Here's some general information about house construction, especailly newer homes that you'll hopefully find interesting. If you have any questions about this topic or anything related to homes, inspections or construction, let me know. Steve
One thing home buyers have in common is they all discover that homes have issues. There is no perfect house, not even a new one.
Problems found in new homes are completely different than problems found in resale homes. For example, new homes don't have older systems that are near the end of their service life. Instead, problems involve incomplete work, damaged systems, missing pieces and imperfect workmanship.
New home construction problems primarily fall into the following four categories -
•1. Incomplete work: Often projects don't get done. This may be as simple as missing a layer of paint or a room that has no air ducting. In some cases, the incomplete work is not detected for some time after the homebuyer moves in.
•2. Damaged systems and finishes: Things often get damaged during construction as a result of rain, snow, impact damage, stacking and storage damage. A common example is ducting that gets compacted under attic insulation.
•3. Missing elements: Sometimes there are simply oversights during construction. For example, there may be no insulation in the attic.
•4. Imperfect or sloppy workmanship: It's impossible to have perfect workmanship throughout any construction project and there are number of things that can go wrong on a new home construction site - a contractor gets delayed on another site and has to hurry to finish, or it may start raining before the house is closed in, and trades have to be diverted to another site.
Here are a few of the more common problems experienced in new construction.
Interior and Exterior Finish Issues
Interior and exterior finish issues seem to be the most common problems with new homes. For example, most new homes will have some "nail pops," imperfections in the cabinetry or small chips out of the counter-tops.
Tile and floor damage
Floor damage is very common in new construction. The damage may be a minor surface issue (crack or scrape), or it could be more serious such as a floor structure that persistently telegraphs through the floor finish. For example, a line of cracked tiles usually points to a sub-floor issue.
Like older homes, new homes can also experience problems with water. Foundation cracks combined with poor exterior grading will result in water infiltration. Leaks from shower stalls are also common.
Buckling siding is often present in new homes. Vinyl siding expands and contracts as it is heated and cooled. If the siding is nailed tightly to the walls, as it expands, the siding will buckle and pop out. Homebuyers are often surprised when they touch the vinyl siding and it feels loose. This is normal. In fact, it has to be like this to perform properly. Manufactured wood siding has very little tolerance to moisture. Perfect installation is required for the system to perform well for years.
Exterior Grading Issues
Grading problems in new homes stem from the construction process. Land is excavated to prepare the area where the house will be built. After the foundations are in place, the space around the foundation is backfilled.
Two common problems can arise -
•1. The backfill settles resulting in negative grade (land slopes towards the house).
•2. The backfill is too high on the foundation.
Most issues with new roof surfaces involve sloppy workmanship. If the shingles are installed in cold weather, they don't stick. If a wind storm strikes before enough heat is on the roof to stick the shingles together, there may be wind damage. There are techniques for installing shingles in cold weather that involve adding a dab of soft roof tar to each tab. This takes a lot more work, so it is usually omitted in favor of the hope for the best approach.
Missing pockets of insulation or insufficient depth of insulation are sometimes found in new homes. Insulation is usually blown in with a machine from the attic hatch. If all areas cannot be reached from the hatch, the installer may have to enter the attic or remove a roof vent to ensure proper coverage. In many cases, the installer will simply do the best he can, often leaving voids in areas made inaccessible by an obstruction.
Insufficient depth can also be found in new homes. Most times, the cause involves an inexperienced installer. There will be some settlement of the insulation, but the amount it settles should be well known to the installer.
Most structural problems with new homes are minor. There is either no implication to the structural defect or the effect is localized. Of course this is a generalization, and there have been cases of major structural problems involving new construction.
The two most common structural defects with new construction are -
•· foundation cracks
•· damaged or improperly modified floor joists and trusses.
Improperly modified floor joists are one of the most common structural problems found in new construction. A plumber may remove a section of floor joist to make way for the drain for the toilet, located directly above. This problem must be addressed and can be fixed by a good carpenter.
Remember, new homes should be inspected to uncover the defects discussed. Knowing upfront what issues might arise in the future can save homebuyers thousands of dollars in the long term. The most reliable way to uncover problems is by hiring an un-bias third party home inspector.
There are two types of new home inspections that are commonly done on new homes-
•· Phased Inspection
•· Warranty Inspection
The above is why Pre-Delivery Inspections (PDI) are becomming more popular with home buyers