If you notice any small cracks in your plasterwork or joinery, there is no need to be alarmed. Shrinkage cracks are a normal occurrence in newly built homes and not a sign of structural problems or poor construction.

Shrinkage cracks are a natural part of the drying out process. Building materials are exposed to a lot of moisture during the construction of your home. Different materials dry out at different rates, which can lead to minor cracking.

Shrinkage is accelerated by heat, so use your central heating sparingly and avoid turning it up to the highest setting. Leaving your windows open (or at least the vents within their frames) will help to ventilate your home and allow moisture to evaporate naturally.

The length of time it takes a house to dry out varies, based on when it was built and the prevailing weather conditions. Typically, it will take around nine months to a year.

Minor cracks are perfectly normal in a new home and are not covered by your warranty. Cracks that are more than 3mm wide (the width of a pound coin) are included and will be repaired on your request.

Minor cracks can easily be filled with a flexible filler and then painted over when you first decorate. See Painting and Decorating for step-by-step instructions.