Home Care Guide
Looking after your Homebuyers Centre Home – some helpful homecare tips on how you can keep your new home in pristine condition.
You would have received your ‘Home Care Guide’ within your new home Handover Pack when receiving your keys. This is a handy guide that provides key steps to ensure your home remains as well built as it is today. It also details the warranties included with your new home. Your home is one of your greatest assets, so please take the time to read this guide. With proper care, you will maintain its value while you gain maximum enjoyment from a well-maintained home.
Homebuyers Centre is proud to provide you with a 25-year structural guarantee, which is our commitment to the quality of your new home. As the owner, there are measures you need to take to ensure the structural integrity of your home, including landscaping and paving, to ensure foundation performance. It’s also important that you take the time to read the documents and videos which outline homeowner responsibilities for minimising foundation movement and damage to your home.
Please bear in mind, however, that problems caused by misuse or neglect are not covered and it is your responsibility to ensure your home is correctly maintained. If you have any problems within the first 12 months, please email the Warranties department at email@example.com. If the problem is covered by our 12–Month Free Warranty Service, there will be no charge.
Your Easy Guide to Landscaping
To ensure the structural integrity of your slab, all landscaping works should be constructed in line with the CSIRO guidelines. If the CSIRO guidelines have not been met, this may affect your 25-year structural warranty.
CSIRO Landscaping Guidelines
To ensure the structural integrity of your slab, all landscaping works should be constructed in line with the CSIRO guidelines. If the CSIRO guidelines have not been met, this may affect your 25-year structural warranty.
Key points to keep in mind when planning the landscaping for your home:
- Locate lawns up against paths, not directly against the home.
- Garden beds should be kept away from the home, with light vegetation planted close to paving and heavy vegetation at your fence line.
- Avoid planting trees close to your home where roots may grow and damage the slab.
- Landscaping and drainage should be undertaken as soon as possible. This is to maintain the moisture content in the surrounding soils which therefore minimises foundation movement.
A copy of these guidelines can be found in your Handover Pack, with an online copy available here.
Internal Home Care
Ensure you fill out all warranty registration paperwork for your appliances upon moving into your home as manufacturers hold independent warranties. When cleaning, avoid using harsh chemicals on appliances, make sure to use a specialised stainless steel cleaning product to maintain surface conditions. Make sure to also regularly clean the range hood and dishwasher filters.
For any issues after the first 12 months of being in your home, please contact the manufacturer directly.
Please note: Stolen, scratched and appliances that become dented after handover are not covered under warranty.
Plaster and internal wall linings
In new homes, movement due to shrinkage is expected as your home is still settling. It is common to find hairline cracks throughout as materials move during seasonal changes. If the crack in a material join is less than 1mm this is not deemed defective, however, continue to monitor. If the crack becomes wider than 1mm please contact our Warranties department.
Plaster joins and fixing points are typically proud of the flat surface plaster and can be more visually noticeable based on the projection of light. Light projected at a right angle to the surface being viewed will appear flat however light projected along the same plane as the surface will create a minor shadow. This light effect is called ‘Glancing Light’. Glancing Light tends to magnify the joins and fixing points on a surface. Shadowing on surfaces evident at certain times or as a result of projection of light will not be considered defective and will not be covered under warranty.
Nail pops can occur in plaster lining, more commonly in ceilings and appear as a small pop or indent in the surface. These can occur due to seasonal changes and material shrinkage. Individual or isolated occurrences may not be considered defective.
Please keep in mind that paint, much like many other components of a home requires maintenance to keep it looking its best and to protect the material it is applied to. All paints and varnishes differ in their minimum durability periods, so we recommend this be considered when carrying out periodic homeowner maintenance.
If you are experiencing any issues with cabinetry within the first 12 months of being in your home, please contact the Warranties department. After this time, please contact the manufacturer directly.
Please note: Scratched, or chipped cabinetry after your handover is not covered under warranty.
