Which Type of Cladding Leaks the Most?

One of the most common questions I get asked, especially from first time home buyers wanting a building inspection:

“Which type of plaster cladding leaks the most?”

Let me get directly to the answer, based on inspecting over 1300 plaster houses at the time of writing this. It’s not very often that water physically gets through the plaster system when there are no cracks in the cladding.

Here are a few of the reasons why houses leak: (These causes can get worse with no cavity and untreated timber framing)

  • Where the cladding meets the window joinery it’s not flashed correctly causing water to get in behind the plaster, then further down in behind the building paper and onto the framing.
  • There are no head flashings above the window, letting water in around the top of the frame
  • Large cracks in the cladding allow water to soak through in behind cladding and possible through building paper penetrations.
  • Decks leak directly down into the wall and onto the timber framing
  • Internal gutters leak or butanol membranes fail from not lipping high enough up underneath doors/parapets and so on.
  • Water gets through fixings such as deck railings, nails and anything screwed through the cladding etc

There are plenty of other reasons that cause leaky buildings (or isolated leaks), but as you can see above that it’s not the actual plaster itself that leaks… it’s the workmanship and design of the home that is the problem. You could stand there all day with a hose and spray a large section of polystyrene or harditex cladding in an area where there are no windows, and it won’t leak directly through (Providing there aren’t any cracks). Even if there are cracks in areas away from windows, the water still needs to get past the building paper to penetrate the framing. Then… you could spend just 10 minutes spraying the nearest window and it might leak like crazy right away if it’s not sealed/flashed correctly or the window mitres have failed.

Other common opportunities for moisture to enter your walls which could cause you grief:

  • When your shower plumbing (such as the mixer) is up against an external wall. A slow drip in the plumbing will then proceed to fill your external wall framing with water every time the shower is used! It’s get worse if it’s on the top floor because gravity takes over and it fills up the lower level wall below it also. Nice!
  • If you get any condensation then you need to stop it asap. Not only does it cause unhealthy mould on curtains, it runs down the window and potentially rotting the sill (Which has a timber sill plate below it), or even worse the internal mitres on the window have failed and you wall is filling up with condensation water… even on those sunny days.
  • Shower screen leaks. If your shower is leaking water out the corners of the screen, then reseal it asap with a high quality sealant. We have seen many cases where home owners just think “It’s only a shower leak… no big deal“… well… it starts getting into the wall without you knowing and can become a real headache. Have you ever seen the gib board in the corners of your showers start to look like you could put your finger through it? Too late… the water is already in the bottom plate and possibly in behind the shower box itself.

Both home owners and buyers need to take care of the property they own or are buying, because it’s the small leaks that you already know about that turn into big decreases in your bank balance over time. Remember, if you can see visual evidence of moisture problems then it’s already too late in many cases.

Get a thermal imaging quick scan today and stay ontop of any pending disasters before they get out of hand! We give free quotes over the phone for these type of ‘peace of mind’ inspections, and it’s well worth it every time.

Cool Store Nitrogen Leak Detected with Infrared

We were recently hired to detect a nitrogen leak in a cold store using the infrared thermal imaging camera. The purpose of this cool room was to slow the process of fruit ripening.

How does the system work? They pump nitrogen into the coolroom which then pushes oxygen out to reduce the speed of the produce in the room ripening. These nitrogen levels are monitored daily to ensure there isn’t a drop in the amount of nitrogen required at all times.

Taking into account the oxygen is getting pushed out of the room at a very low temperature, we inspected the external walls from the outside (from an enclosed walkway area) , which allowed us to clearly see where the oxygen was escaping. The reason the infrared camera could pick up the leak so quickly, was because the cold air escaping was blowing onto a much warmer external wall.

It turns out some of the roof bracings which extended from the walkway roof across to the cool room roof were not sealed at the top of the coolstore external wall.

If you’ve been wondering how to detect a nitrogen leak without cutting holes in walls, or aren’t sure if there’s a breach in the pipe work feeding the room, give us a call. We have the right infrared cameras for the job, and can produce a report if required which would include all infrared images etc.

Concrete Crack Repair Services NZ


Do you have cracks in your concrete slab?

