When conducting pre-purchase building inspections, one of the most common issues we find under houses (in the subfloor) is water leaking from wet areas such as bathrooms, laundries and kitchens.
Although it may sound minor, if left untreated even a minor water leak can be an expensive exercise to rectify. Especially if it has been actively leaking undetected for some time, leading to serious water damage to walls, flooring, and often causing structural decay to floor framing as well as affecting the structural foundations of the dwelling.
Water leaks can be caused by a number of reasons. Some of the more common ones we encounter include leaking shower / sink wastes, a dripping water pipe in wall cavities or under the floor, a faulty appliance (such as a washing machine or dishwasher), or even water splashing onto the floor from a bath or shower which leaks through gaps in loose tiles or other floor coverings.
Some signs that you can look out for, (other than puddles of water in strange places) include – discoloration of plaster or other wall linings (water spots or stains may appear yellow or brown). Changes in texture of any timber flooring or other product, this includes, warping, buckling, sagging or sinking. Odours caused by mould or mildew can also be a good indicator to the untrained person.
However in some cases it is not always easy to detect leaks if the water is running into the subfloor or other concealed area, and it is therefore always recommended to check areas not normally accessed by a trained professional, especially if you are thinking about purchasing a property and you want to ensure there are no unexpected costs to repair decayed timbers or subsided foundations.
Recently one of our inspectors at Melbourne House Check was conducting a routine Building and Pest Inspection at a property in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. The house was well presented and to the inexperienced home buyer looked like a problem free house. However upon closer inspection of the subfloor under the bathroom found that the bathtub waste was not connected, and every time the plug was released, water was gushing into the subfloor void. The ground was so waterlogged, foundations for surrounding stumps had shifted and restumping works were going to be required to a significant section of the dwelling.
It just goes to show that even a minor leak as simple as a bath leak, can cause several thousands of dollars damage.
The above example is only one of the many things we look for to assist you in providing peace of mind with any potential purchase. We conduct inspections Melbourne wide and have qualified personnel waiting to answer any questions you might have. Please call now on 1300729352, or you can contact us online at melbournehousecheck.com.au