Consumer Column Addresses Air Quality, Nail Pop Questions
The Pennsylvania Builders Association is bolstering its public image as a source of information for housing consumers through the publication of “Around the House.”
The column is being published at least once a month and is supplemented by a weekly consumer blog on the association’s Web site.
Each column answers at least four reader questions on topics about home maintenance, improvements and a range of other housing-related topics.
Information recently posted on the blog includes how to keep air conditioning working efficiently with regular cleaning, tips for frugal living, how to spend wisely for a useful and affordable kitchen, tips for clearing homes and garages of clutter, scraping the money together to buy a home and home owner insurance.
In the latest column, a reader with allergy problems in the family asks what can be done to improve the indoor air quality of a new home.
- Choose wood, tile or vinyl flooring, rather than carpeting, especially in bedrooms.
- Discuss options for improving the performance of the foundation with your builder. You will improve energy efficiency while reducing allergy-triggering moisture problems.
- Ask your builder to show you options for filters on the ventilation systems.
- Try to reduce your exposure to volatile organic compounds by limiting use of particleboard and plywood and by choosing carpeting and carpet padding with low levels of these compounds. Incidentally, most people exposed to volatile organic compounds breathe fumes released by paints, stains and varnishes — products that may no longer contain these compounds in Pennsylvania.
Another reader asks: “After I moved into my new home, I noticed imperfections in the drywall — nail pops. Should I be concerned about faulty installation?”
“Nail pops are fairly common in the first year of a new home’s life. Framing lumber dries out a bit, the house ‘settles’ slightly or loud noise vibrates drywall nails loose. In any case, nail pops are normal and usually not a sign of bad workmanship.
“Builders commonly address nail pops and other minor concerns when they take a walk though your home, often about a year after you have moved in. While your builder will respond quickly to emergency problems, don’t expect that he will drop everything and rush out to fix nail pops or squeaky doors.
“To fix a nail pop, your builder’s employees may remove the nail, replace it with a screw or add screws above and below into the same wall stud. You may want to watch him work, as this type of home maintenance becomes your job after the builder addresses his list from the one-year walk-through.”