Leakage alert – houses built between the late 1980s and mid-2000s

You probably have wondered why so many houses in New Zealand are wrapped in white plastic foil. They must be new right? Unfortunately, the explanation is not so bright. The wrapping can be the sign of a leaky home.

If you are looking for buying a house or even just rent one, you are very much advised to watch out to avoid leaky homes. Leaky homes were mainly built in the 1980’s – 2000’s. The construction of the houses, the material that were used looked promising for some years. However in the 1990’s the used plaster-style monolithic cladding system started to show some alarming faults, not being able to bare the local weather conditions. These houses let moisture from outside in the house, that makes the main structure of the house begin to rotten. It leads to fungus and other harmful bacteria living in the walls.  Since the cladding covers the whole house changing it means not only high financial costs, but an inhabitable property for the time of the maintenance.

When you are looking for a home be aware that these features might put the house to a higher risk of leakage:

  • Flat roofs, or roofs with parapets
  • Roof to wall junctions
  • Pergola fixings
  • Handrail fixings
  • Lack of flashings to windows and penetrations
  • Decks over living areas
  • Balustrade to deck or balustrade to wall junctions
  • Clearances at bottom of claddings
  • Level of ground outside is above interior floor level

You probably have a leaky home if you spot any of these in your home:

  • sagging of ceiling linings
  • corrosion of fixings such as screws and nails
  • uneven floor surfaces, like the lifting of vinyl
  • mould or fungi formation on surfaces (although this is often due to poor ventilation)
  • musty smells
  • swollen materials such as skirtings and architraves
  • staining or discolouration of materials or surfaces
  • stained or rotting carpet, or rusting of carpet fixings.

Please note that the reason of these problems can be an internal leakage of the plumbing system, in which case the house is not leaky. The house is leaky only when it lets outer moisture in.

Before choosing a property make sure to ask your real estate agent and the neighbours whether the house has shown any sign of a leaky home beforehand. To be absolutely sure you can ask for professional help by requiring independent building inspection or assistance of a weather-tightness expert.

 

Information Retrieved from:
https://www.building.govt.nz/resolving-problems/resolution-options/weathertight-services/signs-of-a-leaky-home/
https://www.settled.govt.nz/buying-a-home/researching-the-property/learning-about-leaky-buildings/

 

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