Remembering that these common issues may happen during the first year living in your new home can help ease any worries you might have. It’s also good to know that depending on the issue, there is a potential for warranty coverage.
Windows, walls, and doors that aren’t installed with the proper amount of insulation are generally cool surfaces in the winter, while uninsulated cold-water pipes are usually cool surfaces in the summer.
When water droplets build up on these cool surfaces, they can run down the walls and into various structural parts of the house, ultimately causing rot and providing the perfect environment for new mold and mildew to grow.
You will need to remove the moisture with proper ventilation, otherwise it can cause peeling paint, mould and other issues. Removing condensation can be as simple as opening your windows for a bit of time or turning on the kitchen and bathroom ventilation fans.
Lumber loses moisture content over time, including after it’s been used to build a house. The federal standard for residential lumber has an average moisture content of 19%, and after one heating season, this can fall to 9%.
As a result, the lumber shrinks, which can also cause the house to “settle.”
One of the reasons the builder gives a one-year warranty with the house is so that these cracks caused by the lumber shrinkage can be repaired after the heating season. In some cases, the center girder will have to be raised slightly and re-shimmed on the tops of the piers to make the door openings in the cross partitions square again and to close the cracks. This lumber shrinkage is not the builder’s fault, and there is nothing he can do about it except make the repairs at the end of the heating season. Likewise, it is useless to make the repairs as the cracks appear, since the lumber may not be through shrinking yet.
Another water issue is water intrusion into basements or crawl spaces. Astonishingly, 98% of basements will experience water issues at some point, and roof runoff is one major culprit.
If gutters are clogged or blocked (leaves are a common culprit), then they won’t direct water away from the foundation the way they should, so make sure you keep them clean after you move in.
If you notice interior cracking at the ceiling of the top floor in the winter, this might mean that your truss has risen. Generally the truss will only rise once — during the first winter. If this is the case, you can repair the drywall tape at the point where the ceiling and the wall meet.
Unfortunately, though, it can happen annually; it does so in approximately 20% of cases. If you are one of the unlucky homeowners whose truss rises every year, the only thing that you can really do about it is to cover the joint of the wall with a molding.
Remember that this is not a structural issue; it’s linked to the insulation in your ceiling. Though this is usually not the builder’s fault, they should repair the joint after the first truss rise and install the molding if it continues.