When a homeowner is informed by their builder they are being provided a 2-10 HBW New Home Warranty, it is not uncommon for the homeowner to believe everything they may come across in the first year is covered by the warranty. And the most common item reported within the first year is cracks.
Most homeowners believe problems should be addressed no matter how severe they are. This may include having minor cracks in the following areas:
What Structural Problems are the Builder’s Responsibility?
Conversely, a common question we get from builders is if they have to address every cosmetic issue the homeowner brings to their attention, in particular those little cracks that pop up throughout the home. Fortunately, there is a warranty section that addresses those questions.
Most Common Causes of Cracks
New construction home buyers, and in particular first-time home owners, are often dismayed when they come across cracks in their walls or foundation during their first year in the home.
What they do not realize is the most common cause of cracks is the expansion and contraction of building materials due to changes in moisture content and temperature.
So as the home makes its way through its first two or three seasons, it is very common for those cracks to develop. Additionally, a foundation is designed to move, and when it does, the structure it is supporting moves with it. It is natural that a certain degree of cracking accompanies that movement. Each of these are reassurances 2-10 HBW can give homeowners when they call in.
What Does the Warranty Cover?
Section VII: Homeowner’s Responsibilities and Expectations for First Year
Particularly germane is a discussion of the probability of expansion and contraction due to changes in temperature and humidity, as well as settling, and the expectation that minor cracking may follow. The section concludes by saying that since these events are normal and customary, they are not considered construction defects that are covered by the warranty. There are definite Construction Performance Guidelines for cracks in multiple building materials, and there are minimum tolerances for each.
But in the case of minor shrinkage and settlement cracks, this is a vital section of the warranty that can be used to help the builder and the homeowner understand there are normal conditions that may exist that are the homeowner’s responsibility to address as a part of regular home maintenance.
For more information on cracking read Walt Keaveny’s article “Misconceptions About the Common Crack” blog post.