Bathroom surfaces are designed to resist reasonable wear and tear. But sometimes, sand and grit can cause scratching. Please be careful not to transfer any from the beach or the garden into your bathrooms on your shoes. After your 12-month warranty expires, it’s easy to do small patch ups yourself. Visit you local hardware store for advice on suitable grout products and match colours as closely as possible.
We do not recommend using bleach based products for cleaning tiles with dark grout and this may lead to severe discolouration. Be sure to keep your shower recesses clean and avoid using abrasive cleaners on baths, basins, toilets, troughs, glass, tiles and any acrylic or laminated surfaces as these can cause scratching. We recommend only using mild household cleaners and water to effectively and gently clean all surfaces and fittings.
When in the bathroom, always remember to keep the extraction fan on and use a mat outside the shower for excess water. Be careful not to drop items on the base of the shower as it may damage the surface. Keep your bathrooms adequately ventilated to mimimise humidity and excess moisture.
If your shower screen needs to be adjusted within the first 12 months of being your home please contact the Warranties department. After this time, please contact the manufacturer directly.
Mirrors require special care in cleaning. Simply wipe over the surface with a few drops of methylated spirits on a damp cloth and polish using a lint-free cloth. We do not recommend using abrasive cleaners. Shower screen glass should be cleaned using only cleaning materials, which are free from grit and debris to avoid scratching and marking.
Use only detergents and cleaning solutions that are recommended for cleaning glass, mild detergents are preferable. Clean your shower regularly to reduce the build-up of soap and grime and do not allow very hot water to contact the shower screen as it may crack the glass.
Please note: Cracked, chipped or scratched plumbing fixtures are not covered under warranty.
Your sink is designed to withstand the wear and tear of everyday use. However, you can keep it scratch-free for longer by avoiding harsh contact with metal utensils.
Leaks under your sink, laundry trough or vanity basin may only be due to shrinkage of the rubber seal in your waste pipe. Extra hand tightening may eliminate an unnecessary service call and damage to cupboard shelving. Water hammer is a common occurrence in most homes and can be kept to a minimum by gently turning off taps.
When installing your washing machine to plumbing fixtures, please ensure it is installed correctly as failed connections can cause damage to your cabinetry, flooring etc. We recommend using a licenced plumber to install your washing machine to eliminate the possibility of damage to plumbing figures and leaking.
Unfortunately, dishwashers and automatic washing machines cannot be controlled easily. Turning down the pressure at the water meter or fitting water hammer arresters may assist in lowering the noise. If your home is in a new sub-division it is possible that the metropolitan water main has higher than normal pressure to allow for servicing future residences. As the area develops, the water pressure to your residence should decrease to normal levels.
Ensure adequate ventilation when using a dryer as this causes humidity and moisture which can affect the performance of your plaster, paintwork, cabinetry and floors. Make sure you clean up any water spills as sitting water can seep into the surfaces and filter into joins of your cabinetry causing underlying layer to swell and warp.
Please note: The washing machine provisions are in the cabinetry. You will need to arrange installation of your own entry point through the cabinetry to fit your washing machine hose through.
Please register your benchtop with Caesarstone upon moving into your new home. By registering your benchtop, you receive a 10-year Warranty with Caesarstone and a Caesarstone cleaning kit.
Liquid spills such as fruits, vegetables, food colourings etc. should be wiped up and cleaned with water immediately after detection.
Your benchtops will stay unspoiled for longer if you take a few simple precautions. Use chopping boards to protect your benchtops from knife scratches. Be sure to use mats or insulated stands under kettles, pans or hot food dishes as well as under heat-generating electrical appliances like toasters, fry pans and slow cookers. Direct contact with hot utensils can cause surface burns, blistering and delamination of your benchtop.
We also suggest that you dry off excess water immediately and do not flood or immerse the laminated surface. Sitting water can seep into the surface and filter into joins, causing the underlying layers to swell and warp. Do not allow water to pool around the edge of the sink and make sure not to sit or stand on your benchtop. Also, make sure to keep laminated surfaces protected from direct sunlight as it can cause contraction.
