01:01PM | 01/15/03
Member Since: 01/14/03
6 lifetime posts
We're looking to buy a new home which is an inventory unit in a new sub-division. Construction was completed on this house in Sept. 2002. We looked at the house and there are cracks along the crown molding at the ceilings and floors. The molding has seperated from the edge of the ceiling in certain areas at about 2-3mm, and the same for the floor molding. The builder says that it's just the house settling and because of recent drastic weather fluctuations during the settling. I was also concerned about a hariline crack along the cement front porch that runs the width from the door sill to the first step. Is that true and no big deal or is this cause for concern?

I know that new homes "settle" but it's only been 3 months... How much cracking, separation, etc. is normal for a new house and over what period of time should it be expected?


08:03AM | 01/18/03
Member Since: 11/06/02
1280 lifetime posts
It might be little or nothing but it could be a portent of something worse. Be calm, because it most likely is not serious and is 'normal' to some degree. Ther are cases where it really gets serious though so I would begin by documenting what is happening wioth photos and notes and his replies to you, dated, should you ever need to pursue a clainm against him.

Hairline cracks in concrete are often shrinkage cracks and not a concern from a structural viewpoint. If no reinforcing was used in the concrete and/or insufficiernt ground prep was performed before pouring, it could get worse and need attemntion but nine time out of ten, it is nothing to worry about.

The wood showing gaps inside is less likely from 'settleing' that it is from the wood framing members drying and shrinking. Frame lumber is kiln dried to 19% surface moisture but may get rained on during construction. Paint and SR mud add a lot of moisture to a house during construction too. Then comes the dry winter months and the wood shrinks up. some modest gaps appear.

Only if it keeps getting worse, should you be concerned and pursue it. A little caulk and paint will fix it up once it stops shrinking, usually after one thermal cycle


08:09AM | 01/18/03
Member Since: 11/06/02
1280 lifetime posts
ooops, I just noticed you are 'looking' and haven't bought this house yet.
You wouldn't buy a car that had poorly fitting doors and windows or unbalanced tires without the dealer fixing them first. Neither should you purchase a new house showing signs of needing touchup. Make it a condition of sale that he will take care of your concerns in a way that satisfys you. Hiring an experienced home inspector might help. It is iomportant to find an experienced one tho. Two week schools crank out diploms for this unregulated field for anyone who sits in on the classes so you don't want someone who just finished the training.


01:04PM | 02/07/03
Member Since: 02/02/03
14 lifetime posts
alot of people complain about these problems in new homes. I argue with them all the time #1 you realy shouldn't frame in the winter months the wood gets to much moisture. #2 forms are expensive to rent so builders stip the forms after two or three days instead of the recommended 28 to thirty days.


01:35PM | 02/08/03
Member Since: 11/06/02
1280 lifetime posts
Who recommends leaving forms in place for thirty days? Do you have some authoritative source?
I've been in constuction for over thirty years and have never seen anything close to that.
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