Thank you for registering to receive future NHBC New Homes newsletters.
Today’s new-build homes include many improvements and efficiencies but, like most new things, a newly-built property needs to be allowed to ‘settle’ to adjust to the rigours of occupation and the drying out period, which is normally nine to twelve months. Here we offer some practical advice for homeowners about taking extra care with their new home during the first few months.
Many new homeowners are shocked to notice the appearance of small cracks in the walls and gaps in the joinery. These are common signs of shrinkage – a drying of some materials used in the construction of the home – and should be left for a few months until the building has dried out.
When you do come to redecorate, be sure to use good filler to make good any gaps and plaster on cracks that may have appeared.
Keep a constant temperature to limit cracking: Keeping an even temperature throughout the house helps to minimise cracking, and will ensure the structure dries out evenly.
Cooking, washing clothes and bathing can all contribute to unhealthy levels of moisture in the home. Extractor fans and cooker hoods are vital for purging excess moisture from bathrooms and kitchens, and regularly opening windows will help to keep the building ventilated.
You may notice condensation, which can be the result of evaporation of moisture from building materials. Ensuring that trickle vents are open will reduce the likelihood of condensation. If condensation does appear on window glass, simply wipe it away – condensation will gradually lessen as the building dries out.
During the construction of your home, the builder will have installed permanent ventilation into the roof, usually at the eaves, to prevent condensation. Even so, it’s advisable you check your loft for signs of moisture regularly. Take care not to leave the loft hatch open for extended periods of time – not doing so will allow warm moist air into the loft, wasting heat and increasing the risk of condensation.
Built-in wardrobe doors should be kept slightly ajar during the drying out period, especially if the wardrobe is on an external wall.
You may notice the appearance of a white deposit on the wall which can occur during the drying out process. These white deposits, known as ‘efflorescence’, are just natural salts that come out of the wall materials. They are more likely to occur on the external face of a masonry wall. These salts are in no way harmful and can be simply wiped or brushed away as they appear. As time goes by, the effects of efflorescence should diminish.
NHBC’s Guide to Your New Home is available online as a PDF here.
We will get back to you as soon as possible.