Quite often home owners and commercial building owners will notice cracks starting to appear in the concrete slab, and quite often water will start to seep up through the crack, further causing a leak.

What Causes Concrete to Crack?

There are various potential reasons why you will get both hairline and large cracks in concrete. Some of these reasons are;

  • Heavy trucks or construction work very close to your home
  • Possible burst water pipe underneath the area
  • Slight settlement of the ground (Especially newer homes)
  • Subsidence of the dirt under the area that is saturated with water 

Most cracks in concrete are found in basements and external masonary walls.

How do you repair crack in concrete?

There are simple repair methods, solutions and services available in NZ that use long lasting filler materials & technology to fill the cracks and prevent water entering your building envelope, and makes sure the crack is sealed to prevent any further leaking and water ingress.

If you are stuggling to find a reputable company to undertake your concrete leak detection & repairs, give us a call.

Leak Under Deck Ranchslider Door

Do you have a deck over the top of your room?

One of the most common types of leaks we find is caused by waterproofing membranes not correctly installed underneath the doors leading out to the deck… any type of door.

One of the main contributing factors to this problem is the level of the deck. Under the ‘leaky building code’ of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, many homes where built in such a way whereas the deck level was very similar to the inside floor level. If there is any pooling of water on the deck, wind driven rain in the direction of the door, or a blocked drain (normally with leaves and debris on top), then water tends to rise up and over the raised lip of the butanol, then down onto the ceiling below.

Another common trait of a leaking deck is when the cladding runs down and touches the deck. Water will simply soak up the cladding then saturate the bottom plate and then potentially drip down onto the ceiling below.

Here is a sample infrared thermal imaging photo we took in a home recently:

Radio Recording for Thermal Imaging Inspections

We have built a strong & credible name in the NZ house inspection & infrared thermal imaging industry over the years. If fact, Google have placed us as #1 in their rankings for the above topics…  hence why you have landed on the most comprehensive leaky building inspection website in NZ. 

We have uploaded a recent recording of an advertorial we recently did on Newstalk ZB so you can put a ‘voice’ to our name:

Listen Here (Runs for 1.5 minutes)

We have been thermal imaging houses for years, and also offering leak detection services for those home owners who have a leak they can’t find, or are worried they could potentially buy themselves a home with leaking problems.

Call us first… you’ll get the best quote, prompt service, and most importantly – experience. We offer guaranteed free quotes over the phone! (Our quotes don’t change once we turn up to the job).


Even Newstalk ZB’s DIY Home Renovation Expert Peter Wolfkamp Has Used Our Services, and Recommends Us Live Online – Listen Here (Runs for 30 seconds)


Winter Leak Detection House Inspections

Is Winter a Good Time for A Leaky Home Inspection?

It goes without saying… if you are buying a home, it’s MUCH better if it’s been raining. A thermal imaging building inspection will clearly show leaks within a week of heavy rain. It’s only logical to test the house for leaks under the worst possible weather conditions… particulary for roof, deck and window leaks. 

Leak detection services in NZ will vary in results depending on the type of equipment used during the home inspection. It’s important to understand that thermal imaging cameras are excellent for detecting leaks on ceilings, under decks, roofs, back of showers and under windows, whilst moisture meters are the best method for testing for moisture problems in external walls.

What if it hasn’t rained for a few weeks, is it still possible to find moisture in walls?

Yes. In NZ, the typical homes we get hired to test for moisture are plaster systems with no cavity system. If the home has no cavity, then the moisture and condensation gets trapped behind the walls and soaks into the timber framing and insulation. The moisture testing meters we use are highly sensitive and will detect the slightest change in timber and gib board density caused by higher levels of moisture.

What about roof leaks after no rain?

It is true that a roof leak that hasn’t found it’s way into an external wall may go undetected in summer months… but the good news is that a roof leak is generally easy to fix, and it’s the least harmful type of leak that can be found in a home (As long as it hasn’t travelled into an external wall). Generally, if the leak was that severe you would see visual signs of damage or discolouration on the ceiling.

The insulation batts may be wet also… but if you have a pitched roof, you can crawl through the manhole and substitute the wet insulation with new batts. If it’s a mono pitched roof (Can’t crawl inside), then you can either fix the source of the leak and let it dry out, otherwise if it’s showing on the gib board you can open up the ceiling and take out the saturated insulation. Not such a big deal considering there is moisture damage to the ceiling anyway.

