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10 Most Common Mistakes Made by New Homeowners

1. Altering the soil adjacent to a house. Altering the slope of soil along the perimeter of a house can result in water seeping toward the house. Wet soil will swell and can actually lift a house foundation upward causing extensive interior and exterior damage.

2. Pouring a concrete patio too high. Pouring a patio or deck too high can result in rainwater being drawn back up into the walls of a house, causing dry rot and providing excellent conditions for termites to thrive.

3. Improperly attaching a trellis, sun screen or other structures to a house. Without a watertight connection between the structure and a house, rainwater will enter the connection point and dry rot will result.

4. Allowing irrigation sprinklers to spray against a house. Water spraying against a house can lead to rotted walls and leaching of color from the siding, masonry or stucco. In addition, irrigation water that ponds at the base of a foundation can lead to upward movement of the foundation.

5. Disconnecting or not using bathroom and laundry vent fans. Failure to use vent fans can result in water vapor getting into the drywall, the electrical outlets and even the house frame, causing dry rot, mold, mildew and fungi to grow in these areas.

6. Walking on the roof. Walking on a roof can result in injury, broken roof coverings and roof leaks.

7. Overloading upper cabinets. Stacking heavy dishes and glassware in an upper cabinet can result in sagging shelves or detachment of the cabinet from the wall.

8. Overloading the floor system. Heavy items such as waterbeds, pool tables and weight lifting equipment can cause a floor to sag.

9. Storing household goods on garage and attic trusses. Storing household items in these areas can result in sagging and possibly the collapse of the roof structure.

10. Tinting dual pane windows. Placing a tinting film on the inside of a window will reflect the sun’s rays into the air space between the two panes. The increased air temperature can cause the elastic window seal to rupture, which will reduce the insulating value of the window.

David is a nationally-recognized expert in homebuilding related litigation and an author of three books on homebuilding standards and home maintenance. Adapted with permission from The Home Book: A Complete Guide to Homeowner and Homebuilder Responsibilities by David E. MacLellan, George E. Wolfson, AIA, and Douglas Hansen © 2014. For more information, visit

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