Your concrete slab is the foundation of your home. It is the most important thing to maintain properly. The most important thing to ensure here is that water doesn’t get to the sides or underneath your slab. Below are some items that must be considered and some things to look out for when you move into your new home and are creating your masterpiece.
CARE OF YOUR HOUSE SLAB:
The CSIRO has provided a guide for foundation maintenance and footing performance. This document helps to outline the expectations and pressure points to be careful with for landscaping and future works. Failure to properly maintain items such as drains, downpipes, silt pits, plumbing works, electrical items and any appliances can cause damage to your slab, and in many cases will void your structural warranty
CLEANING EXTERNAL DRAINS:
Not every home has a silt pit, or an agricultural drain installed, so it is important to ask your site supervisor (or maintenance manager) to show you where they are and how to keep them clean. It is important to regularly check your drains and silt pits and keep them clean. If you’re unsure if your home has a silt pit or agricultural drain installed, contact Dulger homes.
Water Run-off can damage your slab. Before you install any garden beds near your slab or change the soil levels and drainage of the block it is important to refer to the CSIRO’s guide for foundation maintenance and footing performance document. This will outline the correct installation of retaining walls, concreting and more.
Anything you change mustn’t alter or interfere with the drainage designed for your home. You’ll also need to establish whether any retaining walls you install require an agricultural drain (aggie drains). You should always consult a licensed plumber for any work that will alter the drainage around your home. You should refer to your final plans & engineering documents and the relevant state authority guide for the guidance of future works. It is normally best to do as much work as possible through the builder to avoid any issues
Another important thing to take note of is water run-off from and to adjoining properties. Ensure that all run-off water from your block is contained within your property and drained to an appropriate point. Also, ensure that no water from a neighbouring property is draining onto your land. This will normally occur if you or your neighbours add too much concrete, which limits the water absorption of the natural land.
To maintain proper drainage of your block, make sure that any plumbing and drainage work you may undertake is completed by a licensed plumber, otherwise, you could void your structural warranty!!
CARE OF EXTERNAL DRAINS:
The drainage systems – including the gutters, downpipes, and stormwater systems are an important part of the structure of your home. If you make any additions or alterations to your drains, you must engage with a licensed plumber. This includes any plumbing to any additions like extensions, garden sheds, pergolas, water tanks etc.
Due to the vital function that these drains provide, you should never pour paint, chemicals, oils, concrete, plaster, pesticides, or any other substances down any of your external drains that could cause damage or a blockage. For instructions on how to dispose of these substances correctly, please check with the manufacturer, packaging or your local council.
GARDENS & TREES:
Trees and gardens around your home can cause soil movement and create irregular moisture conditions. If you plan to plant a garden bed, tree or any other water producing/consuming item consult with the engineer first. You can contact the engineer who designed your home. (Their contact details will be found in your engineering plans) supplied by your new home builder OR you can engage your own engineer.
Trees and garden beds can cause footing movement, as these items can cause water to pool, or can remove vital soil moisture (depending on the season and the weather) which change how the soil moves.
When watering your garden, lawn, or trees. Avoid directing any water towards your concrete slab, this includes any automated watering systems or sprinklers you might install.
You may have noticed that there are gaps in the brickwork around your home. These are called ‘weep holes’ and they allow ventilation of the wall and allow moisture to get out. Make sure nothing covers or obstructs them, such as gardens, paving or driveways, as this can cause issues with the frame of your home and can void structural warranties.
For more information, refer to the relevant state authority guide to foundation maintenance.
PAVING AND DRIVEWAY
Ensure you use a reputable paving company to correctly install any paths or paving around your home (or get them done through the builder). Paths, paving or decking should always be sloped away from your home. This way, water will drain away from your concrete slab.
Make sure you follow these guidelines for the ground underneath any decking you install too. We recommend you apply expansion foam to every surface that meets the side of your new home, such as the concrete slab or brickwork, including stormwater outlets and plumbing. Doing this will allow movement between the surfaces, helping to minimise cracking and protect your most valuable asset.
The concrete paving around your home might contain areas that appear a slightly different colour from the rest of the paving. This natural colour variation occurs during the curing process and can be influenced by weather and other elements. This is completely normal and does not impact the integrity of the paving.
