… it became problematic,” said one of Planet Hardwood’s co-owners. “… we were starting to hear complaints that it was splitting in the field.” Of the firm, she said, “It was a nightmare dealing with them (Timber Treatment Technologies) and we ended up losing tons of money,” she added, according to The Daily Hampshire Gazette.
A Pennsylvania homeowner alleges to have been trying, unsuccessfully, for six years, using the TimberSIL warranty claim process, over a deck installed in 2006 that is now allegedly rotting. In Maryland, TimberSIL was tested on a 300-foot block of a 1.5-mile boardwalk. The product was torn out after one year over warping issues, according to the city’s engineering department. “We had so much trouble with it,” Russell Jones, the city’s engineering manager, told The Daily Hampshire Gazette. “Cupping and warping, and it didn’t shrink any.”
Study Finds TimberSIL “Not Suitable for Exterior Exposures”
A 2009 study conducted by the Oregon State University’s Department of Wood Science Engineering found that TimberSIL was “only slightly resistant to decay and would not be suitable for exterior exposures.” One of the report authors told The Daily Hampshire Gazette that the university was threated with legal action. When the firm was questioned about the report, a spokesperson told The Daily Hampshire Gazette that the study was flawed.
TimberSIL Consumer Class Action Lawsuit Help
If TimberSIL wood products were used to build your steps, porch or other exterior construction projects, you may have valuable legal rights. Our firm is able to answer any questions you may have. For a free, no obligation, case evaluation. Please complete our online form on the right, or call us at 1-800-968-7529 (1-800-YOURLAWYER).