How do I ‘Settle’ my New Build Home?

Have you moved into your newly built home in Bedfordshire and been asked that most common question – are you settled in yet? We know it’s the question everyone asks a new homeowner!

 

The usual response of course is: “yes, we’ve unpacked most things… some still in boxes… we know where the kettle is but can’t find the cups…”.

Actually though, if your new home is a new build, the question should really be “is your house settled in yet?”

What do we mean? Well, when you move into a new build, you need to let it settle. Let us explain!

 

Why does my new build need to ‘settle’?

A new build is not a static thing. Imagine, not that long ago, there was a piece of land, builders came in, foundations were dug, walls built, roofs put on, services connected, gardens laid to lawn and painting completed.

So much is done and to such high standards. But, it’s the case that the new build home then needs to be left to settle. Plasterwork needs to dry out properly, paint needs to firm up, pipes that were not that long ago on a shelf need to be working and systems need to be used.

It’s no wonder then that new homes need time to settle.

 

Should I keep a snagging list?

We recommend that when you have the keys and have moved in, take stock of what you have. Have a good look round and make a note of everything that may need to be looked at. Take a photo or a video too of each room and space. If you do this, after a month or two you can see any changes that may have happened – cracks appearing, pipes clanking.

You will then have a visual record to see how well the house is settling in. Most people call this a snagging list but we think it is a bit more. A snagging list might contain things a builder has forgotten to do, or have jobs on it for things that need adjusting or tweaking. What we are talking about are recording any larger issues that may materialise as the house settles down.

 

Should I worry about cracks appearing in my new home?

As your house settles into place, the chances are that nothing will happen. However, with the drying out process, you may see small cracks appearing in the plasterwork, or little gaps appearing between door and window frames.

Generally, this isn’t that much to worry about as confirmed by the National House Building Council. A crack in the plasterwork in a wall is easily fillable and painted over once the drying has finished.

Most builders say that the settling in process takes between nine months and a year at least, so don’t expect things to be just right straight away. Be patient.

 

What temperature will help my house settle?

Because your new house has just been built, it will be affected by the temperature. Think about it, a  lot of materials used in housebuilding like mortar and plaster, use water, so these are susceptible to differences in temperature. Too cold or too hot can make a difference and assist in cracks opening and building materials shrinking.

Keep the temperature of your new home constant and normal, don’t be tempted to whack up the heat or turn it down really low, irrespective of seasonal changes.

 

Can I wallpaper the walls of my new build home?

Cracks may appear in walls as your house settles. If you wallpaper a wall then you may either not see the cracks forming, or ruin your wallpaper because a crack will appear and stretch the paper.

So, don’t wallpaper just yet! Again, just be patient. You can put pictures up if you want to make things look a little more homely.

 

Should I be worried about gaps appearing in my new build home?

Cracks and gaps will appear. Generally, there’s nothing to worry about. If however, the cracks appear after year one and two, perhaps longer, or patches of water appear on walls, then you should consider your next action. Your home should be covered under the NHBC guarantee and you will most likely have to go through customer care, but if the builders are still on-site you could ask someone to take a look.

If you think your house has moved or tilted, or you notice that beams in the loft have broken or become slanted, that’s a different matter and could well be cause for concern.

Sperring Residential are your local property experts for the Bedfordshire area. Get in touch today to chat with a member of our friendly and experienced team!

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