Please note: Cracked, chipped or scratched benchtops are not covered under warranty.
All new homes are fitted with residual current devices (RCD or safety switches). These are generally blue in colour and will trip in the event of fault or overloading. If you suspect there is a problem with a faulty appliance, take the appliance to an authorised service dealer. A way to test this is by unplugging all appliances and switching the safety switch back on and re-plugging the appliances in 1 by 1 until the faulty appliances trips the RCD. Smoke alarms are hard-wired and also require a 9volt backup battery.
We install Opticomm or NBN provisions as per your signed contract. After handover it is your responsibility to contact either Opticomm or NBN to complete the connection then you can engage your preferred internet provider.
Heating and cooling
We recommend you clean the filter and ducts approximately every 3 months and coordinate servicing of ducting heating/ air conditioning as required. The unit will indicate to you when a service is required. There is no time frame around when a service is required, this is based on how often you use your unit.
Make sure you provide sufficient airflow when using evaporative cooling by opening windows and doors. In the event that your heating unit is not operating, try the manual reset positioned on the unit.
If you have any issues with your heating and cooling within the first 12 months please contact the warranties department. If these issues occur after 12 months please contact the installers or manufacturer directly.
Please ensure you are not cleaning your robes with harsh chemicals and make sure not to overload any shelving and hanging rails. They are designed to carry normal household items evenly. Clean sliding robe door tracks to keep them free from debris and functioning as intended.
Floors – slab
Hairline cracks may appear in your concrete floor slab immediately after being poured and for up to 12 months after. This is a normal occurrence due to shrinkage and is not detrimental to the structure of the residence.
Floors – carpet
Ensure stains are treated immediately. Regular vacuuming of your carpet and steam cleaning your carpet every 12 – 18 months will help maintain and revitalise your carpet.
Please note: If a carpet repair is required and agreed to by Boutique, the same carpet will be used to complete the repairs or you will be offered a like-for-like reselection for the required area.
Floors – tiles
Keep tiles and grout in original condition by cleaning regularly with a soft clean mop and warm water. Avoid abrasive and bleach-based cleaners as this can cause grout to discolour. Always ensure liquid spills are cleaned immediately to avoid permanent stains on light coloured surfaces.
Glazed floor tiles are best kept clean with regular sweeping or vacuuming. Washing them with a solution of warm water and soapless detergent also helps. Glazed wall tiles however, should be wiped regularly with a soft cloth to remove soap before it dries. Harsh abrasive and corrosive cleaners should be avoided, particularly on decorated tiles.
Unglazed floor tiles have a slight porosity to their surface and can have a textured finish. This means more attention is required to keep the floor clean. Any spills should be washed from the floor straight away. Soap build-up and mould in wet areas can cause grout to discolour. To prevent this from happening, gently scrub with a nylon scouring pad or brush.
Please note: Cracked, chipped or scratched tiles are not covered under warranty. If a tile replacement is ever required and agreed by Boutique, we will arrange our supplier to provide the same product. If the same tile is available there will be a slight colour variance which is not considered a defect. If your tile is not available or discontinued you will be offered a like-for-like reselection for the required area. It’s important to note that different batch no. of tiles will provide a different shade. For more information on your warranties, click here.
Click below to download some extra information on how to best care for your tiles.
Avoid the use of abrasive or harsh cleaning products and stiff brushes. Keep wet areas well ventilated to avoid mould and mildew forming due to excessive moisture and be sure to clean silicone joins regularly to avoid deterioration. Inspect silicone joins every 12 months to identify any potential issues. If issues are found outside of your warranty period, please use a qualified professional to rectify.
Floors – laminate & timber
To protect your flooring, remove any excess water from your floor immediately and sweep regularly to remove stones/ grit that will scratch the floor. Place doormats at external entrances and felt protectors underneath furniture legs. When you are ready to clean your floor, take the assembled mop provided at handover and spray the laminate/ Timber & Cork Floor Cleaner evenly across the micro-fibre pad. In a sweeping “S” motion, move the mop across the floor, swivelling the head of the mop as you approach walls or vertical surfaces. When cleaning laminate/timber flooring, in most cases, it is easier to clean in the direction of the grain or in the direction that any natural light hits the floor. Please note, mopping your floor in any other way may cause water damage which is not covered under warranty.
