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Caring For Your Home

Your NHBC documentation states "New homes should be run-in gently over the first few months. This is because concrete, bricks, timber, plaster and other materials may have absorbed water during construction. This will not cause you any harm and you may not even be aware of it, however this does need to slowly evaporate through adequate ventilation.

Moisture, condensation and shrinkage can affect new homes but if homeowner takes simple day to day measures this can prevent or limit damage occurring. Here are just a few tips from the NHBC on how to run in your new home:

  • Be patient: The length of time it takes for a house to dry out will depend on the type of home and the time of year that owners move in but usually its takes at least six months.
  • Produce less moisture: Cover those pans when you are cooking and avoid allowing the kettle to boil for longer than you need it to. Hang wet washing outside as soon as you can and if you have a tumble dryer attach the hose and hang the end outside which will carry the moist air out.
  • Avoid moisture spreading: Close the door when you are cooking food and when taking a bath close the bathroom door as this prevents steam escaping.
  • Give moisture an escape route: If you are producing a lot of moisture try to ensure that a window or 'trickle vents' are open. Trickle ventilators are slotted vents found in the window frame and can be opened and closed. You may well find that your new home has an extractor fan – in which case use it! A fan will extract the moisture at source and prevent it spreading to other rooms. It is not expensive to run.
  • Condensation on windows: If condensation does occur on window glass, simply wipe it away. Condensation that repeatedly settles where the glass meets a timber frame can in time cause the frame to rot. Allowed to persist, condensation can cause a lot of damage and lead to un-necessary expenditure.
  • Keep a constant temperature: As the home is lived in and heated, timber and plaster will shrink, possibly causing fine cracks, which is normal. To minimise this, try to keep a reasonably even temperature in the house so the structure warms up and dries out gradually. If you have central heating, use it sparingly at first especially if you move in during winter.
  • Dealing with cracking: The builder will probably have painted the walls with a light paint that lets moisture work itself out during the drying out period. Further coats of emulsion and oil-based paints or wallpaper can be used for later redecoration, after the walls have dried out (this normally takes nine to twelve months).
  • Minor cracks: These should be left for a few months and then sealed after your new home has dried out. When you redecorate, use a good filler to make good any gaps and plaster cracks which may have arisen from normal drying-out and shrinkage.
  • Ventilation: Built-in wardrobe doors should be kept slightly ajar during the drying out period, especially if the wardrobe is on an external wall.
  • Loft care: Examine the loft regularly for signs of condensation. The builder will have put permanent ventilation in the roof, usually in the eaves, to avoid condensation. These openings which take the form of slots or holes should not be covered. Do not leave the loft hatch open because this will allow warm moist air into the loft, wasting heat and increasing the risk of condensation.