Taking care of your home

Family walking out of new homeA new home is an individually-built hand-crafted product. 

There will inevitably be some variation in the finished appearance of different elements of the construction. This is completely normal and helps make your home unique.

There are some common issues that sometimes arise after a new home has been built. We've outlined some top tips dealing with these issues and for taking care of your new home.

Please note that the top tips cover many different aspects of different house types, some of which may not be applicable to your new home.

Routine maintenance

As you would expect, there are many areas within your new property that will benefit from regular maintenance.

Our top tip: 

SpannerWe recommend that locks and hinges to windows and doors and garage doors / cables are regularly lubricated to help keep the mechanisms in good working order.

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Extreme weather conditions

We are not responsible for any damage caused to your property by extreme weather conditions i.e. storms, high winds, freezing temperatures etc.

Our top tip: 

GlovesCheck external taps (if fitted) to ensure they are lagged and drained. Any problems that arise due to extreme weather conditions should be covered by your own home insurance.

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Holidays & extended periods of non-occupancy

We recommend that you take all necessary precautions before going away on holiday or leaving your home unoccupied for long periods of time, but we cannot be held responsible for any damage caused if the correct precautions are not taken.

Our top tip: 

Don’t forget to check that your insurance will cover you if you are going to be away from your home for an extended period.

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Window cleaning

Please be aware of the safety risks and possible damage to roof tiles caused by window cleaners standing on the low level roof to clean the external side of your first floor windows.

Our top tip: 

GlovesShould your windows be fitted with ‘easy-clean’ hinges, we recommend you take advantage of this by cleaning the windows from the inside.

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We suggest that you seek expert advice before undertaking any significant alterations to your new home – especially as such work could affect your Buildmark cover (as described within the NHBC brochure).

Our top tip: 

Hard hatSignificant alterations should only be undertaken with the necessary planning approval – as well as prior approval from Taylor Wimpey, where necessary.

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Door furniture

All lacquered brass items require regular cleaning with non-abrasive wax polish. However, after a period of time the lacquer coating, especially on external fittings, can suffer a possible breakdown. Because the life of the lacquer is beyond the manufacturer’s control, it cannot be guaranteed.

Our top tip:

Paint brushWhen the lacquer coating has broken down, remove all trace of the lacquer and clean the article regularly the traditional way, by using metal polish. 

Alternatively, a fresh coat of lacquer may be applied but we strongly recommend that, especially for external use, you should leave the item unlacquered.

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The nature of a new development means building work may well be ongoing nearby as other properties are finished.

Our top tip: 

BroomWe advise you to wipe away any builder’s dust that may accumulate on your exterior paintwork.

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Drying out

Homes should be run-in gently over the first few months. This is because concrete, bricks, timber, plaster and other materials will have absorbed water during construction. You may not be aware of it, and it certainly will not do you any harm, but it does need to evaporate slowly and be ventilated away.

As your home is lived in and heated, timber and other materials will shrink and this can cause small cracks on wall and ceiling finishes. Small cracks or gaps may also appear at joints and corners of skirting boards and other interior joinery.

These cracks are not structurally significant and can be put right in the normal process of redecoration. However, because such minor cracks are inevitable, we are not required to rectify them.

Our top tip:

Light bulbTo minimise cracking, try to keep a reasonably even temperature throughout your home, even in rooms which are not occupied. 

If you move in during winter months try to use the central heating sparingly at first, so that the structure of your home warms up and dries out gradually. 

Depending on how your home has been built and the weather conditions, this may take several months.

Your home needs to be kept well ventilated to allow moisture to evaporate as the structure dries out. Leave windows or, at least, the trickle vents (slotted vents in the window frame) open for as long as you can each day.

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A consequence of drying out may be the appearance of a white deposit on walls, called ‘efflorescence’. This is caused by natural salts coming out of the wall materials and is quite normal. It is not harmful and usually disappears over time.

Our top tip: 

BroomIf efflorescence occurs on internal walls it can be wiped or brushed away. 

If efflorescence persists internally, it could indicate a water leak, in which case you should contact the Customer Services team.

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Reducing condensation

Condensation is caused by steam or water vapour when it comes into contact with cold surfaces (in the same way that steam in the bathroom condenses on the window). 

Condensation is common in new and newly converted homes while construction materials dry out. If allowed to persist it can sometimes cause mould on walls and ceilings. In exceptional circumstances, condensation and mould can damage clothes, bedding, floor coverings, decorations and the home itself.

Our top tip: 

Tool caseOnce materials have dried out, you should no longer experience significant condensation. However, normal daily activities produce a great deal of water vapour, which may cause condensation if allowed to spread around the home.

In cold weather you may notice some moisture on the felt under the roof tiles of your home. This is due to warm moist air from inside your home passing through the ceiling and condensing on the cold timber or felt and should gradually disperse.

The following advice should help reduce condensation:

Produce less moisture

  • Cover pans when cooking to reduce steam.
  • Avoid drying clothes indoors over radiators. Put washing outdoors to dry if you can. If you use a tumble dryer, make sure that it is vented to the outside air (unless it is a self-condensing type). DIY vent kits are available.

Ventilate your home

  • If your home has a ventilation system fitted, these should not be switched off.
  • Use fans or open windows when showering.
  • Use the cooker hood and/or extractor fans and keep the doors closed when cooking, washing, bathing and drying clothes indoors.

Provide even heating

Ventilation is needed to get rid of the moisture that is naturally produced every day in your home. The trickle vents (slotted

Light bulb

 vents in the window frames) are intended to provide constant ‘background’ ventilation and should be left open when rooms are occupied.

Make sure the central heating timer is set so that your home is warm by the time you return home. During very cold weather it is better to leave the heating on during the day to maintain an even temperature. The temperature can be set a few degrees lower and turned up when you return.Homes where the heating is off all day because the occupants are out, are more likely to suffer condensation problems than those heated more continuously. This is because, when normal activities such as washing and cooking are carried out in the evening, the home has been unheated for long periods and so surfaces are cold.

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