As timber flooring is a natural product it can expand and contract due to moisture and air conditions. You will need to ensure your home is adequately ventilated taking into consideration artificial airflows (heating/ cooling/ appliance/ showers/ baths). Sunlight through your windows and doors can cause fading through your timber flooring and can also cause expansion and shrinkage. Any spillages need to be cleaned up and dried immediately. If you experience creaking or gaps between your floorboards within the first 12 months please email our Warranties department. After 12 months of being in your home you will need to contact the manufacturer directly.
Please note: Scratched flooring is not covered under warranty. For more information on your warranty, click here.
Click below to download extra information on how best to care for your timber and laminate floors:
- Caring for your floors_Timber Laminate.pdf
- Laminate care information.pdf
- Timber care information.pdf
Ceilings and walls
Walls and ceilings can be vulnerable to mould, but with proper precautions, this can usually be minimised. Mould is usually caused by excess moisture in the air within your home. The best way to prevent mould is to ensure that your rooms are properly ventilated.
Make sure you always use wet area extractor fans and try to keep windows and blinds open as often as possible. To avoid chipping the edges of your walls, take care when moving furniture and manoeuvring around corners. Plaster isn’t designed to withstand heavy contact.
New homes require a lot of initial ventilation, as they are filled with hundreds of litres of moisture. This is contained within materials such as bricks, timber, plaster and tiles. To help with the drying out process, keep your home evenly heated, leave a window open as often as you can and use wet area exhaust fans at all times.
Insects and pests
You may find a few creepy-crawlies in your new home. Ants in your kitchen are not a result of structural holes created by your builder, as ants don’t need visible holes to obtain entry. They should only be a temporary problem. However, visit your local hardware store for advice on how to get rid of them.
Your home is not pest or rodent-proof as they can enter through the smallest of spaces. It is recommended you contact an appropriate pest control company as this is not a building defect and will not be covered under our warranty.
External Home Care
Moisture can be a big problem for brick walls. To avoid expensive repairs, avoid planting gardens too close to brickwork as the moisture from the garden can seep through external cavities, potentially damaging plaster or floor coverings. Ensure reticulation and watering systems do not spray directly onto brickwork.
Marks can occur on light coloured clay bricks in the form of yellow/ green discolouration and is neither permanent nor harmful and does not indicate a fault with the bricks or workmanship. These are generally referred to as ‘vanadium stains’.
Your render can be cleaned with a hose. If staining occurs, a soft brush and a hose is the safest method of cleaning. It is not recommended to use any chemicals or commercial grade cleaners as this may cause discolouration or excessive wear to your render.
All rendered surfaces can fade over time. Darker colours do have the tendency to fade quicker than lighter coloured render.
Please note: colour fading is not considered a building defect and is not covered under warranty.
Before picking up the keys to your new home, a roof service is carried out to ensure your roof is sound and free from any form of damage. Any leaks in your home should be repaired without delay, as water damage can cause havoc in your home. Inspect roof tiles regularly, making sure that loose ridge tiles are re-bedded and cracked tiles are replaced.
If you have a leak following extreme weather conditions you will need to contact your home insurer. A leak is only considered defective if it is leaking under normal weather conditions.
If you have an antenna, solar panels, Foxtel or skylights installed after handover, Boutique will not take responsibility for leaks occurring in that general area. Please consult your contractor to rectify.
Your metal roof is Colorcote. It is normal to hear creaks and banging sounds. This is due to the metal roof expanding and contracting with changes in weather conditions and will generally be heard more in the warmer months.
If your roof is tiled, spare roof tiles are also provided and left in your garage. If you are arranging any works post-handover such as Antenna/ Foxtel installations we suggest your roof be inspected for any damage once complete.
We install the provisions. It is your responsibility to engage a qualified electrician to install the antenna.
