The Top 12 New Construction Home Defects

Date Published: May 14, 2019

You may think that purchasing a brand new home would mean that you don’t have to worry about defects or quality issues – but new construction defects are more common than you might think.

Builders subcontract out most of the work when it comes to large building sites. All that coordination and in and out of different contractors can lead to missed items and construction defects.

Let’s take a look at the top 12 most common new construction issues.

1. Improper Grading And Drainage After Construction

This can be a serious problem. Proper grading and drainage are a necessity to ensure that water does not seep around the foundation and cause water damage. In the winter, this water can even freeze, causing cracks in the foundation. Newer grading is prone to settlement, and it does not always settle in a uniform way. This can cause negative drainage and uneven surfaces.

2. Shrinkage Cracks In Concrete

Improperly-mixed concrete with high water content may develop shrinkage cracks over time, which may not be readily apparent at first glance. These cracks are not structural, however, it gives an entrance point for water to seep into the cement. As the water freezes, it can widen these gaps and lead to sagging and heaving. These cracks should be sealed when they are present in driveways and walkways.

New Construction Home Defects Shrinkage Cracks

3. Separating Wood Flooring

Gaps in flooring material can be caused by improper installation, but also because of moisture fluctuations in the home – and large gaps may be difficult to fix. This is common in dryer climates that have a high fluctuation of humidity. As the wood expands and contracts, movement occurs.  The original cause may have been not allowing the wood flooring to acclimate to the environment prior to installation.  Fast moving production schedules can lead to short cuts being taken with the impact not seen for months after move in as the flooring material acclimates to the installed location.

4. Incomplete Construction

There’s always a chance that the company who built your home overlooked a key part of the construction process – installing fire blocking, missing insulation in areas, incomplete tiling or caulking. Usually, these issues are minor but it is important to address these before you move in.

5. Overlooked Painting

One of the most common new construction Home defects is overlooked paint. You may find that some areas of a newly-built home have not been properly painted, such as basement areas, utility closets, and other out-of-the-way areas. Touch up paint is also done at the very end of construction. So many of these problems can be addressed after the inspection.

Are you buying a new home in the Colorado Front Range area? Consider a new construction inspection from Scott Home Inspection. We offer a $25 dollar discount on new construction homes. Learn more here.

6. Dirty Duct Systems

Construction creates a lot of dust and debris, which can build up in your ducts and damage the HVAC system if it’s not removed properly. The floor registers should be sealed or covered during construction, but we often see the covers damaged or poorly installed. Because of this, we often see a lot of sawdust and wood pieces at the registers. These areas should be cleaned by a duct cleaning professional.

7. Improper Plumbing Hookups

If the home builder does not use an experienced plumber, it’s possible that plumbing hookups and pipes have been installed improperly – and could even violate local building codes. The most common issue we see is fixtures where the hot and cold sides are reversed.

New Construction Home Defects Kitchen

8. Incorrect Appliance Installation

Appliance installation can be a bit of an afterthought when building a new home since it is one of the last items completed – so you always want to check to make sure appliances like dishwashers, garbage disposals, washers, dryers, and refrigerators are properly installed from the beginning.

9. Doors That Don’t Close Properly

If they’re not installed properly, your doors may have gaps, be crooked, or otherwise fail to close properly, even in a newly-built home. In some cases, like exterior doors, this can be an expensive fix.

10. Floor Scratches And Wall Damage

Dragging heavy equipment and materials around a home can cause scratches and damage – but this should be fixed before the home is put on the market or completed and ready for closing. Be on the lookout for scratches in wood floors and damage to the walls.

11.  Window Issues

Improper installation of windows can result in expensive repairs or replacement down the line. Issues such as broken thermal seals, faulty latches and drafts can cause ongoing problems over time.

12.  Heating and Cooling Systems

More than just a temperature issue improperly installed heating and air conditioning can be uncomfortable for you and your bank account. Checking these items from the get-go is a must.

Know What New Construction Home Defects To Look For!

You should never just assume that a newly-built home is totally free of defects. Look for these new construction issues when you’re purchasing a new home – and consider hiring a home inspector to ensure that you cover your bases and that your home is free of major issues. If you are purchasing a home in the Colorado area, take advantage of our discount on new construction inspections. Schedule now!

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About the Author: Chris Kimmel

Chris Kimmel worked as an Associate Home Inspector for two years, handling numerous services including sewer scope inspections, pest inspections, mold air sample testing, radon testing, and water quality testing. Chris now works with Scott Home Inspection as a Content Writing Specialist.

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    Harvey Lee January 19, 2021 at 2:20 am

    Nice blog! I really like the article and very helpful for me. Thanks for sharing.

    Matt L. Spence May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Good list for new construction. In Florida I’d add incorrect roof tile installation.

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