Tartan Design Centre
If additional electrical and gas appliance upgrades are purchased in a new home, connections to mechanical and electrical systems are the purchaser’s responsibility. Contact the supplier to arrange for these installations which would occur after you close. Carefully review the manufacturer’s installation, operation and maintenance instructions prior to installing and operating appliances. File all warranty registrations with the applicable manufacturer. If service is required, contact the manufacturers’ local service agents.
Cabinets should be cared for similar to furniture products. On a regular basis, cabinet doors and interiors should be cleaned with a damp, soft cloth and dried after exposure to water. Grease splatters should be removed from surfaces as soon as possible. Spray waxes with Naphtha should be avoided since their chemical composition could react poorly with moisture and result in a milky appearance in the finish.
As with furniture, finishes may appear to fade over time depending on exposure to sunlight. Where natural or composite wood products are used to manufacture cabinets, shade, texture and tonal characteristics may vary between doors and other components. As with other wood products, cabinet materials and components are affected by humidity levels and temperature variations. Those cabinet doors which are located directly above or next to appliances will fade in colour before the other doors. Where plastic laminate materials are used in cabinet construction and finishes, refer to care and maintenance suggestions under the heading Countertops.
Cabinet assemblies and the structures supporting them may be affected by material shrinkage that can result in gaps, cracking, changes in alignments and separation from adjacent walls and ceilings. Unless excessive, these conditions are generally considered normal and are easily repaired with caulking by the homeowner.
In time, it may be necessary to make minor adjustments to keep doors properly aligned. Adjustments are made by loosening or tightening screws in the hinge assembly.
Standard kitchen and vanity countertops are either manufactured from a long-lasting composite-type plastic laminate material or from manufactured stone. Only damage specifically identified on the Pre-Delivery Inspection report is eligible for warranty coverage.
Damage resulting from normal wear and tear is excluded from the warranty. To prolong the appearance and peformance of kitchen and vanity countertops, Tartan Homes recommends:
Quartz (Cambria Quartz):
Drywall is the interior gypsum board-based finishing system used to cover wall and ceiling surfaces inside the home. Usually 1/2-inch thick, the sheets are fastened to the interior wood framing followed by the installation of metal corner reinforcements and the application of different coats of tape and joint compounds to cover fastenings, joints and corners.
Final coats of joint compound are sanded smooth so that base and finish paint coatings may be applied. During the adjustment period, material shrinkage and settlement of the structure may result in drywall cracking at the joints and nail pops where fastenings appear as small bumps or depressions along the face of finished gypsum board. This condition is common to wood frame construction and is not considered to be a defect in materials or work.
Nail pops or unsightly cracks that are readily noticeable when viewed under normal lighting conditions from a normal viewing position from the wall will be completed by Tartan Homes once, at the end of the first year of occupancy. The homeowner is responsible for sanding and reapplying paint to repaired areas. Drywall damage reported at the time of the Pre-Delivery Inspection will be considered for warranty coverage.
Drywall installed on ceilings, even after being put in place according to the Ontario Building Code, may appear to sag, bulge or be wavy, often because of lighting conditions or glossy finishes. Spray-applied textures and matte finishes minimize this condition. However, if ceiling sags or waves vary from the specified plane by more than 12 millimetres, Tartan Homes will make repairs.
Ceiling/wall joint separation, commonly referred to as “truss uplift,” is considered acceptable if cracks are less than 4 millimetres in width. It may occur when outdoor temperatures are considerably colder than indoor temperatures and can appear as a minor crack or a larger gap. Cracks or gaps in excess of 4 millimetres will be repaired by Tartan Homes. Repairs should be delayed until the truss returns to its original position.
Joints in interior trim and moulding are tight fitting at the time of installation but minor gaps may appear because of normal shrinkage of materials during drying after construction. This condition is excluded from warranty coverage unless gaps or cracks are in excess of 1.5 millimetres. Gaps exceeding 1.5 mm will be repaired by Tartan Homes once, at the end of the first year of occupancy.
Circuit Breaker Panel
The circuit breaker electrical panel is usually found on a wall in the basement and contains circuit breakers with switches for the electrical circuits throughout the home. The legend printed on the electrical panel should be marked to indicate which outlets in the home are protected by the applicable numbered circuit breaker. Circuit breakers are intended to be left in the ON position for normal working circuits. Under some conditions, circuit breakers disengage to the OFF position, severing power from the circuit. When this happens, the switch may not fully retract to the OFF position and appear to be ON. To confirm, manually move the switch to fully OFF and then to fully ON.