Fascia, Gutter & Downpipes
We recommend you clean your gutter and downpipes regularly to keep them free from debris. Gutters clogged with leaves can cause problems with water flow. It’s also worth installing mesh over your gutters if trees surround your home. For coastal homes (within 2km of the ocean), gutters and fascias must be washed down in the Summer every 3 months.
You may find that your external metal finishes will fade overtime as they are constantly being exposed to all elements, this is considered normal. If you experience any leaking in the first 12 months contact our warranties department.
Hot Water System
Your hot water system is designed with a pressure relief valve that will release water on a regular basis, so don’t worry if you see steam or water coming from the valve intermittently. Do not encase your hot water service in concrete. This must be higher than your concrete perimeter paving.
We provide a hot water service overflow drain. This drain is not to be removed or tampered with. It is important that the overflow pipe from your hot water service is directed to the overflow drain at all times.
You may experience an initial delay in receiving hot water. Please be aware that your hot water service has a water-saving device which reduces the water pressure while heating up the water. The pressure is then increased when water has reached desired heat temperature.
The frost valve on your solar panel is covered for 12 months under the manufacturer’s warranty. If you have any concerns regarding your Solar Panels within the first 12 months please contact the Warranties department. If it is past your 12 months please contact the manufacturer directly. It is important to follow the periodic maintenance steps as per the product manual. If for any reason the sensor wire, tank or gas booster are removed, it is important that this is done by a professional. A simple disconnection or damage of the low voltage sensor wire can cause damage to the entire panel system.
Driveways may seem solid, but they are designed for normal, family vehicles. Heavy vehicles should not be driven on them as this may lead to cracking or sinking. You should also avoid driving on the driveways edge for the same reasons.
If you notice hairline cracking, please monitor as this can be due to shrinkage. If the cracks open up to wider than 1.5mm in width please contact the Warranties Department.
Please keep in mind that paint, much like many other components of a home, requires maintenance to keep it looking its best and to protect the material it is applied to. All paints and varnishes differ in their minimum durability periods, so we recommend this be considered when carrying out periodic homeowner maintenance. For example, most exterior acrylics carry a minimum durability period of 3 years under normal weather conditions. However, factors such as orientation, along with levels of shelter can create different exposure levels, making particular areas more susceptible to deterioration than others.
Please note: Marks, scuffs and damage will not be covered in warranty period.
It is recommended that you coat your timber external doors annually as they are exposed to all types of weather daily. It is best that you clean your doors with a soft rag and do not use any harsh chemicals to clean the glass or frames. Homes near saltwater and doors with high weather exposure will require more frequent maintenance.
To extend the life and functionality of your sliding/ stacker door remove dirt, dust and any obstructions from the bottom track and lubricate rollers and tracks. Scratched glass or frames are not covered under the builder’s warranty.
Timber doors painted in darker colours can be more susceptible to warping. This is not a warranty defect. No guarantee is provided by the builder or manufacturer for doors painted with dark colours.
Door handles, hinges and locks work better if you clean and lubricate them regularly. If you require additional front door keys, you can attend to your local Bunnings special orders desk or an Assa Abloy approved locksmith. You will be required to take a copy of your rates or land title and a copy of the Assa Abloy new key form. Only homeowners on the rates or land titles can order new keys. When selling your home, please ensure that a copy of the Assa Abloy new homeowner registration form is passed on to your Real Estate agent.
To ensure your garage door continues to function as intended, it is recommended that you lubricate your garage door every 6 months and have it serviced annually. Be sure to clean your garage door with a hose and avoid harsh chemicals that may cause fading or damage to your door.
If you need to re-program your garage door remotes, please refer to the manufacturer’s manual. If your garage door is experiencing issues within the first 12 months, please contact the Warranties Department.
Please contact the installer directly to obtain a quote as servicing is not covered under your 12-month warranty.
