Top 5 Gingerbread House Construction Problems

We do a lot of home inspections. This year, we decided to take a crack at inspecting gingerbread houses for the holidays.

…we got laughed out of the bakeries!

Alas, who doesn’t love a good gingerbread home construction? We find it’s uncanny how many gingerbread construction rules apply to real houses too! Here are the top 5 issues we found, with the real house equivalent.

1 – Moisture problems during construction
Gingerbread houses that obviously have large sections of icing between the joints were worked on too quickly. After piecing together the walls, always let your gingerbread house dry before decorating—one hour for walls, about two hours for the roof. If you have small impatient children, do this part while they’re sleeping. (Ask any contractor – it’s not a good idea to lay a concrete foundation when there is excessive rain or cold!)

2 – Moisture in Storage
We see moisture problems in gingerbread homes stored near the tea kettle, dishwasher, or humidifier. These areas tend to soften the gingerbread cookie. Molasses is a hygroscopic food, which means it readily absorbs moisture from the air. We know about moisture in real houses – it’s the stuff that breeds mould. It’s bad for cookies and bad for buildings.

3 –  Exterior Landscaping
Always decorate the house first. Landscaping will get in the way of your decorating. For good curb appeal, you want to be sure to get this right! The decorations on the home always look messy when you rush things or do them in the wrong order. (On a real home, ensuring your slope keeps water away is the real challenge – not so with gingerbread!)

4 – Roofing
To ensure a smooth roof covering, thin out the icing. Also, you can use hot water on a spatula to help you get a smooth finish. (Funny, a real roof is also best done on a hot day, to ensure the roof tiles stick!)

5 – Flavor
This is our favourite part of the gingerbread home construction. A good cookie should be crisp and flavourful and leave plenty of crumbs when crunched. The candy should be as fresh as possible, and difficult to remove from the building. If it is too easy, children will sneak pieces before the inspector has time to arrive! This one has no real house equivalent. We DO NOT recommend testing the flavour of real houses – do an indoor air quality test instead ????

Happy holidays!