Circuit breakers that have been disengaged automatically are referred to as tripped breakers. These may simply be the result of an appliance overload. However, breakers tripped repeatedly may be the result of a more serious condition or defective appliance that may cause damage or fire. In this case, the condition should be checked by a qualified electrician.
Where an outlet or appliance does not appear to have power, the circuit breaker should be checked to confirm that the applicable breaker is ON. Electric kitchen stoves normally contain electrical fuses within the appliance. Where the stove does not appear to have power, check fuses in the stove, as well as the circuit breaker and review the manufacturer’s operation and maintenance manual.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) or (GFI)
New homes are equipped with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFI) for specific circuits to reduce the risk of electrical shock caused by a ground fault in electrical tools and appliances. The GFI receptacle is intended to protect exterior electrical outlets and bathroom outlets.
The exterior GFI receptacle is usually located at the circuit panel or at one of the exterior outlets. The interior bathroom GFI receptacle is usually located in one of the bathrooms. The GFI receptacle has two buttons at the center of the outlet. One black button for test and one red button for reset. GFIs should be tested monthly in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Avoid handling electrical equipment or cords with wet hands or around moisture. Repair or replace damaged fixtures, fittings and cords. When planning amendments, alterations or expansion to the electrical systems, use the services of a qualified electrician. Repeated failure of electrical circuits should be checked by a qualified electrician.
Natural Gas Fireplace
The Natural Gas Fireplace is considered a gas-fired appliance. Review the manufacturer’s operation and maintenance manual for safe, efficient performance of the fireplace.
The flooring in your new home is a combination of hardwood flooring, carpeting, resilient flooring, ceramic tile and marble.
To protect flooring from denting, scratching and tearing, put glides or rests under furniture and appliances and do not drag or drop heavy or sharp objects across the floors. The Ontario New Home Warranty Program’s publication “What Every New Home Buyer Should Know” contains useful information about care and maintenance of all types of flooring.
Changes in height between different flooring materials sometimes occur, caused by material thickness and/or installation methods. Standard practice is to install a transition strip of material such as wood, metal or marble to ease the change in height. These strips do not constitute a tripping hazard and may be used at the builder’s discretion.
Hardwood Flooring is normally made from kiln-dried hardwood that is finished on site or in a factory. As with other wood products, hardwood flooring may be affected by humidity levels that can cause shrinkage and expose gaps between the boards. The homeowner is responsible for maintaining indoor humidity levels through humidification, ventilation, air conditioning or dehumidification. A hydrometer can be used to monitor indoor humidity.
Where humidity levels are excessive, the wood may swell and result in buckling, cupping (high edges), crowning (center strip is higher than the edges) or lifting of the boards, conditions that are not warrantable. Extended direct exposure to sunlight will result in colour fading, discolouration and earlier-than-normal drying of the wood; areas around heat registers may be more susceptible to damage. All of these conditions are also non-warrantable. If the floor cups or crowns, the homeowner should wait for the floor to correct itself in an environment of stable humidity before sanding. Immediate sanding may cause serious damage to the hardwood.
Wood is a natural product and variation in colour and grain pattern from one piece of flooring to another is considered normal. Reflected light, particularly from large windows, magnifies irregularities in a floor and should not determine acceptance. Knots
are natural characteristics of wood and are acceptable within the specified grade.
Hardwood, if cared for properly, should last a lifetime. Regularly sweep or vacuum dirt and grit from the floor, then clean it with a damp mop, using a mild detergent if necessary. The floor should be dried immediately after the damp mopping. Over time, the floor may become scratched and marked. This can be corrected by contacting a floor refinishing company that will sand and refinish the entire floor area.
Cracks up to 2 millimetres in width are considered acceptable. They can be filled with wood filler by the homeowner to give the flooring a more pleasing appearance.
The ceramic tile found most commonly in entranceways and bathrooms, and sometimes in kitchens and family rooms, is made from quarry tile, glazed ceramics, slate or marble. Joints between tiles are filled with grout.
