You’ve got your home built and you’ve already moved in – congratulations! As you settle into your home, you’ll learn as you go what ongoing maintenance will be required, but to give you a head start, here’s some essential home care advice to get you up to scratch on your new home owner responsibilities.
Know Your Appliances and Warranties
Goods and materials used in the construction of your new home should be suitable for the purpose for which they are to be used. If upon moving into your new home you find that an appliance is not working properly or is faulty, ensure you follow your warranty instructions and have the item fixed.
All appliances that are included in the home (such as the stove, range-hood and dishwasher for example) are covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, and this warranty period can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and that when this warranty expires it is then the home owner’s responsibility to arrange repairs if required.
Understanding Foundations and Footings
There will be some minor cracking of masonry walls on reactive clay sites despite proper design, construction and maintenance. It’s enviable, as masonry walls consists usually of brick, concrete brick or stone and is normally laid with cement mortar, so very slight cracks can often appear with the nature of these materials reacting to their environment.
Larger cracks (that are up to 5mm) may occur in some houses with properly designed and constructed footings if reactive clay sites have been subject to large changes of moisture.
Caring for Timber Flooring
Natural timber floors must be handled and maintained with care to ensure excellent service and longevity. Timber is a natural product that absorbs and expels moisture to keep balance with its surroundings and as a result, shrinkage and expansion can occur. Depending on the type of timber you chose for your flooring, visible shrinkage or expansion may take a day, a week or even months, resulting in gaps between flooring, opening and closing depending on the weather, the season and local influence such as moisture in and around your home.
Here are the tips that will assist you in caring for your timber floor to prolong any issues:
- Don’t shut the house up for long periods. This also creates abnormal humidity conditions
- Direct sunlight will cause colour changes in the timber, so moving rugs occasionally and the use of curtains or blinds is a good idea
- The amount of care for the floor will depend on the location of the home and the lifestyle of the owner but generally liquid spills should be wiped up promptly and sand, dirt and grit should be removed to prevent surface scratching
- If re-sealing is required, the home owner should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different types of sealants available with the professional floor sealer
Gutters, Downpipes and Stormwater Drains
Leaves rot and silt forms in gutters where water accumulates and this may cause blockage by debris. To prevent a potential fire hazard, always clean your gutters, as they can be a fire hazard. Ground drains that are not working properly can also cause damage to footings.
You can ensure the storm water drain is working correctly by:
- Cleaning gutters at least once each year, especially in areas with a lot of leaves
- Ensure that soakwells are cleared of loose debris regularly
Tiled Roofs: Ridge tiles and pointing should be checked once per year, especially as the house ages. Loose ridge tiles should be re-bedded and pointed; cracked tiles should be replaced.
Sheet Roofing: Sheet roofing requires little maintenance apart from the occasional clean to improve its appearance.
Condensation will occur when the air temperature inside the house is greater than that outside. To prevent condensation:
- Open windows in dry weather
- Open windows or use exhaust fans in bathrooms, kitchens and laundries
- Ensure that roof vents are unobstructed
Leaks have the potential to cause considerable damage if they are not repaired. Please refer to the contacts list provided in your handover file for what to do in the event of a leak.
The termite (white ant) is a very destructive insect. Left uncontrolled, termites can cause major problems. To minimise the risk of termite attack:
- Do not store wood next to the house
- Control soil moisture near the house, as termites are attracted to moisture
- Repair all leaks promptly
- Keep landscaping clear of the building as vegetation can impede inspection and provide a path for termites to enter the building
- Inspect for signs of termite activity regularly (every six months).
As you now have possession of your home, caring for it becomes the priority. If you do need further home care advice, reach out to friends and family for their tips, as well as utilizing the internet for further informative articles.
Read ‘Why Specifications Make All the Difference to a Home‘ to familarise yourself with what common specs you may get in a home. Cleaning your home regularly is one of the most important steps you can take to make your life a little easier. Our Tips for Cleaning Your Home Guide will have you heading in the right direction.