WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT
Shrinkage and settlement cracks in ceilings, walls and stair strings are normal and to be expected. As a general guideline most warranty providers regard any such cracks to be your responsibility and this falls under homeowner maintenance. Only when cracks are in excess of 2mm (thickness of a pound coin), and 4mm for stair strings, would they expect the developer (or their after care agent) to organise making good. Again, because these occur as a consequence largely of drying out, and it can take up to 12 months for a new home to fully dry, these jobs are left to the end of the first year before arrangements are made to attend.
PAINTING LARGE AREAS
When painting a large area, your developer’s decorators will likely paint to the nearest natural divide e.g. door frame, archway, corner. They are not expected to re-paint the entire wall or ceiling unless the amount of repair work has been extensive. Similarly they may not re-paint all the timber work, but would typically re-paint one length of skirting board for example.
A couple of extra points to take on board. The agent used in most paints today, designed to limit the discoloration due to light, has been limited by legislation and yellowing can occur as quickly as 6-9 months from first application. This is not something the developer can be responsible for, it is a consequence of modern paint manufacturing processes.
Similarly, the ageing of paint due to environmental conditions (light, heat, cigarette smoke and so forth) are factors that will make a perfect colour match when carrying out repairs, virtually impossible. Again, not something your developer can be held responsible for. Finally, if you have a decorator attending to carry out work, please ensure you have moved any furniture out of their way – generally a 1 meter clearance is required from all walls to provide access – they are not required to move furniture on your behalf as this would seriously impact on the time available to do the work.
It is a myth that new homes don’t require maintenance or up-keep. Clearly this isn’t the case. Every new homeowner needs to maintain their property if they wish it to last – when all said and done it is most likely the single greatest investment you will make in a lifetime.
NEW PAINT – INTERNAL
Most properties are painted in a light coloured emulsion – this satisfies most palettes but is not intended to last forever. We would advise that after 12 months you consider freshening this up and, at that stage should you prefer a different scheme, change the colour maybe! Equipment needs maintenance too – especially your heating and hot water system. Don’t forget the annual service for your boiler (otherwise you may invalidate your warranty).
NEW PAINT – EXTERNAL
Again the paintwork on the outside of your property is not intended to last forever. We would advise you look at this after 2 years and certainly maintain it by re-painting/varnishing every 3-4 years thereafter.
Probably the one thing everyone will undertake at some point in their ‘home-owning’ lives is painting – walls, ceilings, woodwork and so forth. But before you can undertake this you must carry out some basic preparation to ensure that:
1. The surfaces to be painted are ready.
2. The immediate area is protected from spills, drips and splatters. Preparation is key to a great finish.
1. Ensure that all surfaces are clean and grease-free (for walls and woodwork a sugar soap solution is a great way to de-grease).
2. Make certain also that all surfaces are flake free and smooth.
3. Cracks in walls should be filled with a suitable domestic filler (a small tub is not expensive) – rake out any loose material before filling – use a flexible metal or plastic edge to achieve a good flat surface (always slightly overfill as this will shrink back when drying. When completely dry rub down to the surrounding surface level with light glass paper).
4. Woodwork should be lightly rubbed back with a fine glass paper to give a key (this will help the new paint to bond to the surface).
5. Cover up the surrounding area – inexpensive light polythene sheets can be purchased at any DIY store to protect floor and furniture.
WHAT TOOLS DO YOU NEED?
You don't actually need much at all!
1. 1. 1/2″ brush (for cutting in).
2. 1 1/2″ brush for doors, window frames and other painted woodwork.
3. Small and medium rollers for walls and ceilings.
4. Plastic tray (to hold paint when using a roller).
5. Paint stirrer – cheap piece of plastic or wood, spatula shaped to stir paint before using (always read the instructions on the paint tin first as some paints must not be stirred e.g. non-drip).
6. Masking tape (to tape-off areas that do not require painting e.g. a door frame when a wall is to be painted).
Apply paint by small brush around the edges of a wall (‘cutting-in’) and take your time with this to provide a neat tidy edge.
Then to cover the larger areas apply paint with the roller – but at a steady rate, too fast and you are likely to ‘splatter’ the paint everywhere with a mist of tiny droplets. Use the plastic tray to pour a small amount of paint from the tin so that you can pick it up on the roller easily. Make sure your coverage is even and don’t over work an area – there is a limit to how much paint can be applied in one go so accept that a wall may need a couple (or more) coats, depending on the quality of the paint.
Always leave each coat for the recommended ‘drying-time’ as applying subsequent coats too soon can simply lift the original coat right off the surface.
Paint is a broad topic and a visit to any DIY store will confirm this. Small tester pots are a clever way to avoid spending a lot of money on the wrong colour – remember dark colours make rooms feel smaller.
The type of paint will depend often on the room and application – walls are better rollered in something with a wipe-clean finish where there are pets and children involved (eggshell finish or a silk vinyl emulsion).
Restrict your palette to two colours – certainly no more than three (woodwork / walls and maybe a feature wall). Muted/light colours will make future saleability far easier as strong colours tend to be very personal in taste.