Shower leakage damage found by a pre purchase building inspection in Adelaide’s northern Salisbury
The damage caused by moisture from leaking water can be just as extensive as fire damage when it comes to residential property. That is why any pre purchase building inspection in Adelaide should always include a comprehensive examination of the all the wet areas within a dwelling, and, just as importantly, the wall and floor components within the adjacent rooms. These areas are a constant source of decay and structural defects for building inspectors and the following example is no exception.
Ensure proactive strata management maintenance is being carried out
Our inspected dwelling example today is a second storey, two bedroom unit located in a secluded part of the northern suburb of Salisbury, just a stone throw from the Parabanks Shopping Centre. On the surface of things, this property performed quite well considering it was nearly 40 years old. Blocks of units generally are maintained by a strata management corporation where owners contribute to a sinking fund used to pay for property upkeep and trade services. It was quite obvious that this group had been reasonably proactive with their care as the grounds and common areas were tidy and well maintained.
However, strata management is also responsible for the roof surface of our second storey unit and it was obvious that the gutters were full of leaves and debris. Cleaning was required to prevent the downpipes from blocking up, and water during periods of high rainfall backfilling into the eaves and roof space. A simple job, but one that should be done without delay, especially with winter approaching. Being a top level roof makes the process a little tricky and more expensive, but to prolong the life of the guttering material, it is an investment well worth prioritising.
Just as importantly, water stains indicating some past or present roof leaks were seen to the ceiling linings within the unit’s kitchen. On further investigation within the roof space, unusually we found buckets containing sand in various areas, including over the kitchen where the stains existed. These were obviously placed there to capture roof leakage, and it goes without saying that this type of maintenance is purely a band aid and not a permanent fix. We naturally directed our client to ensure strata management carries out a careful inspection of the roof tile covering and flashings, to ascertain if defective conditions exist to allow any leakage to occur. Again, this should be done without delay to prevent ongoing damage to roof frame and ceiling components. This can be costly to repair, not something that new owners would want to inherit amongst the excitement of purchasing their new property.
Where is the insulation and party wall?
There is a reason for everything, and although an experienced building inspector may not always be able to fully determine it on the day, many times he can. Sagging was noted to the ceiling linings within the lounge and this was causing some extensive splitting at the joins and cracking in areas. Usually this is the result of the adhesive and fixings between the linings and the ceiling joists failing, and the weight of the materials combined with gravity will only result in guaranteed continuing deterioration.
This is unsightly to say the least, and does nothing but rapidly devalue a home, because as we know, first impressions mean everything to potential buyers. What was not installed within the roof space was insulation. Being a second level property this is significant, as they are typically hotter in the summer months than lower level properties, and insulation can assist in regulating temperatures. It is these higher temperatures season after season that can contribute to the ceiling lining fixing issues.
Also, party walls were not constructed within the roof space to separate adjoining properties and this can present as a security and fire risk. Prospective purchasers have the right to know about these issues, and only a thorough building inspection will reveal them. This is because nobody but a diligent inspector is likely to crawl the roof space to discover them, another valuable reason why many people opt for our services.
The money areas of a property…
The wet areas of a dwelling consisting of the kitchen, bathroom and laundry are often referred to as the money areas. They can add, or subtract value from a home very quickly, depending on their condition. This Salisbury unit had a lot going for it, but it was certainly let down by these crucially important rooms. No renovations or improvements had been carried out since its original construction, and as such, the plumbing and tiling components were aged and in disrepair.
It was very clear that the shower membrane had either not been installed initially, or broken down due to the natural seasonal expansion and contraction of the dwellings timber frame structural components. Also, as a result of this movement, some tiles were found to be loose and cracked within the shower recess and wall areas, and the joint seal sealant was mouldy and shrinking causing gaps to appear. High moistures readings were detected throughout, including below the shower taps indicating plumbing leakage was more than likely occurring. This was also the case with the kitchen taps, where leakage at the tap breaches was resulting in water affecting the unit below.
This whole situation was quite advanced as all the adjacent walls to the shower recess were visibly moisture damaged, and decay to the skirting boards was already taking place. We could only imagine what the state of the timber wall studs and bottom plates were in. Even though it was on the second level, believe it or not, this sought of situation with moisture and decay can still be conducive to the attraction of hungry timber pests like termites.
Wow… what a mess ongoing moisture leakage can make!
It really was a disaster! However, all things are fixable and any money spent on repairing, improving or renovating wet areas is a good investment, and money well spent. The building inspection report was able to highlight these faults and give our client the option of pushing back on the vendor to fix the issues before purchase, or take it on themselves. The important thing is… they were made fully aware.
If you want to know the real condition of all the wet areas in your next property, call Buy Spect Adelaide House Inspections on 0451 070 398.