Moisture in New-Build Properties: What You Need to Know
While the terms ‘moisture’ and ‘new properties’ may lead to concern when read in the same sentence, it is important to understand that moisture is natural in new homes and is not necessarily a reason for concern. This brief guide will discuss what to expect and how new homeowners can help manage the inevitable presence of moisture.
Moisture following construction
Some of the main materials used to build your home contain significant amounts of water, such as concrete, mortar and plaster. Up to 8,000 litres of water (about 800 full buckets) may be used in mixtures and materials as construction proceeds, although this varies depending on the design of the home.
While water is a crucial element for building your home, it needs time to evaporate. This process is commonly known as 'drying out'. Drying out usually takes 6 months to a year, but this is not prescriptive; it will depend on how the home was constructed and the time of year that you move in.
Moisture resulting from occupation
You might be surprised by the amount of moisture generated by everyday life within a new home. This can include things such as cooking, showering, washing and even breathing.
Want to work out how much moisture you generate? Take a look at this calculator from the UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings.
It should give you a better understanding of the moisture balance in your home and the factors at play. If your home is out of balance, you might be able to identify easy ways to regain moisture balance and create a healthier home.
What can be done to address moisture?
While the presence of moisture in a new-build property is an inevitable by-product of both the construction process and habitation, there are certain steps that you can take to improve things.
As previously discussed, drying out typically takes up to 12 months and standard heating and ventilation systems have been designed to ensure this process happens at the right speed.
Ventilation is a very important way to regulate the moisture and the best sources of this come from windows (natural air) and extractor fans (both in the bathroom and cooker hoods). Some properties even have mechanical ventilation systems, which have air supply controls or extract valves.
If moisture continues to be present beyond the 12-month period, or gets worse and develops mould or dampness, we recommend asking the developer/builder to address the problem. Under a new-home warranty, it is typically the developer’s/builder’s responsibility to address any defects in a new home in the first 2 years.
At One Guarantee, we provide building warranties and Latent Defects Insurance for residential and commercial properties throughout the UK. For more information on our range of structural warranties, please get in touch by calling 01603 218288 or emailing us.