Do Solid Block Houses Leak? – Wet Batons

Are you considering buying a solid block house?

Is there any point getting it checked for water leaks?

The general perception about homes made of solid block, is that they will never fall down and won’t leak… so there’s no real need to get a pre purchase  leak inspection before buying. This is not true… you certainly can get water seeping through block walls and rotting the batons and carpet etc. I’ve seen it many times over.

Rotted batons below ground level
Rotted batons below ground level

The most likely scenario for such leaks to occur, is when the floor level of the house is below the ground level directly outside the area. The other reason the batons behind the wall will rot is there’s a roof leak travelling down the wall.

In general, block houses are more solid and less likely to leak then other traditional building methods, but are you prepared to take the risk of buying an ongoing hidden leak for the sake of spending a few hundred dollars for a thermal inspection prior to buying?

Fortunatly the owner of the above home is ethical and is doing the right thing. At the time of this building inspection, he was in the process of repairing and sealing the block wall prior to selling the house. You can actually seal block/brick wall to prevent water leaking through, but it’s a very vulnerable area that isn’t straight forward to fix long term.

If you are buying a house with any external wall of the home below ground level (i.e. Built into the side of a hill), then certainly consider getting a thermal imaging leak inspection… it could make a huge difference to your purchase price if the structural intergrity of the area has failed. Leaks can be a real pain… so find out first!

Some leaks found during home inspections are nothing to really worry about (like an internal plumbing leak). It’s the leaks inside external walls that are the ‘not so friendly’ ones… regardless if it’s a solid block home or standard home with timber framing (especially plaster cladding homes with no cavity).

One question I commonly get asked from buyers, is “How many homes do you inspect wouldn’t have any leaks?”. The answer is about 5%. Yes, 5%. But… there are good leaks, and bad leaks. Good ones can be fixed easy at low cost and most likely have caused minimal structural damage. Then you have the monster leaks that travel down between the walls, penetrate the timber, saturate the insulation, rot the bottom plate, blow out the skirting board then make their way onto your carpet and saturate the underlay in the process. Most homes will leak at some stage… it’s just a matter to what extent. Even new homes leak if there’s a failure in the window joinery, or the shower hasn’t been sealed correctly. These are all things you need to know before paying the $$$. 

FACT: You will not see the leaks that I will see when walking through a house due to the high tech equipment that I use (I wouldn’t see these leaks with my naked eye either)… and that’s why you should consider getting thermal imaging during your buying process. It may be cheaper than you think… and certainly a great peace of mind after you move in!