Your home will require a period to settle in and this includes allowing it to dry out gently.
During this period, you may notice minor cracks in walls, gaps in joinery and white deposits on the walls – all are completely normal in new homes, and may occur regardless of the measures you take to ensure that they do not.
Here are some of the common issues you may come across and what you can do:
Generally, it will take around nine months to one year for your new home to dry out.
Small cracks in the walls and gaps in joinery are both common signs of shrinkage. This happens when timbers and other materials contract as they dry out. It’s extremely unlikely that these cracks are anything structurally significant, and they can normally be put right very easily with ordinary filler and a simple lick of paint during routine redecoration.
To keep cracks and gaps to a minimum, you need to allow all the materials used in constructing your home to dry out gradually. Shrinkage is accelerated by heat, so try to keep an even temperature throughout your home and, if you move in during the winter months, don’t be tempted to turn the central heating up to its highest setting.
Leaving your windows open (or at least the vents within their frames) will help to ventilate your home and allow moisture to evaporate more naturally.
The length of time your house takes to dry out depends on how it was built and what sort of weather conditions there are when you first move in. Generally speaking, it will take around nine months to a year.
The appearance of a white deposit on the wall (known as efflorescence) can also be an effect of the drying-out process. These white deposits are actually natural salts that come out of the wall materials, and are quite normal. These salts are not harmful and usually disappear over time, and where they appear on internal walls, they can be brushed or wiped away. However, if the white deposits continue to appear on internal walls, it could indicate something more serious, such as a water leak. If that’s the case, you need to contact your builder or a competent tradesperson as soon as possible.
Usually caused by steam or water vapour coming into contact with cold surfaces, such as walls, ceilings and windows. It can be the result of evaporation of moisture from building materials, which is quite common in new homes. However, if allowed to persist, condensation can result in the appearance of mould on interior surfaces and even on furnishings. Ventilating your home by opening windows and not drying clothes out indoors on radiators can help reduce this.