Although building materials have improved significantly over the years, the materials only work when installed correctly, and even then, will eventually show signs of deterioration. Wet seals or waterproof membranes are no exception. The entire building process is designed to keep moisture away, so if you suspect moisture problems, it’s best to ask for advice from a professional building inspector.
The main cause of leaks in wet areas is due to inadequate installation of waterproofing, poor workmanship, or deterioration over time due to poor maintenance.
As hardware stores now stock wet seal products for the DIY market, there is an increased risk of leaking in homes due to failure of waterproofing the area.
If you’re planning on purchasing a new home or viewing rentals, you want to know what condition the property is in. Although you could check this yourself, it’s easy to miss signs of moisture problems and building defects when you’re not sure what to look for. Moisture problems may not always be able to be identified by stains on ceilings or adjacent walls, the damage may be hidden.
Minor and Major Moisture Problems and Building Defects
If a moisture problem is identified in its early stages, consider yourself lucky! While there may be minor damage to your home or commercial property, it’s much better that it’s identified early so the issue can be rectified immediately.
Moisture problems can arise from the failure of a plumbing system, including washing machines, toilets, or showers. Leaks may also be from a hot water system, a natural disaster (hail damage, flooding), blockage in the gutters – water flows back into the building and creates a problem – which could be minor or major, depending on the degree of the water intrusion.
Water leaks may also be promoting mould and termites, creating bigger issues. A professional building inspector will inspect the indoor air quality to ensure you’re safe in your home.
What is a failed wet seal?
A failed wet seal can be due to major repair work done in the area, poor installation, plumbing damage, or even sewerage toilets blockage.
How to identify leaks in wet areas
A method you can carry out yourself to identify leaks in wet areas is to check your home, or the home you’re wanting to purchase or rent, for low water pressure. You should also check if the taps drip when turned off. To identify this early, look out for visible water stains or water in areas that it shouldn’t be.
A visual assessment of surroundings should be conducted- stains on timber, walls, ceiling- looking for any signs of moisture spores.
If you’re wanting peace of mind, a building inspector can use a moisture detector machine to identify leaks. There are also physical tests that can be carried out, such as a pressure test to help identify where the leak is coming from. In some cases, if needed, a camera may be used.
Professional building inspectors can assist you in identifying leaks and providing a report to notify you on the true condition of the property.
Most leaks originate near plumbing fixtures such as bath tubs, showers, sinks and toilets.
Look out for low water pressure or if the taps drip when turned off and visible stains.
If your showerhead is positioned over a bathtub, shower with the shower curtain inside the bathtub to avoid puddles on the surrounding floor. If the foundation is suspended it’s a good idea to look under the house. Run the tap and look under the house to see any leaks.
If your bathroom floor is buckling, cracking or beginning to stain for no obvious reason, it is most likely due to hidden water leaking. This may be due to the shower tray. This can result in damage to the ceiling below. It can also damage the stairs depending on the volume of the leakage. When this happens, it means the membrane has failed, or the steel to the floor waist is damaged or has become undone somehow. The grout seals around the floor may have deteriorated. Sometimes this could be a minor fix by resealing the floors and repairing the damaged grout. However, it’s best to ask for advice from a professional building inspector incase major repairs are needed.
Toilet leaks can occur from a blockage in the system, a loose toilet at the base, cracks from the toilet bowl to the pipes, or the seal may be broken. If this is the case, there will be water leaking or overflowing.
Tap leaks can result from broken seals, poor installation, blockage, or age and deterioration. Early detection is crucial.
Poor workmanship and improper waterproofing installation are one of the biggest contributors to moisture problems. Ensure you hire qualified tradesmen to complete your wet area renovations to ensure it is fully watertight. While you may want to save costs when hiring trades, it’s important that the completed job will stay just that- complete. You don’t want to find issues down the track with an unpractical design, improper installation or anything else that could lead to building defects.
For Peace of Mind, It’s Vital
Vital Building & Pest Inspections are an independent party that can inspect wet areas of your residential or commercial building, whether you currently own it or are interested in acquiring or renting the property. We will provide an inspection report within 24 hours of the inspection. This will allow you peace of mind before purchasing or signing the lease, you’ll understand the true condition of the property.
We can identify the issues correctly and provide advice on repairs.
Regardless of your flooring and structure of your home, it’s a very important aspect of a building inspection that a water leak is identified, and a proper inspection is carried out.
Our background is in the building restoration business. For over 17 years we’ve helped Sydney families and businesses repair and restore buildings damaged by the elements, structural defects, poor workmanship, timber pests and countless other causes. Give us a call on 0401 012 074 to learn more about how we can help.