Ren­o­va­tion can re­veal much

Matamata Chronicle - - Building Feature -

Af­ter ren­o­va­tion work is un­der way you can dis­cover some nasty sur­prises.

Here is a look at com­mon prob­lems dis­cov­ered be­hind walls, ceil­ings and un­der floors.

Prob­lems ex­posed

De­pend­ing on the age of your house, it’s when you start re­mov­ing wall­boards and other sec­tions of the house that you dis­cover the true state of things, for ex­am­ple:

Wiring – peo­ple com­monly dis­cover they need to re­wire be­cause the elec­tri­cal wiring and fit­tings have be­come un­safe.

This is par­tic­u­larly true for wiring in black or white rub­ber­like sheath­ing (pre-1960 houses), tim­ber con­duit (pre-1950 houses) or steel con­duit (pre-1940 houses).

Plumb­ing – cor­ro­sion of wa­ter pipes, par­tic­u­larly old gal­vanised pipes, can some­times be so bad that the whole house needs new plumb­ing, hot wa­ter retic­u­la­tion is likely to be low pres­sure, or dis­con­nected waste pipes may be emp­ty­ing into the sub­floor.

Car­pen­try – a rot­ten weath­er­board can re­veal rot­ten fram­ing when the board is re­moved, floors out of level, and se­ri­ous borer.

Cor­ro­sion – un­der flash­ings and un­der the bot­tom edge of the laps of gal­vanised steel roof­ing.

Glaz­ing – in older homes it is of­ten thin, can break eas­ily and is a safety haz­ard.

As­bestos, which could present a safety risk, may be dis­cov­ered in some ma­te­ri­als such as roof­ing, sprayed ceil­ings, ce­ment sheet­ing, and some floor cov­er­ings.

Work­ing with treated tim­ber

When work­ing with treated tim­ber, there is a risk of in­hala­tion of nox­ious fumes and dust.

Guide­lines have been put to­gether for peo­ple work­ing with light or­ganic sol­vent preser­va­tives (LOSP) or cop­per, chromium and ar­senic (CCA) treated tim­ber.

Th­ese guide­lines can be found at

The guide­lines rec­om­mend wait­ing for the preser­va­tives to dry off be­fore us­ing the treated tim­ber, but if this is not an op­tion, wear pro­tec­tive gog­gles and use a res­pi­ra­tor when cut­ting or sand­ing treated tim­ber.

You should also wash your clothes sep­a­rately from other house­hold cloth­ing and wash your hands be­fore eat­ing, drink­ing or smok­ing.

Any off-cuts should be dis­posed of in a proper land­fill.

Work­ing with as­bestos

Some older homes built be­fore 1983 may have been built with ma­te­ri­als that con­tain as­bestos.

For ex­am­ple, sprayed ceil­ings, ce­ment sheet­ing, some types of floor cov­er­ings and some roof ma­te­ri­als.

Breath­ing in dust and fi­bres con­tain­ing as­bestos can cause as­bestos-re­lated dis­eases such as mesothe­lioma (a can­cer of the chest lin­ing) and pleu­ral dis­eases (in­clud­ing fluid on the lungs, and as­besto­sis, which is scar­ring of the lungs).

Th­ese dis­eases are crip­pling, very painful and usu­ally fa­tal.

There are no known cures for as­bestos-re­lated dis­eases.

How­ever, pro­vided the ma­te­ri­als con­tain­ing as­bestos are in good con­di­tion and have a good coat of paint, there should be no health risk.

If your ren­o­va­tions in­volve re­mov­ing or sand­ing ma­te­ri­als that you sus­pect could con­tain as­bestos, or if you are un­sure what the ma­te­ri­als are made of, con­tact the health pro­tec­tion of­fi­cer of your lo­cal Dis­trict Health Board for ad­vice on iden­ti­fy­ing and man­ag­ing this ma­te­rial.

As­bestos ma­te­ri­als should only be re­moved or han­dled by a con­trac­tor ex­pe­ri­enced in this type of work. Look un­der ‘‘As­bestos’’ in the Yel­low Pages.

Other ren­o­va­tion is­sues in­clude un­sta­ble brick chim­neys, lack of sub-floor ven­ti­la­tion, no in­su­la­tion in the walls or ceil­ing, floor and fram­ing too close to the ground, foun­da­tion set­tle­ment, and in­suf­fi­cient lat­eral sup­port (brac­ing) in the sub-floor struc­ture.

It can be dif­fi­cult to bud­get a set fig­ure be­cause so much of the work is un­seen be­fore you start.

Your al­ter­ations may have to go

on hold due to ur­gent re­pair work.

A note about glaz­ing

If you are re­plac­ing glass, it must be re­placed with glass that com­plies with the Build­ing Code.

Ac­cept­able So­lu­tion F2/AS1 re­quires glaz­ing that peo­ple may fall against to com­ply with NZS 4223 Code of Prac­tice for Glaz­ing in Build­ings.

skilled trades­per­son should be knowl­edge­able about Build­ing Code re­quire­ments.

But when you are ren­o­vat­ing make sure that in ar­eas where slips are more likely – such as in bath­rooms and kitchen, or where win­dows are close to the floor or at the end of stair­wells – that the right grade of glass is used.

The New Zealand Stan­dard 4223:1999 gives min­i­mum re­quire­ments for glaz­ing in build­ings where peo­ple risk in­jury by fall­ing into the glass.

There is a range of glasses you can choose from de­pend­ing on what you want to achieve, in­clud­ing ther­mal in­su­la­tion, for ex­am­ple, dou­ble glaz­ing or tinted glass.

Things to con­sider with glass in­clude noise re­duc­tion, safety in ar­eas of im­pact risk – for ex­am­ple, safety glass – and pri­vacy and fade pro­tec­tion – for ex­am­ple, tinted glass.

Some glasses will do all of th­ese things, for ex­am­ple, dou­ble glaz­ing, which is made us­ing two sheets of glass with an air cav­ity be­tween, to re­duce heat loss and con­den­sa­tion. The ad­van­tage of dou­ble glaz­ing is that you can have more win­dow space with­out heat loss, and the house is cooler in sum­mer. It can be tinted and tough­ened and re­duces noise from out­side.

Other points to note about dif­fer­ent types of glass:

In­su­lat­ing glass is avail­able that has an in­su­lat­ing coat­ing;

Glass de­signed spe­cially to re­duce noise is made from two sheets of glass bonded to­gether;

Safety glass should be used in those ar­eas where falls are likely, for ex­am­ple, ranch slid­ers, shower en­clo­sures, or around stairs.

Glass spe­cially strength­ened to de­ter break-ins is avail­able. It is re­sis­tant to break­ing if hit with ob­jects such as a ham­mer.

Self-clean­ing glass is avail­able. It is use­ful for ex­ter­nal win­dows that are hard to reach.

Dec­o­ra­tive glass is avail­able for spe­cial ef­fect, such as frosted, lead­light, coloured or tex­tured.

There are also glass bricks for walls, par­ti­tions and spe­cial ef­fect.

Be­fore you de­cide on which type of glass should go where, find out what is avail­able and talk with your de­signer to de­cide the best type of glass for each area of the house.

Keep your mind open to in­ter­est­ing and in­no­va­tive ways to make your new home at­trac­tive and en­ergy-ef­fi­cient.

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