Weather Tightness AucklandTrusted | Experienced | Professional
Moisture can cause serious damage to the structure of any building from minor damage like peeling paint to major damage such as rotting beams, joists and siding. Having your structure tested for moisture is something to consider depending on where you live.
Monolithic Clad Buildings
Properties which have been clad with monolithic cladding such as harditex, insulclad, fibre cement board or sand and cement render cladding (without a cavity system) are at risk of being leaky buildings
They rely on surface coatings as a weatherskin, and houses using these claddings often incorporate a higher weather tightness risk
Many direct-fixed monolithic claddings have suffered weather tightness failure. If water penetrates these cladding systems, there is little opportunity for drainage or drying behind the cladding. Instead, water is held within the assembly, increasing the potential for deterioration. Unfortunately, some cladding leaks do not often become evident until the deterioration of the wall assembly is well advanced.
Maintenance Checks For Weather Tightness
Maintenance checks are important as they are with any property and regular maintenance and painting to seal the exterior cladding and keep it waterproof are very important. It is well known that plaster clad properties may have issues if not maintained, however many of them if well looked after do not and it depends upon the structure, design and maintenance of each individual property.
Normally (not always) an inspection with a non-invasive moisture meter will show high moisture readings should there be water ingress. This is also assisted with a visual examination of the property by an inspector at the time of the building inspection.
It is important that regular monitoring and maintenance is done, especially on exterior cladding, roof areas and decks. It is not always possible to predict what areas of the property will fail in the future we can only base our report on what is visible on the day of the inspection.
Avoid The Pain Of Monolithic Cladding
For monolithic clad dwellings constructed prior to 2004 amendments to E2 of the NZ building code (and that are not on a fully drained and ventilated cavity system) the only way that it would be possible to ensure full weather tightness and durability requirement compliance would be to fully reclad the dwelling in strict compliance with the current version of the NZ building code, E2 External moisture which will result in compliance B2 Durability
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The building inspector can only complete a risk assessment of a property based on visual inspection unless permission is given to do an invasive inspection involving cutting holes in the exterior cladding to physically see the condition of the timber framing, which will give more accurate and conclusive results.
Moisture readings that are taken with the moisture meter are only an indication of potential issues and are not to be relied upon conclusively
Ground clearance of cladding
The ground clearances of the cladding and height of floor to the ground are important issues. A large number of houses do not comply particularly from the 1980’s on. The problem is that moisture can wick up into the framing or that water trapped behind the cladding cannot escape. However, even if houses don’t strictly comply often there are no issues. Issues are far less likely where there is a cavity because moisture can escape
Eaves provide shelter to the walls of a building and reduce the wetted area during rain, narrower eaves or no eaves mean less shelter and therefore a greater weather tightness risk.
Invasive testing (cutting holes in the cladding) will be needed to determine whether the lack of eaves has caused any moisture damage to the timber framing.
Narrow or no eaves provide the least amount of protection from the weather and will have a higher score on the weather tightness risk matrix.
Fascia Boards and Drip Edges
Fascia boards that have been directly fixed to the cladding can cause weather tightness issues and capillary action (moisture ingress) if the junction between the two is not permanently sealed.
Drip edges improve the efficiency of water shedding at the edges of the fascia board as It pushes water away from the building and also adds protection to the underlying timber framing.
A drip edge also guards against the movement between the cladding and the fascia boards where hairline cracks can often occur when there is no eave present, and the fascia board has been fixed directly to the cladding
Tiled showers can often leak, particularly if the waterproofing under the tiles fails normally because of poor installation of the waterproofing membrane under the tiles, evaluation and examination of the water proofing membrane is not possible as the tiles cover the waterproofing membrane, so it is not always possible to diagnose a problem (or leak) unless there are obvious signs from under the shower which is often inaccessible.
Please also note that older tiled showers have a much higher risk of developing leaking issues than more recently professionally installed ones.
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