New home buyers frequently have a lot of questions relating to home warranties and what they cover. Some local builders offer a ten year structural warranty but the number of years required is not defined in the state statutes. Almost all builders offer a one year interior warranty but one builder also offers a two year warranty. Most Alaskan home builders and remodelers follow the warranty standards established by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) which are identified in the ‘Residential Construction Performance Guidelines’ booklet. The booklet costs $75 and you do not need to be a member of NAHB in order to purchase a copy. But, like most everything, the devil is in the details so here are some warranty concerns and fixes as established by the NAHB.
 
The observation is the wood subfloor squeaks or seems loose. The performance guideline states that although a totally ‘squeak-proof floor cannot be guaranteed, frequent loud squeaks are considered a deficiency’. The corrective measure is that the contractor will refasten or take other corrective action of any improperly installed or loose subfloor. However, this corrective action does not include removing the floor or ceiling finishes which may come as a surprise to a new homeowner. Another concern buyers may have is that a wood subfloor is not level. The performance guideline is that the floor should not slope more than one half inch in 20 feet. Deflections due to overloading by the consumer are not the contractor’s responsibility. Also, measurements for slope should be made across the room, not in a small area.
 
We have all heard about septic system failures. Most occur over time but occasionally there is one that may be improperly installed. The performance guideline is that the septic system should function as designed and approved by the applicable local governing authority which is the Municipality of Anchorage. It is the contractor’s responsibility to correct any problem caused by improper installation. However, the consumer is responsible for the proper maintenance of the system. If consumer action is the cause, the consumer is responsible for correcting the problem. For example, placement of non-biodegradable or nominally biodegradable items should not be flushed and even excessive use of a food waste disposal can create a problem. Also, adding a fourth bedroom to a septic system designed for a three bedroom home can also create serious problems caused by the consumer. This problem frequently occurs where a homeowner takes it upon himself to finish a basement by adding a fourth bedroom, not realizing his original septic system was installed for a three bedroom home. Few homeowners go to the trouble of upgrading their septic system when remodeling particularly when they are doing it themselves. 
 
There are thousands of parts to our Alaskan homes and virtually 99% of those parts are imported. Alaska does not manufacture home building products so that is always an added risk not only for the consumer but the home builder. What is most important, however, is understanding what is a warranty issue, what is the appropriate fix and whether or not the problem has been created by the consumer.

New home buyers frequently have a lot of questions relating to home warranties and what they cover. Some local builders offer a ten year structural warranty but the number of years required is not defined in the state statutes. Almost all builders offer a one year interior warranty but one builder also offers a two year warranty. Most Alaskan home builders and remodelers follow the warranty standards established by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) which are identified in the ‘Residential Construction Performance Guidelines’ booklet. The booklet costs $75 and you do not need to be a member of NAHB in order to purchase a copy. But, like most everything, the devil is in the details so here are some warranty concerns and fixes as established by the NAHB. 

The observation is the wood subfloor squeaks or seems loose. The performance guideline states that although a totally ‘squeak-proof floor cannot be guaranteed, frequent loud squeaks are considered a deficiency’. The corrective measure is that the contractor will refasten or take other corrective action of any improperly installed or loose subfloor. However, this corrective action does not include removing the floor or ceiling finishes which may come as a surprise to a new homeowner. Another concern buyers may have is that a wood subfloor is not level. The performance guideline is that the floor should not slope more than one half inch in 20 feet. Deflections due to overloading by the consumer are not the contractor’s responsibility. Also, measurements for slope should be made across the room, not in a small area. 

We have all heard about septic system failures. Most occur over time but occasionally there is one that may be improperly installed. The performance guideline is that the septic system should function as designed and approved by the applicable local governing authority which is the Municipality of Anchorage. It is the contractor’s responsibility to correct any problem caused by improper installation. However, the consumer is responsible for the proper maintenance of the system. If consumer action is the cause, the consumer is responsible for correcting the problem. For example, placement of non-biodegradable or nominally biodegradable items should not be flushed and even excessive use of a food waste disposal can create a problem. Also, adding a fourth bedroom to a septic system designed for a three bedroom home can also create serious problems caused by the consumer. This problem frequently occurs where a homeowner takes it upon himself to finish a basement by adding a fourth bedroom, not realizing his original septic system was installed for a three bedroom home. Few homeowners go to the trouble of upgrading their septic system when remodeling particularly when they are doing it themselves.  

There are thousands of parts to our Alaskan homes and virtually 99% of those parts are imported. Alaska does not manufacture home building products so that is always an added risk not only for the consumer but the home builder. What is most important, however, is understanding what is a warranty issue, what is the appropriate fix and whether or not the problem has been created by the consumer.