Leaky Homes – the facts
What causes leaky buildings?
A lot is written about the causes of leaky buildings, and a lot of assumptions are made. Leaking occurs on some buildings when the design or the construction method does not provide adequate watertightness. In these buildings as the water can’t escape moisture levels rise, rot forms, and deterioration starts eventually weakening the structure of the building.
How did this happen?
Leaky building issues started in the early 1990s, with the trend towards using monolithic cladding on homes. More traditional weatherboard houses allowed any moisture that entered the cladding system to escape or naturally dry out.
The new style of ‘monolithic cladding systems’ such as render on cement sheeting, were frequently applied incorrectly and plaster started cracking from movement, allowing water to pass into the cladding system, but not allowing it to dry out.
What is now being found is that a lot of the problems generate from the joins between the cladding and the decking or penetration area. Or the use of some inflexible decking methods cause cracking and moisture entry. Aluminium window design or flashing methods contribute to moisture ingress.
Compounding the problem was that many of these buildings were built with untreated timber so when the rot set in, it became an even bigger problem to fix.
Some design elements of these buildings have been recognised as contributing causes to allowing water to enter in.
The is no shortage in finding contributing areas of fault all adding to blame and finger pointing.
Solutions that help:
If you have had a Builders report done that has given you major concern you should read this first, before you make any decision!
Our approach has three categories:
- Repairing and Re-instatement
- Future maintenance
Eliminating the problems with the use of next-generation waterproofing products is a starting point to help prevent moisture ingress problems from reoccurring.
Where the damage has already affected the framing, maybe rotted out some areas, these may need a comprehensive repair, but many of these homes have not reached this level and may only have areas that “leak” which can be repaired.
Isolating these risk areas is the key. Adopting the right sequence of steps is the next process, this will include testing to provide actual data, application of the right products to the affected areas and measuring the results.
Watertightness areas that are at risk that we can address:
- Cracking Large or hairline cracks in the cladding, typically found close to windows and doors or discolouration of cladding around these areas.
- Joinery Cracks along the joinery seals which can allow water ingress.
- Penetrations All penetrations in the cladding, for example around pipes, vents and meterboxes, gaps and lack of any sealant. Flashing of meterboxes. Lack of flashing or reliance on poor quality sealant may allow water to penetrate.
- Joints Gaps or lifting sections in cladding joints
- Pergolas Pergola frame penetrating the cladding or direct fixed through the cladding may result in water ingress.
- Windows Window flashings are not always correctly installed. Round, shaped or corner windows are difficult to flash, increasing the risk of water ingress.
- Enclosed Balcony / Cantilever Deck Enclosed balconies and cantilever decks have a multitude of risks.
- Hand railings attached through the plaster cladding;
- Poorly applied waterproof membrane; delaminating on lap joints or movement of the panels
- Pooling of areas after rain
Testing Your Home:
We have an alliance with Mike Winton, Steam Ltd, to get a more scientific evaluation of a house’s moisture problems, if any, prior to solutions offered.
As a Moisture Damage Technician, Mike offers better ways to determine real issues.
If you would like more information on having your home tested for moisture or leaks please call Mike on 0275 578 766.
The same leaky issues are often evident in the bigger monolithic clad apartment blocks.
We are aware that under the new Unit Titles Act all bodies corporate must have a long term maintenance plan (LTMP) in place and that it must be for a minimum of 10 years and reviewed every 2 years.
It makes far more financial sense to apply better products and extend the maintenance period as much as possible.
The waterproofing products and the Elastomeric topcoats that we use are designed for performance and durability.
For Body Corporates we do the same thorough assessment and quote and endeavour to accommodate for committee members that are not as familiar with these systems. We can meet on site and discuss exactly what is recommended
For further information…