Homeowners should avoid dropping heavy objects on tiles, which could result in cracks. Tiles can be cleaned with mild soap and water. If caulking comes loose, consult a building supply store for the appropriate replacement. Tartan Homes will repair any severe cracks or separations once at the end of the first year.
Ceramic tiles, whether on walls or floors, are simple to clean. They can be wiped with a damp cloth or washed with soapy water and rinsed. Excessive water should not be applied to grout joints, which can break down and loosen. The builder will replace broken or damaged tile recorded during the pre-occupancy inspection.
The builder will replace defective tiles but it should be noted that it is not always possible to perfectly match the colour of new and existing tiles or the grout between the tiles. The builder will not normally remove and re-tile whole areas due to colour lot variations. Avoid using harsh abrasive cleaning products. Where sealants such as caulking are used, caulking that becomes cracked to separated should be removed, dried and replaced to avoid moisture penetration and damage.
Marble and Agglomerated Marble
Marble is natural stone polished to a high lustre. It is normal to see veins, small cracks and colour variations. Agglomerated marble is a similar material that has been manufactured from natural stone that tends to exhibit less veins, cracking and colour variation.
As a ceramic, marble is brittle and may be damaged by impacts from hard objects and its polished finish is easily damaged. Marble products can be cleaned similar to ceramic tiles. Never use cleaning compounds or products that contain acid such as lemon or vinegar. Scratches can be masked with glass wax or liquid car polish.
Variation in Colour Occurring During Floor Repairs
Variation between dye lots within a specified colour or pattern is normal. Spare original material may be left in the residence for future repairs at the builder’s discretion. Where a dye lot match is unavailable, material may be removed and used for repair from another inconspicuous location.
Floor and Stair Squeaks
Over time, the kiln-dried lumber or engineered system used to build your floors and stairs will dry out and shrink slightly, causing occasional floor and stair squeaks. These are common to all forms of wood frame construction and are not considered a defect. Squeaks may appear and subside on their own over time, however, completely squeak-free floor systems are not possible with conventional wood frame residential construction.
Low-humidity indoor environments can cause excessive shrinkage in the wood, resulting in loose floor and stair connections. Homeowners must maintain indoor humidity levels to prevent excessive drying of materials and even then, squeak-free stairs may not be attainable.
Floor Humps and Dips
Other conditions, which may result from the drying period in floor systems, include humps or sags from joists that tend to buckle and twist. This condition is relatively common and may result in minor slopes in your floors. Generally, a slope of 1/4 inch in 8 feet of length is considered acceptable. Where slopes substantially exceed this range, report the condition in writing to Tartan Homes within the first year of the warranty period and the builder will conduct an inspection.
Concrete surfaces, including basement and garage floors, may show varied texture, pitting, powder-like deposits and minor cracks, none of which should be cause for concern. Concrete floors naturally crack during curing due to shrinkage. Cracks greater in width than 2 millimetres, roughly the thickness of a 25-cent coin, will be repaired by Tartan Homes. Where repairs are necessary, colour and/or texture may not match the surrounding concrete.
Concrete may appear to be coated in powder-like white dust. This is usually a form of salt compound used in the concrete manufacturing process and may appear over time as the material cures and strengthens. The powder can usually be removed by brush. Should the purchaser wish to paint the concrete floor, consult with a local paint supplier about products that can be applied and continue to allow the concrete curing process. Tartan Homes recommends concrete floors not be painted for at least one year after installation.
Should your floor become damp, the condition will be repaired under your home warranty but only if there is an accumulation of water; dampness and condensation are not warranted. Homeowners must take immediate steps to prevent damage to their property and report any losses to their home insurance provider. A thorough investigation prior to construction and during excavation will assist in determining whether ground water levels may adversely affect the use of the building.
This section of the manual describes the HVAC system of your home. HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning. It is very important that you gain a general understanding of your home’s HVAC operations; improper use can result in excessive humidity and related problems of condensation and mould.
The HVAC system in your home is very energy efficient. It will provide you with optimal indoor air quality and requires very little maintenance.
The components of your HVAC system include:
Freehold family homes (singles, semis or townhomes):
If you notice condensation build-up on the inside of your windows, or if you experience the air as particularly humid, you are advised to undertake any or all of the following:
During your PDI a Tartan representative will give you a thorough demonstration on how to set and control the HVAC system. He or she will also provide you with the manufacturers’ manuals and all the contact information you might need for emergency service calls.
