In this episode, we discuss how to dry out your new home and how to prevent mould growth, as well as how to deal with squeaky floorboards.

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How you can dry your new home out

New build homes are sometimes built during inclement weather which means the internal of your home can become very wet before the roof goes on. Some materials such as blocks can act like sponges and can hold a considerable amount of water.

This can lead to several issues when you move in, such as condensation. In turn, a high moisture content can lead to mould growth in your home.

There are a number of things that you can do to help dry your new home out. First, however, I will give you an idea of how much moisture there can be in a house. A standard 4-bedroom house can have upwards of 80 – 90 buckets of water which need to be removed through the drying process.

That amount of water will depend on the time of year your new home was built and when you take possession. The amount of water can be less during warmer and drier months. Most of the water comes from wet materials, and also plaster and decoration which are water-based.

10 tips for drying your home out

  1. Open doors and windows to exchange the moist air within your home
  2. Put your heating on but not too high because this will speed up the drying process and can cause excessive shrinkage
  3. Open your trickle vents
  4. If drying wet clothes within your home open the trickle vents or windows slightly to let the moisture out, it has to go somewhere
  5. Open the doors on any cupboard which are not regularly used to exchange the air in them
  6. If you do get mould growth don’t panic this is sometimes normal in new builds, just wipe it off with neat bleach or antifungal wash.
  7. Keep furniture away from walls to allow air movement around them
  8. If putting pictures on the walls keep an eye on the back of them as mould growth can occur
  9. Make sure when having hot showers, you use the extractor fans or open the windows slightly to ventilate the room
  10. When cooking, make sure to use the extractor to remove any steam

One other thing I would mention is if you are experiencing ongoing issues with damp and mould growth, you should let your developer know because this could be attributed to a possible leak and might need investigating.

Just remember your new home is going to take time to dry out and settle, this can take months depending on how wet it was when you took legal completion.

During the drying process, you might also notice condensation on the windows or on some cold surfaces, especially in the morning when you open the bedroom curtains or blinds, this is normal because the moisture within your new home must go somewhere, as human beings we also create condensation when we breathe. To resolve this – just open the window slightly to allow it to dry out.

drying out new house

Plaster Beetles

Having a high moisture content in your home can result in plasterboard beetles.

If you think you have plaster beetles, don’t panic – they have been around for hundreds of years and they get their name as are usually found living in the plasterwork of both domestic and industrial buildings.

Plaster beetles thrive in damp conditions, making them more common during autumn and winter months, or in damp conditions, especially in a newly built property.

They feed off mould which is caused by the plasterwork or decoration not being dried out or where damp plaster occurs possibly through a leak.

Plasterboard beetles occur naturally outside buildings. They can be attracted to homes by exterior lights or lights shining through windows.

Any structure where moisture persists due to an excessive moisture content (a water leak, condensation, or inadequate ventilation which encourages mould growth) can be a possible source for a plasterboard beetle infestation. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to dry your new home out properly.

Plaster beetles are not harmful, however, they are not a nice addition to your home, as many new build homeowners can confirm.

How to identify plaster beetles

If you think you might have an infestation of plasterboard beetles, here’s how to identify them.

They can range in size from 0.08mm to 3mm long, they are hard-shelled and can vary in colour from brown, reddish-brown or black.

They have a life cycle of around 13 to 28 days from hatching, and they breed in high numbers, so once they get into your home, it is not long before you have an infestation.

One of the ways to prevent a possible infestation of plasterboard beetles is to keep your house dry and free from moisture. Make sure you have the heating on, sufficient ventilation and locate any areas of excess moisture, fixing leaks and ventilating any areas that have poor air movement such as cupboards. Using dehumidifiers can also help to dry out your new home.

The most important thing is to identify the moisture source. This is key to eradicating the beetle infestation and controlling mould growth.

External help and advice

Once these are corrected, I would advise getting an expert to confirm the identity of these beetles. They will also give you advice on the best way to eradicate them and prevent future infestation.

If you think you have a possible leak or wet walls, you should also report this to your developer. They will need to investigate and rectify any issues which will hopefully help to eradicate the plaster beetles, they may even employ the services of a pest controller to get rid of the infestation for you.

So now you are drying out your new home and you have got rid of those horrible little plaster board beetles, you may have started to notice a few cracks appearing. This is normal and is part of your new home drying out and settling down.

Shrinkage cracks

These are shrinkage cracks and are normal in newbuild homes. Usually, you will see them above doorways, on architraves and more commonly up the side of your stairs. They should be nothing to worry about. However, if you are not sure whether they are a snag or not or if need to be reported to your developer check your new home guide which you should have received from your developer when you moved in. It should give you guidance on what is and isn’t classified as a snag.

Identifying what is a snag is important because your builder will only rectify genuine defects.

Shrinkage cracks are one area that illustrates how it is important to differentiate between what is and what isn’t a snag. Small airline cracks, such as those you might see around your doorframe, are not designated snags.

These are normal shrinkage cracks that can open as your newly built house is drying out, and your builder is not obliged to rectify them. However, large shrinkage cracks (those that you can comfortably fit a pound coin in) are a snag and need reporting to your developer to fix. If you are not sure if the shrinkage in your home is excessive or which cracks can be reported as snags to your developer, I would report them all and let your developer decide which they will do.

Creaking floorboards

Now let’s have a look at creaking floorboards. Have you ever sat in a house with creaking floorboards? Having creaking floors in your house can drive you mad and are a common source of annoyance for new home owners.

But what can be done about it?

The term used to describe this in the industry is micro-cracking, which describes a defect within the floor or ceiling construction causing the floor and plasterboard ceiling below to crack and creak. In some cases, this noise can be extreme.

There are many reasons why you have creaking floorboards, making it difficult to identify the root cause. Some of the causes can be: insufficient glue between the tongue and groves in the flooring sheets; improperly installed hangers; poorly connected partition walls; flooring sheets that were installed wet; nails that are rubbing against the joist, or mechanical systems rubbing against the joist.

If you have creaking flooring it needs reporting to your developer because rectifying creaking floors can be disruptive and expensive for the homeowner if not reported within your warranty period and may even lead to you having to move out of your home until the issue is resolved.

A full investigation should be carried out by the developer to identify the cause of the creaking and the necessary remedial action they should carry out to rectify it.

If you are experiencing creaking floorboards, they should be brought to the attention of your developer as soon as possible.

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