COLOUR & SEALERS:
Clear sealers or colours on your driveway and paths will be affected by the weather and general wear and tear. To keep your driveway and paths in good condition, check them regularly and re-seal them when necessary. Normally this will need to occur every 12-24 months
CRACKS IN YOUR CONCRETE:
The concrete paving surrounding your home and, in your driveway, have expansion joints cut into them. It is completely normal that hairline cracks can occur while the concrete is settling and with use over time. Most of the time they are within standard building code tolerances. However, if your home has any major cracks or distress, please contact Dulger Homes Pty ltd. as soon as you notice the damage. Failure to contact the builder as soon as you notice it can sometimes void your structural warranty.
It’s also normal for the concrete floor in your garage to develop surface hairline cracks. Cracks occur during the drying process, as the concrete will contract and can be affected by environmental factors such as wind, high or low temperatures or changes in humidity. These cracks don’t harm the structural integrity of the concrete slab. However, if you have any concerns, contact the builder of your new home.
ROOF AND GUTTERS:
Your new home warranty doesn’t cover damage to your roof caused by storms or foot traffic. It also doesn’t cover any interior damage caused by subsequent leaks. Dulger Homes recommend that you inspect your roof after storms and after any tradesperson has been on the roof. For example, after the installation of a TV antenna or solar panels. We also recommend that you have storm cover with your home and contents insurance.
RENOVATIONS, REMODELS AND ADDITIONAL WORK:
Your home’s frame and roof trusses have been specifically engineered for your home. Any alterations or additions may impact the structural integrity of the frames or trusses and should only be completed by an expert who will assess the job and protect your structure. Incorrect or poorly completed work will void your structural warranty.
Alterations and additions include pergolas, extensions, verandas, sheds, garages, solar systems, and in-roof storage among others. A licensed and registered builder must undertake any additions or alterations to your home.
UTILITIES AND METERS:
Check your utility meters regularly to make sure they’re operating correctly; they have no damage and that utility companies have ready access when needed.
DUCTED NATURAL HEATING & COOLING UNITS:
If you’re having problems with your heating or cooling, refer to the manufacturer’s guide. If the problem persists or if the problem cannot be easily fixed. contact the appliance manufacturer as soon as possible. Failure to do so could cause damage, void your warranty and in the worst case, could cause a fire.
HOT WATER SERVICE
You should conduct an annual check of your hot water service. Refer to the manufacturer’s guide for details. Another thing to note is that any Solar hot water services have a pressure relief valve. This allows a small quantity of water to escape during the heating cycle to prevent damage to your unit. It should drain away from your slab to an available drain.
If your hot water service isn’t working properly, consult the manufacturer’s guide and if not easily remedied, contact the manufacturer immediately as failure to do so could void your warranty and cause significant damage.
If your home has a solar hot water service installed, the solar panels must be always connected to a power supply and the solar control unit. If they’re left unconnected for long periods of time – for example, an unoccupied rental property or during winter – parts of your solar panels can freeze and burst. This can cause extensive water damage to your home that is costly to repair along with a nasty water bill. This is not covered by your new home warranty. The water and electricity must always be connected. If your home is going to be vacant for an extended period, refer to the manufacturer’s guide for instructions on how to shut down the unit safely.
If you’re having trouble with your solar panels, check the manufacturer’s guide first. If you’re not able to solve the problem, please contact the manufacturer straight away.
During construction, initial termite treatments are installed around your home. Different states of Australia require specific termite treatment systems. You’ll find details of the termite system applied to your new home in your handover documentation and inside the electricity meter box.
Alterations to your home may impact the integrity of the termite treatment (this includes any concreting completed after handover). Dulger Homes recommends you familiarise yourself with your home’s termite system before undertaking any building work. It is also recommended that you consult the manufacturer on how to inspect and maintain or reapply the system applied to your home. Details of the termite treatment installer should be given to you at P.C.I inspection.
Your garage door – roller or panel-lift – requires periodic maintenance, which is detailed in the manufacturer’s guide. Most importantly, if your home has an electric garage door, this guide also explains how to engage it if the power is out. Please ensure that every member of your family knows what to do if this happens for both safety and security.
Your new home warranty doesn’t cover damage caused by blocked pipes or gutters. It is your responsibility to clean your gutters and downpipes regularly. Especially during Autumn and Winter, leaves and sediment can accumulate causing blockages, resulting in leaks inside your new home or overflowing of gutters that can cause damage to your slab.
Over time, the carpet in your home can stretch, and ripples or high spots may develop. This may cause areas to become more worn than the rest of your carpet. If this occurs, please refer to the manufacturer’s warranty. Make sure to check with the manufacturer as to the best care for your carpet, which can help to maintain your floor for longer.