Your new home has been insulated with blown fibreglass insulation in the ceiling and fibreglass batts in the walls, basement and cathedral ceilings as well as exterior rigid foam insulation. The insulating system also includes vapour air barriers and sealants. Together, this system exceeds the minimum requirements of the Ontario Building Code. Unless damaged in some way, most insulation products should retain their thermal resistance properties for many years.
Attic insulation is applied to spaces using loose material that is blown in mechanically. Sometimes batt insulation is also used depending on the design of the roof and ceiling. Where loose material is used, it should be checked periodically, especially after violent winds, to confirm the layer remains relatively uniform in thickness. Attic insulation should not be crushed by storing items on top of it, an action that is not covered by your warranty.
Should you need to inspect insulation in the attic, note that the spaces between structural members will not support a person’s weight. When redistributing or adding insulation ensure the material remains loose because compressing insulation reduces its insulating value. Ensure also that the soffit venting spaces remain unobstructed.
Few houses are completely draft free. At times, usually during extreme weather, some air can be forced into the home through openings such as exterior electrical outlets, door weather stripping and the chimney.
If air leakage into your home is excessive, advise the builder in writing during the first year of the warranty period so arrangements may be made to inspect and, if necessary, correct the problem.
Door assemblies usually contain wood or composite wood materials in their manufacture. As with all wood products, they can be affected by temperature and moisture conditions, which may result in doors that fit tightly or loosely within the frame assembly.
During the first months of occupancy there will be some shrinkage and settling of the wood framing. It is therefore best to wait at least 6 months before adjusting or planing interior doors. Planing may void the manufacturer’s warranty. Usually, doors tend to re-align themselves after the initial settlement and shrinkage period. However, if the condition is excessive and persists, the builder will make adjustments at the end of the first year of the warranty period.
Most hardware products are finished with a plating process but over time and even under normal use, the plating will show wear. Homeowners should lubricate door locks and handle mechanisms at six-month intervals using a powdered graphite type lubricant rather than oil-based products. Under normal use and with periodic maintenance, lock mechanisms should perform for several years.
All Tartan Homes have Energy efficient LED light bulbs throughout.
Replacement of light bulbs in all lighting fixtures is the purchaser’s responsibility. In enclosed lighting fixtures, avoid using bulbs greater than the manufacturer’s recommendation. When in doubt, refer to the notice affixed inside most fixtures that identifies the type of bulb the fixture is designed to use.
Some exterior lighting fixtures may be controlled by a light-sensitive photo-electric switch located somewhere on the house exterior. This switch automatically activates connected lighting at dusk or when darkness falls. If this type of switching is a requirement of a site or subdivision agreement with municipal authorities, expired bulbs should be replaced when necessary.
Tartan Homes coats walls, ceilings, trim work and doors with quality paints and finishes. Railings, mantles and hardwood flooring are coated with natural wood finishes, unless painted, to enhance natural characteristics of wood products. Some wood surfaces may be factory finished.
Defective work observed and recorded during the Pre-Delivery Inspection will be corrected by the builder.
After your home has been occupied, repainting and touch-up work may not exactly match existing work either in colour or sheen. Natural lighting throughout the day may change the appearance of a properly painted surface. Brush marks are acceptable in cut in areas and on trim and may vary in appearance with paint type. Repainted areas shall match the original finished surface for colour, sheen and texture as closely as possible. Tartan will not paint over plaster touch-ups done at Year-End.
Exterior windows and other components may require periodic repainting, including doors, door frames, wood louvers and permashield trim panels.
As in all homes, plumbing systems in new residences require care and maintenance to ensure they continue to function properly and dependably. Your plumbing systems consists of the following components:
Main Shut-Off Valve
The Main Shut-Off Valve for water service to the home is usually located in the basement, adjacent to the water meter and towards the front of the home. If a leak in the plumbing develops, close the shut-off valve immediately to reduce the risk of water damage. Report the problem to Tartan’s Service Department.
Basement Floor Drain
This drain is usually located in the area of the basement containing the water heater. It is covered with a small grate and should be filled with water periodically to reduce the risk of sewage type odours escaping from the plumbing trap beneath the floor.
Basement Sewage Back-Up
If a sewage back-up occurs in the basement during the warranty period, contact the Service Department so that the lateral sewer line may be inspected and, if necessary, cleared of obstruction. If the obstruction is construction related Tartan will make repairs free of charge.
