LEAKY LUCK: How to tell if you have a leaky building

Nov 11, 2020 | News

We are all familiar with the term ‘leaky home’. From the mid-1990s some houses were designed and constructed in ways that did not hold up to New Zealand’s best building guidelines. Certain materials and designs allow water to enter the home and do severe damage. Leaky homes can be very difficult to fix as mould and fungal growth can cause ongoing damage to the home – and to your health.

These are some of the most common indications of a leaky home:

If the ceiling lining is sagging, it could indicate that water has been in the roof cavity and could still be present. It may have warped the ceiling and you might even notice water stains or circles where it has dripped through and dried.

Check for the corrosion of fixings such as screws and nails. If screws and nails have spent a long time being wet, and have not had a chance to completely dry, they deteriorate.

Check for uneven floor surfaces, like the lifting of vinyl, and warped lining boards. This indicates that water has penetrated and softened the floor.

In leaky buildings it is common to see mould or fungi as the wet areas are a perfect breeding ground for these things. In saying this, mould and fungi can also commonly be found in places with poor ventilation, so it is always advised to keep a window slightly open in bathrooms, etc.

The smell of rotting carpet or a ‘musty’ smell is frequently noted at leaky homes. This is due to water penetrating the home in places it should not be and the rotting process has begun.

You can check for swollen materials such as skirtings and architraves to see if water has made them warp or bend. This indicates a serious problem.

The unexplained staining or discolouration of materials or surfaces is also a warning bell. Water can damage things permanently. Always check for stained or rotting carpet, or rusting of carpet fixings and anything else that looks like water damage.