For guidance on the best way to care for your carpet, refer to the supplier care and warranty documents that should have been provided to you upon completion of your new home
TIMBER LAMINATE FLOOR CARE:
Your new home and manufacturer’s warranties do not cover damage to floorboards or skirting boards caused by water or incorrect maintenance. Do not allow water to sit on your floor for an extended period and make sure you clean up any spills quickly and thoroughly. Water can cause the joints in the timber to swell and the floorboards to expand, putting pressure on your skirting boards and in more extreme circumstances causing bowing of your floor.
Never use a wet mop to clean your timber floor, the best option is to use a microfibre mop with approved cleaning chemicals. Also, make sure to understand the maintenance requirements for your particular flooring product.
Dulger homes recommend familiarizing yourself with the manufacturer’s specific cleaning instructions. This should be given to you upon completion of your new home.
You may notice hairline cracks in your walls, cornices, skirtings and architraves. These cracks are generally caused by expansion and contraction due to seasonal weather changes, as well as your home’s heating and cooling. They’re completely normal and not indications of poor build quality. Some cracks may appear and then close. However, if you notice any major cracks or distress you should contact your new home builder and get them to check.
Your new home Warranty doesn’t cover any wear and tear to painted surfaces after you move in. Tips on how to maintain these surfaces can be found in the manufacturer’s care guide. Make sure you read the Paint care document you should have been given at the completion inspection
Due to changes in air temperature and humidity (especially in winter) condensation will mostly occur in bathrooms and laundries. If steam is not properly removed, it can cause mould to develop and potentially further damage to your home. You should always use your exhaust fan in these spaces. Opening doors and windows throughout your home for natural ventilation is also recommended.
Doors in wet areas, in particular, may swell. This can cause them to stick and make them difficult to open and close. If this happens, make sure you report it on your maintenance inspection form that you should receive upon the completion of your new home
Leaking taps, tap adjustments and provision of new tap washers are not covered by your new home warranty. Always engage a licensed plumber to complete any necessary maintenance or repairs. For any queries about the performance or appearance of taps, basins and other bath-ware, please refer to the manufacturer’s care guide and warranty documentation.
SINKS AND BASINS:
The sinks and basins in your bathrooms, kitchen and laundry are designed for water only. It is important to regularly clean any hair, personal cleaning or bathroom cleaning products from your bathroom basin and shower drains.
Ensure food scraps are collected and removed from the kitchen sink. Never pour fats or oils down the sink, as they solidify as they cool and can build up in your drains. A build-up of waste products can cause your drains to become blocked, which can slow down drainage or cause water to overflow. Your new home warranty doesn’t cover damage caused by drains that haven’t been properly cleaned or cleared.
Items like baby wipes, cotton wool balls, newspaper, sanitary items and similar waste products should never be flushed down the toilet. Flushing non-organic waste down the toilet can cause blockages in your sewerage system. Generally, only bodily waste and toilet paper should be flushed.
TILES AND GROUT CARE:
Grout can discolour and crack over time. This can lead to leaks and damage that may not be covered by your new home warranty. Ensure you check and maintain your grout regularly, and reapply when cracks become evident, especially in wet areas, and showers in particular.
Silicone is an important sealant around all wet areas. Silicone can deteriorate, develop mould, or discolour over time. It is your responsibility to maintain the silicone seals in your bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry, and reapply as necessary. Silicone should be replaced every couple of years to protect your new home.
WINDOWS AND SLIDING DOOR CARE:
Make sure you regularly clean the tracks of all your windows and sliding doors. If your windows or sliding doors start to stick and/or don’t slide easily, refer to the manufacturer’s maintenance guide.
Any window or door coverings you install need to be attached to a wall, window or doorframe. They should never be attached to the architrave. Architraves are for aesthetic purposes only and may detach from the wall if anything is affixed to them. Any damage caused by inappropriate use of the architraves is not covered by your new home warranty.
Your new home warranty only covers the initial installation of your appliances.
If you experience any subsequent problems, you’ll need to report them directly to the manufacturer.
All the relevant manufacturer warranty forms and care documents are provided during the handover. Ensure you fill them out and return them to the relevant manufacturers. That way, you’re covered if anything goes wrong. Please note that some suppliers will need your builders job number and settlement date for warranty purposes or service calls. This information should be provided to you during the handover of your new home.
Smoke alarms should not be tampered with or covered over. You should regularly check your smoke alarm and replace the batteries with high-quality replacements annually. Most smoke alarms have a 10-year lifespan and should be replaced after this time. Make sure you use a licensed electrician to undertake these replacements. More information can be found on the website of your local fire authority.
