You may have seen the bubbling discoloured paint which can be the result of water leaking from the shower through the wall, leaving soft plaster that will eventually crumble and fall off. Often we don’t even notice it happening if the shower backs onto a walk in robe and the wall is hidden with a row of hanging clothes. Or a full wall of bookcases might keep the offending area hidden from view. It may only be when we notice a room smelling musty that we go in search of the cause.
If a shower recess has been leaking for some time, and the environment is conducive, a leaking shower recess can promote mould which can result in unhealthy allergens developing i.e. a health hazard.
Unfortunately this is something I see on a regular basis during my pre-purchase building inspections and Pre Settlement inspections, and not just in older homes.
Tiles and grouting are not waterproof.If installed correctly, it is the protective membrane underneath that provides the waterproof barrier.In extreme circumstances, it could be structural movement that will tear or cause the waterproof membrane to fail.Over time and with constant use, the water eventually seeps under the membrane to cause damage.
Other reasons you might end up with a damp problem are:
- Exposed edge of a cut tile in the shower
- Old grouting that is cracking, or has pinholes
- Cracked floor or wall tiles
- Silicone not used in corners and along bottom row of tiles
- Incorrect installation of the waterproof membrane, or no membrane at all
- Water ingress behind the taps or mixer
- Leaking water or drain pipes
- Leaking associated with the shower screen
In WA, our extremes of temperature cause swelling and shrinkage which can also lead to movement, which in turn can cause cracking and various other issues around the home.
A simple test and a trained eye will highlight if there are any moisture issues in your bathroom or ensuite, so the problem can be rectified before an expensive major repair is required.
A Home Integrity Registered Builder can also inspect and report on spas and swimming pools including safety barriers, arrange retrospective approvals on all structures by local Councils and Shires, inspect and report for insurers to take out Home Owner Warranty Builders Warranty Insurance, Handover and Defects Building Inspection Reports, and Building Consulting.
When we purchase a property we may make modifications to fit our family and lifestyle. Sometimes they are simply changing the décor by painting, or new window furnishings. At other times they are major renovations to make the flow of the house work for the way you live. Regardless of the age of the home, it’s often difficult to tell on the surface if there have been modifications made to the original building. Some will engage a builder for advice, or have a structural engineer examine the plans, but in the interests of saving money, the owner may tackle the job himself even if he doesn’t have any experience.
I see some concerning situations during my inspections, and some downright dangerous renovations. Last week was one where I uncovered some pretty serious defects, where the sellers for each of the properties explained to me what I commonly hear from time to time; “I don’t understand, I had a building inspection completed when I bought the place, and haven’t made any changes”. All I can put this down to is that maybe the inspector was not qualified, was very inexperienced and/or didn’t inspect the roof void thoroughly enough. That is why Home Integrity building inspections are carried out by an experienced registered builder. With Pre-Purchase building inspections it’s really important to inspect all safe accessible areas, no matter how dirty or uncomfortable it may be.
In Western Australia, there are no licensing requirements for building inspectors. If someone is presenting themselves as “licensed” you should be cautious. Check the qualification of the person actually conducting the inspection. Builders in Western Australia are registered with the Building Commission and will also have a Builders Registration Number. Don’t be confused by some of the “licensed” building inspectors around. The “license” may just refer to the ability to operate in a specific location.
Home Integrity are experienced and registered builders with the Building Commission WA. During a Pre-Purchase Building Inspection Home Integrity use a systematic methodology which ensures any inspection is thorough and complete. During a Pre-Purchase Building inspection Home Integrity will report on all Major and Structural Defects. Full colour photos are always included in the report. Home Integrity will identify where the defect is located, the type of defect, why it is classed as a defect, and most importantly, what needs to be done to fix the defect.