In summary, winter is an excellent time for thermal imaging inspections and general leak detection investigations. Summer is normally fine for moisture inspections, unless it hasn’t rained for over 3 weeks or so. Don’t rush your property purchase if you feel the place could be leaking and it hasn’t rained for some time. Give us a call if your aren’t sure if the timing is right for you.

Tornado Insurance Damage – Photo’s of Leaks

If you’ve had any damage to your home caused by the North Shore Tornado, we can complete a leak and moisture damage report for your insurance cover.

Check your home for any missing roofing iron, dislodged roof tiles, cracked windows or any damage to your home that could be claimed under your insurance policy. We can detect any water related leak damage the tornado damage has incurred to your property in the form of a moisture report acceptable to insurance companies. The report will show photo’s of tornado damage, leaks and moisture readings.

Dux Qest (Ducks Quest) Plumbing Leaking

How do I know if I have Dux Qest plumbing in my home?

Dux Quest plumbing is notorious for leaking, and now the insurance companies are even putting clauses in their fine print that says they won’t cover any burst pipe leaks in houses that are fitted with Dux Quest.

You may need to get a plumber or building inspector in to identify for you if your property is fitted with this product.

If you can crawl under your home, you may be able see the writing on the black pipes… and if so, consider getting it replaced because if it leaks into your external walls, the damage bill could get rather large. You won’t know it’s leaking until it’s too late, as it’s normally a slow leak at one of the joins that gradually eats away at your wall.

One home owner had the ceiling collapse onto their kitchen bench from a leak in the shower above!  If you are buying a house, ask the inspector to look for this plumbing type.

Methane Leaks Detected Using Infrared Camera

Here are some sample photos we captured during a thermographic survey of a landfill site in NZ, in search of methane leaks and thin capping over the fill.

We were contacted by the project managers of the landfill to assist in detecting any signs of methane gas leaking through the surface of the capping over the fill. The compacted dirt capping is there to prevent oxygen being drawn into the fill from the suction of the well pipes. Oxygen can reduce the effect of processing methods when converting the methane into electricity at their onsite plant.

We also used methane detection equipment and a grid system for confirmation if the thermal imaging camera was seeing the methane gas leaks, or the breaches in the capping. (Detector provided by Envco Global).

In the image above, the yellow areas indicate a clear surface temperature difference (anomaly) when compared to surrounding ground temperature.

Due to the nature of the anomaly in this infrared image, it appears there is thin capping in this area over a wider area (When compared with the methane leak in the first image which indicates an isolated area).

In summary, the survey of the site was successful, with over 40 areas marked for further remediation work and thicker capping. The majority of the thermal inspection was done in the dark, starting at 5am in the morning when the air was coolest, therefore allowing the surface temperature where the gas leaks were occurring to stand out in the camera (Maximum Delta-T).

Our methane gas leak detection system using an infrared camera and methane gas detector is a simple and quick method to pinpoint any hot spots on the ground, even in areas where the grass or schrubs are over grown.

Give us a call today to discuss your project, and get a free quote over the phone.

Are Earthquake Leaks Covered by Insurance?

The biggest cause of random leaks in a house is either movement or expansion and contraction.

Obviously with an earthquake (such as the quake in Christchurch), the movement is furious so the chances of leaks sources being ‘created’ are very good. Your insurance policy might cover this under the earthquake clause in your contract (If you have this type of cover). Please read the fine print.

Not only will earthquakes create ‘above ground’ leaks such as roof, deck and possible internal plumbing pipes to leak… but you also have the below ground leaks due to the pipes underground not being flexible enough to move with the earth. Keep a close eye on your next water bill to see if there has been a sudden rise in usage and $$$.

Make sure you monitor your home in the coming weeks after an earthquake, as you may need a ‘leak check’ using thermal imaging cameras to detect where the issues could be originating from, and what damage the water has done to your walls, timber framing, carpets and insulation etc. You would then need a report to present to the insurance company.

Strengthen your insurance claim with a infrared thermal house inspection and report! See thermal photo’s of hidden house leaks HERE