It’s ‘sad but true’… houses in New Zealand have never been built to a 100% weather-tight standard. Although homes built prior to the 1990′s were designed to withstand a small degree of ‘leakage’ without suffering a noticeable loss of durability, this has not been the case for a great deal of the time since then.

In the mid 1990′s, a series of seemingly innocuous factors conspired to make even the tiniest amount of water leakage dangerous in new homes as well as renovated ones.

The introduction of untreated timber in 1995 along with inappropriate use of new and highly specialised materials, less than adequate designs and sub-standard construction due to a shortage of skilled labour, have created numerous houses that look great on the outside but are ‘riddled with decay’ on the inside.

This has led to ‘thousands of unsuspecting homeowners’ ending up with the problems associated with leaky homes. And if you’re in the market for a new home, these are problems you do not need!

Look for the tell-tale signs

If you’ve found a home that appeals but you want to be sure it isn’t harbouring any present or future ‘hidden nightmares’, do the following:

Keep a good lookout for any potentially unsafe balconies, balustrades, decks, car decks or areas of mould. In particular, look for:

  • Swelling of particle board floorings, window surrounds or skirtings
  • Musty smells, mould or signs of dampness
  • Discolouration
  • Staining
  • Sealant joints that have separated
  • Monolithic cladding that has cracks in the finish

Proven problem areas

  • Fascias and gutter penetrating exterior cladding
  • Where a roof finishes within a wall
  • Sill flashings beneath windows
  • Where balustrades connect to walls
  • Meter boards without sealants
  • Electrical and plumbing installations

Interior Mould

If there are any visible and significant signs of mould in your prospective home, there could be a substantial health risk to anyone living in it. Look elsewhere.


Be really aware and vigilant when it comes to warning signs that show potentially dangerous rotting around balconies. If these structures collapse from sustained water damage and systemic rot, they could cause serious injury or death.

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  1. A Harris says:

    Take care when looking at plaster homes. Here’s one method used to help determine if the place is a leaky building…

    Hopefully this helps you.

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