While your stone benchtops are durable, they can crack, chip or scratch with improper use. Whatever you do, don’t stand on your stone benchtop. Never place hot objects directly onto its surface, as this can cause thermal shock, and may crack the benchtop. Misuse of your stone benchtop may void the manufacturer’s warranty.
Stone benchtops are also porous; this means they absorb liquids and oils, which can cause them to stain. Make sure you clean up any spills quickly and thoroughly, for more care instructions, refer to the supplier’s care guide.
Your laminate benchtops can swell if water is left sitting on any joins. Make sure you clean up all spills quickly and thoroughly, especially around the sink. Never place hot objects directly on the laminate, as the heat can cause lifts in the surface or burns. Misuse of the laminate surface may void the manufacturer’s warranty. For more care instructions, refer to the supplier’s care guide.
If you find any of your cabinetry doors or shelves need adjusting, report this on your maintenance inspection form. Your builder’s maintenance team can ease or adjust doors, windows, cabinetry, latches, and fasteners as necessary. Once the maintenance inspection period has passed, any adjustments to cabinetry are your responsibility.
After the handover, who do I contact for urgent maintenance problems?
Your new home Building Supervisor or maintenance manager is responsible for any building-related issues up until the end of your maintenance inspection period. If there are any problems that could lead to compromised security, or if something has the potential to cause damage to your property (such as a water leak) or yourself, please contact your new home builder immediately.
If you have any other non-urgent problems, please note them on your maintenance form and your Maintenance Supervisor will assess them during your maintenance inspection.
When is my maintenance due, and what happens?
your completed maintenance form should be submitted to your new home builder (generally this is 3 months) and they will contact you to organise an inspection.
On this form, you should list any items of concern around your home. The maintenance team will assess them during the maintenance inspection. As a note, any agreed maintenance items to be completed following the inspection, access to your home will be required during normal business hours (Monday to Friday).
What if I have a problem after my maintenance inspection?
If this happens, you’ll need to contact the Maintenance Department of your new home builder. Make sure you provide the relevant details, including any images, as they will contact you to arrange a service inspection if required.
Does the new home warranty cover storm damage?
No, you should take out your own home insurance to cover storm damage and any other incidents.
Why does it take longer for hot water to reach some taps than others?
This is mainly due to the location of the tap and the subsequent location of the hot water service. There’s cold water in the pipes between the tap and the hot water service. This cold water must come out before the hot water can come through. The further away the tap is from the hot water service, the longer it’ll take for the hot water to come through.
Why are some rooms heated or cooled more quickly than others?
Your home’s heating and cooling system has been designed to work in the most efficient way possible. Within this design, the distance the hot or cold air needs to travel to different rooms may vary. The ducts that run from your heating/cooling units to various rooms also vary in size depending on the distance the air needs to travel and the size of the rooms.
Different systems also operate differently. Evaporative cooling works on airflow, so make sure you have a door or window open to allow the system to operate effectively. It’s always a good idea to refer to the manufacturer’s guide for detailed instructions on the best way to operate and maintain your system.
How do I tighten my door handles if they become loose?
You can find lots of tutorials on YouTube or arrange a handyman to fix this issue
How do I replace my light bulbs?
Light bulb replacement is your responsibility. To ensure your personal safety and that the correct globes are used, Dulger Homes recommends that you engage a licensed electrician to complete these works if you are not confident in completing the replacement
Any incorrectly installed light bulbs will void your new home warranty.
How should I maintain my taps?
The filters on the ends of your taps can be removed and cleaned. It’s common in newly built homes for the water to contain fine particles. The filters catch these particles, so to make sure your water continues to flow freely, give them a quick clean every now and then.
Tap washers play an important role in the function of your tapware. To keep them operating properly, Dulger Homes recommend that you engage a licensed plumber to replace tap washers as necessary. Any incorrectly installed tap washers, or other fittings, may cause leaks. Any subsequent damage is not covered by your new homw warranty.
My garage floor or external tiling has become discoloured, what causes this?
After you move in, a change may occur in the colour of your garage floor or external tiled areas, such as balconies. This is called ‘efflorescence’. It happens when salts from the sand and cement are drawn to the surface when the concrete is damp. You should clean it with water and a stiff brush. It may take a few goes, but the salts will lessen over time and eventually stop.
It could also be due to the dirt, debris and oils from your car, bike or any other vehicle you store on the surfaces.
Do I have a recycled water tap?
If your home is connected to a recycled water system, this tap will be clearly labelled and painted purple. Please be aware that this water is not safe to drink. If anyone does drink this water, contact a doctor immediately.