Leaks and moisture damage are one of the most common areas that customers, banks, agents and owners will ask our Building Inspectors about.  It can also be one of the biggest deal breakers when purchasing a property. Our inspectors are extensively trained to identify signs of moisture ingress, potential areas of weather-tightness risk, and carry out moisture testing.So you may ask “What is moisture damage” and what clues can I keep an eye out for when viewing a potential property to purchase?

What are some common clues you should be looking out for?

Water damage can actually be quite easy to spot visually, however many properties on the market have been spruced up or freshly renovated and can potentially conceal many of these visual clues.

Water that has entered a property, especially over a period of time can leave stains and discolouration on the floors, walls, or baseboards running along the base of interior walls.

Water damage not only creates discolouration but often tends to affect building material with signs of swelling, crumbling and flaking. Common areas for this damage are around skirting, ceilings and window frames. Another sign of moisture entering the property is evidence of mould growth.

The ground outside the property can also indicate any water damage. If the ground is uneven and drops away from the level of the foundation, it can be a sign of water issues in the area.

How is Property affected by water damage?

Before settling on any property it is vital to ensure that the property has no underlying water damage and that the structure and its building components are watertight so there’s no chance of any damage in the future. A Building inspection report will give you the most comprehensive overview of the home’s condition and areas of concern.

Water damage can be caused by several factors– the most common themes are pipe leaks or bursts, area flooding, a leaky roof, or joinery seal issues.

Continued exposure to water and moisture can have a major impact on the structural integrity of the building causing an extensive and expensive problem to fix.

Prolonged moisture can cause dampness and trigger the growth of mould spores that can be bad for your health.

Sometimes with a staged or renovated property on the market, there are little to no clues that underlying moisture and water issues are present. This is where a qualified Building Inspector will carry out moisture testing with a special detection tool. Moisture testing is a vital component of a property inspection, and is used to identify moisture ingress, leaking showers, faulty plumbing, and roof leaks.

What difference can a property inspection report make?

Engaging a qualified and knowledgeable professional Building Inspector with the appropriate moisture testing tools can help to highlight areas of concern.

A Building inspector will carry out a full inspection encompassing all areas of the property and provide you with a comprehensive inspection report. This report will outlining all facets of the property both good and bad. This will give you an independent opinion on the property at hand so you can make a complete informed decision about your next move.

Purchasing a property is one of the biggest financial commitments you will make in life – and a water-damaged home can cause a lot of grief and expense in the future if you aren’t aware of it. To avoid any nasty surprises, always get the knowledgeable view of a qualified Building inspector before signing on the dotted line.

What tool will my Inspector use to detect water or moisture ingress?

The most common tool a Building Inspector will use is a Non-invasive moisture tester, commonly a Trotec T660 moisture meter, in conjunction with a thorough visual inspection of the property.

This meter, sends a di-electric current 40 – 50mm into the wall, and returns readings based on a scale of 0 – 160. It should be noted that moisture readings taken with a non-invasive moisture meter are not percentage based.

Non-invasive moisture readings are taken on all external walls in every room where accessible. When rooms have more than one external wall, additional readings are included. Readings are also taken to each side of showers, toilets and baths plus under vanities and sinks and tubs. Where accessible reading will be taken to the sides of dormers and skylights.

Building Materials with higher density may show higher readings on the Trotec T660, and in these cases, we will find the average ambient reading of the material taken from various points to base our readings on. Generally, we are looking for a spike in readings, as every property is viewed as an individual based on materials, construction methods and age.

Where elevated moisture readings have been recorded during an inspection, these will be noted within the contents of our report.

An invasive moisture test is the only way to determine a percentage of moisture content in timber framing, and this type of testing is generally not included in a Standard Building Inspection. No moisture meter will be able to identify dry rot within the walls. Where areas of suspicion have been identified using both non-invasive and invasive methods, the only way to confirm the true extent of damage present is to remove wall linings and any insulation (if present) to allow a visual inspection of the area.

Whether you’re purchasing your next property, or have concerns over a property you currently own, a Complete Building Inspection inclusive of Moisture testing should be your first thought.