To ensure window tracks glide smoothly, keep them free from sand, dirt and obstructions. This will avoid damaging the roller wheels. It is your responsibility to ensure the windows are cleaned every 3-6 months or as necessary. It is best that you clean your windows with a soft rag and do not use any harsh chemicals to clean the glass or frames. Scratched glass or frames are not covered under the builder’s warranty.
When maintaining your timber windows, it is best that you varnish them as required as they are exposed to all elements. Homes near saltwater will need to maintain all windows more regularly as the salt air can cause rusting.
If you notice that your windows are leaking in normal weather conditions within the first 12 months, please contact the Warranties department. Please contact the manufacturer directly after 12 months of being in your home. If you notice your windows are leaking in extreme weather or whilst using a hose to clean them, this is not considered to be normal weather conditions and are not covered under warranty. Some windows are manufactured with condensation weep holes, designed for normal weather conditions.
To reduce condensation, ensure your home is adequately ventilated by opening windows and using extraction fans.
Please note: condensation is not considered a defect.
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
As part of our ongoing service, an after hour’s contact is available when calling our Warranty department. A member of our team will be available to provide advice or assistance, and when required, contractors for remedial works. We have various resources available subject to the hour of your call and will be happy to assist where we can. If your situation is in fact an emergency, we recommend you contact the appropriate emergency service provider directly without delay.
Warranties Department – Contact
Phone: 03 9674 4554
Please note: in case of emergencies this phone will be answered after hours
(Police, Ambulance, Fire) 000
SES (storm-related damage/emergency situation) 132 500
Please note: that on weekends and Public holidays the availability of our trades may vary. Please also familiarise yourself with the below points should an issue arise with your property.
Your gas meter will be located at the front of your property. You can turn the gas off by turning the handle into the horizontal position. If an issue occurs within the first 12 months of being in your home, please contact the Warranties department who will arrange plumbers.
As with your gas meter, your water meter is located at the front of your property. This can be turned off by turning the handle into a horizontal position. Again, if this occurs within the first 12 months of being in your home, please contact the Warranties department.
If you have a power outage, please contact your electrical provider.
Ensure all appliances are unplugged and switch the circuits back on one at a time. If successful, commence plugging in your appliances and turning them on one by one. This will isolate any potential faults and identify whether it is related to the circuit or an appliance. For any circuit faults, please contact the Warranties department for further assistance.
Sewers can become blocked for many reasons. It is recommended you arrange the clearing of any such blockages prior to contacting the Warranties department. Build-up of wipes and other foreign material will not be covered under warranty. For any blockages caused by a building defect please contact our Warranties department.
Assa Abloy – 1300 LOCKUP (1300 562 587)
Bradnams – 1300 WINDOWS (1300 946 369)
Caesarstone – www.caesarstone.com.au
Canterbury – 1800 104 000
Crystal – (03) 9548 5588 or www.crystal-ic.com.au
Fisher & Paykel – 1300 650 590 or www.fisherpaykel.com.au
ILVE – 1300 694 583 or www.ilve.com.au
Jetmaster – www.jetmaster.com.au
Miele – 1300 464 353 – miele.com.au
RG Floors – www.rgfloors.com.au
B&D Doors – 13 62 63|
Termseal – 1300 657 822
Trackstyle – (03) 5973 6033 or www.trackstyle.com.au
Westinghouse – 13 13 49 or www.westinghouse.com.au
Xtermite – 0434 581 694
Guide to Standards and Tolerances – Victorian Building Authority
The Guide to Standards and Tolerances has been developed for homeowners and is a convenient reference tool for acceptable standard of workmanship in domestic building construction.
Get in touch
As you settle into your Homebuyers Centre home, we hope this information has answered most of your queries about our after-sales service and the care of your home.
If you still have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help.
Note: Only ABN Group Victoria approved trades & suppliers are authorised to assess and carry out warranty related repair works. Any external professional trade, supplier or manufacturer assessments or repairs on any part of the property, fixtures or fittings may void warranty claims. Any related charges will not be paid by ABN Group Victoria. For further information please contact our assist department to lodge a service inquiry on (03) 9674 4500.