If a toilet becomes blocked and does not drain during the first two weeks of occupancy, contact the Service Department to have a plumbing professional inspect the toilet assembly and drainage system. Problems that are construction related will be repaired by the builder; other problems are the responsibility of the homeowner. Should toilets become blocked later, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to contact and pay a plumbing specialist.
The water heater unit is normally a natural gas-fuelled appliance rented from the local gas providing authority. This can be confirmed by checking the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. If a problem develops with the water heater, contact the gas providing authority directly for service. Maintain normal heat settings for domestic use.
Plumbing vents provide ventilation to portions of the plumbing drainage system and help exhaust sewage gas odours from the system. They normally outlet through the roof as composite plastic piping. If a sewage-like odour is observed, it may be the result of a blockage to the vent, most often caused by excessive snow accumulation or bird or squirrel nests. Blockages should be removed to restore proper ventilation. Tartan Homes recommends that you call a professional roofer to examine and eliminate the problem.
Plumbing fixtures are the sinks, basins, toilets, showers and bathtubs that are part of the plumbing system. Their smooth surfaces should be cleaned regularly with mild non-abrasive cleaners using generous amounts of water.
Chips and scratches on enamel surfaces that are reported on the PDI will be repaired by Tartan’s contractor, who will provide a one-year warranty from time of repair. Tartan will not replace tubs or showers unless advised to do so by our contractor.
All fixtures are covered by a one-year warranty on work and materials and must be maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Damage resulting from improper maintenance and damage not reported on the PDI Report, including chipped or cracked porcelain, enamel or fibreglass surfaces, is excluded from warranty coverage.
When caring for plumbing fixtures, avoid:
Newer low-volume toilets that are required for new homes by the Ontario Building Code use less water to flush waste than older models, making their operation more sensitive to the effects of the amount of waste, amount of paper and volume of water in the tank. In some cases, multiple flushes may be required.
Faucets and controls are usually finished with a high-lustre chrome material, which may be wiped as necessary with a soft, damp cloth. Use only warm water to remove dry water spots. Avoid using cleaners that contain abrasives or harsh chemicals that could damage the finish and void warranty coverage. Avoid using alcohol based or other organic solvents.
Wax polish may be applied to surfaces periodically to facilitate regular cleaning.
Basins and bathtubs are normally equipped with pop-up type drain stoppers that should be removed periodically to remove accumulations or obstructions and ensure drainage is normal and pop-up mechanisms operate properly.
Aerators and filters in faucets and shower heads should be removed and cleaned regularly to remove particles in water systems that can accumulate and restrict water flow. Water connections and drainage systems for optional equipment such as ice-makers and humidifiers should also be inspected and maintained in accordance with the manufacturers’ printed instructions.
In some cases, according to the provisions of the agreement of purchase and sale, the builder provides roughed-in systems to accommodate future installations of systems or products such as a central vacuum. This section summarizes what is normally included with roughed-in systems.
Central Vacuum Rough-In
Homes with a central vacuum rough-in are equipped with a number of outlets in finished areas of the home. The outlets are normally connected to a composite plastic piping distribution system which is terminated in the basement for future connection of a central vacuum system.
When the home has a dishwasher rough-in, there is an opening in the base of the kitchen cabinets to accommodate future installations of a standard size built-in type dishwasher. Plumbing waste rough-in is usually close to the kitchen sink waste pipe for future connection. An electrical wire is placed with one end either stapled to the sub floor under a dishwasher cabinet or suspended under the floor within a floor system space. The other end of the wire is normally coiled at or near the electrical system circuit panel. The wire is not connected to a breaker for electrical safety.
Rough-in systems, whether for mechanical, electrical, communications or otherwise, usually require finishing components and connections in order to function as a complete system. These are not provided by the builder.
Smoke detector & Carbon Monoxide detector alarms provided with new homes require minimal maintenance. However, they should be tested in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and should be cleaned regularly with a vacuum cleaner to ensure intake openings remain free of
dust, grease or other obstructions which might impair proper operation. Most detection equipment is connected to the home’s electrical system for power. If your smoke detector begins beeping for no apparent reason, change the battery if applicable and refer to the manufacturer’s manual for reset instructions to avoid an unnecessary service call.