Sneaky leaks irk home­own­ers

Northern Outlook - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS -

Lit­tle frus­trates the pa­tience of a home­owner more than the un­ex­plained ap­pear­ance of a slow wa­ter leak.

There may be no ob­vi­ous source for this alarm­ing oc­cur­rence which can leave the oc­cu­pant ag­o­nis­ing over the cause of this spread­ing damp­ness which threat­ens to in­vade the in­te­rior of the dwelling.

The fact of the mat­ter is that wa­ter can travel a long dis­tance and iso­lat­ing a point of ori­gin can be con­found­ing.

It may be nec­es­sary to open some walls and work your way back un­til you can find the source. Be­fore talk­ing dras­tic mea­sures, ex­plore any roof spa­ces first and check for cracks or gaps into which wa­ter might be seep­ing.

There might be a sim­pler ex­pla­na­tion. Wa­ter can some­times pool at the edges of a bath. Check to en­sure it is caulked and sloped into the tub. Ex­am­ine taps, valves and shower heads for places where wa­ter could leak and run back into the wall.

Fill the tub to the top and make sure the over­flow doesn’t leak.

Some­times con­den­sa­tion ac­cu­mu­lates on pipes above the bath­room and drips down.

The first and most log­i­cal place to look is on and un­der the roof. You might get lucky if you in­spect rafters and the un­der­side of roof sheath­ing by find­ing dark stains where wa­ter has leaked.

Per­haps have some­one spray the roof with a garden hose, start­ing at the eaves and work­ing up the roof. If there is an at­tic, look to see if and where, wa­ter is mak­ing its way in.

Sim­i­larly, if you sus­pect a win­dow or door might be let­ting in wa­ter, have some­one spray it from the out­side while you check the out­come inside.

Hope­fully, the rogue leak will not be an in­di­ca­tion that you have a leaky home. Some homes built dur­ing the mid-1990s and later failed to meet the New Zealand Build­ing Code. Un­able to with­stand New Zealand’s weather con­di­tions, they al­lowed un­wanted wa­ter to in­vade the house.

They were of­ten built with un­treated tim­ber or con­tained de­sign fea­tures like flat roofs with in­ap­pro­pri­ate cladding.

The chances are that a newly de­vel­oped leak will not be ev­i­dence of a leaky home but it pays to be vig­i­lant and have the house checked by a trades­man.

Signs of a leaky home in­clude leaks, wall or ceil­ing sag­ging as mois­ture ac­cu­mu­lates, rusty screws and nails, warped floor sur­faces, mould, fungi or musty smells, swollen build­ing ma­te­ri­als, rot­ten or stained car­pet, and large cracks ap­pear­ing in the plas­ter.

Own­ing a leaky home can bring health con­se­quences such as res­pi­ra­tory ill­nesses like asthma and colds.

In­fe­rior ex­te­rior cladding that de­te­ri­o­rates over time can leave a house sus­cep­ti­ble to leaks.

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