DIY – How to Fix a Leak… All Kinds!

Finally – The Launch of Fix A!

Due to client demand, The launch of our new website has now taken place and is live! This website outlines simple and easy ways to fix common types of leaks… fast and cheap! This is a free service.

Why did we start this new website?

We do all types of leak detection and leaky home checks all over NZ, and the first natural question people ask us when a leak is detected, is “Do you have someone who can fix it?”. The answer is “No”, because we don’t want our clients to feel they are being ‘sold’ further add-on services. We have always been an independent inspection company specialising in locating leaks, and will continue to operate that way.

The new ‘Fix a leak’ website is for people who already know where the source of their leak is, and simply need it fixed.

Take a look around and see if you can find info on the specific type of leak you have. If you can’t find any info on it, then you will very soon! Although the website is work in progress (We have a team working to build the site up with useful information as we speak), there is already info and live video demos for you waiting right now. Visit Fix-a-Leak Here


Are you in the business of fixing leaks with at least 5 yrs experience in your trade?

You can now advertise on the site in your area for a small fee. Not many home owners have the confidence to fix a leak properly, so they usually need help to get the problem sorted asap.

The typical types of calls we get are for:

Roof leak repairs
Deck and butanol waterproofing leaks
Toilet and shower
Plumbing leaks, including underground.
Window flashing and joinery failure causing leaking into walls.
Cladding failures
Leaking gutters, including internal gutters
Flat roof leak repairs
Swimming pool, spa and hot tub leaks

….Just about any type of leaking problems you can have with a house, we get calls for it!

Hit the ‘Advertise Your Business’ button over on the website if you have any questions… we would like to see your business listed on the website!

Difference Between Leak Finder and Leak Tester

There have been a number clients recently who have commented that it must be frustrating at times being a ‘leak finder’…

The answer is simple… after doing many many inspections and seeing many different scenarios, it becomes easy. This would be the same as asking someone who fixes computers how easy it is to extract lost computer data out of a hard drive… it’s easy for them, but only because they know what they are doing.

Leak detection techniques aren’t complicated as such, it just takes logic and the right diagnostic tools in most cases. You also need other devices to help you confirm the findings. The most technologically advanced leak testing equipment available for sale should give you all the correct signals that will indicate your ‘on the money’ when pinpointing the water entry point, as long as your operating them correctly and can interpret (and confirm) the read outs.

You need to detect the leak before you can test it, but the interesting part is that you will miss most of them without infrared in most cases… especially on high ceilings.

If you’re buying a house, and you think that going out and buying some kind of ‘leak finder’ equipment or moisture meter will be sufficient to diagnose any hidden problems, then please think again. If it wasn’t for using an infrared camera as an additional tool for finding signs of defective windows, roofs, cladding, ceilings etc. , then many of the problems could have been missed… because you simply can not scan a non-invasive leak tester over a huge surface area of ceiling effectively (and you would be there all day). Good luck convincing the real estate agent to stay with you for 6 hours while you test the house!

Leave this type of work to us. We are leak detection experts (Here’s the proof)

You simply can’t afford to miss obvious problems when testing a house for leaks. Taking the DIY approach could work out to be more expensive long term, as opposed to getting the job done correctly and professionally! In addition, the reality is that you won’t actually ‘see’ the majority of anomalies with the human eye.

To answer the question, a leak finder is someone who knows how to find a leak, and a leak tester is the equipment used to indicate the areas where water has penetrated.

Leak Detection Methods and Services

Using the right leak detection methods can save lots of time with any type of leak!

This week I was called out to a leak detection job in Whitford, and when I arrived, the client told me they had been chasing this leak for 5 years! They had a deck replaced and re-waterproofed, roof flashings replaced, roofers in to seal everything they could… and as a result the leak ‘appeared’ to be fixed.

Not to be. With some driving rain, the leak reared it’s ugly head again 6 months later and made its way back onto the loungeroom floor through the ceiling above. Long story short…

I found the leak in 15 minutes flat… on a sunny day!

It all comes down to the method of leak detection you use… simple as that. Like any other profession, you see the same issues over and over again in houses once you’ve been in the game long enough, and this was a classic example of the home owner doing things the wrong way around.

Wouldn’t you agree that it makes sense to find out where the leak is coming in before calling a waterproofing company to look at your deck/roof? Of course they are going to sell you their service. Our leak detection services here in NZ are independant, meaning we don’t sell you remedial services once we find the problem.

In this case the thermal imaging camera was used to pinpoint signs of the leak location, and experienced ‘leak detective’ methods were employed.

We have a process of elimination leak detection system and methods that logically takes us to where the leak is coming in… all without needing to damage any part of your house… no holes in the walls!

How to Find Leaks in Waterproofing Membranes

Detecting water leaks in waterproofing membranes with pinpoint accuracy has just become a reality here in NZ thanks to the latest electronic field mapping leak detection service.

Flood testing used to be the only effective way to determine if/where a membrane was leaking… but there are plenty of downsides to using this method of leak testing. What if you have a roof surface area of 1000 sqm? That’s a lot of water to flood test!

Electronic advances in NZ have now made is much easier to find a membrane leak.

New and Proven. Electronic field mapping will detect any breaches in either new or old membranes with pin point accuracy (excluding black butanol), by ‘charging’ the surface area with low voltage, thus creating a potential difference on conductive and non-conductive surfaces like decks, which is earthed or grounded. Water is still used as the conductive medium with this method, but there is no need to flood the area. The advanced leak detection device then reads the electronic flow across the surface and will pinpoint any ‘vectors’ (where the leak(s) is occurring).

This is an excellent option with new installations to assure the client of quality workmanship before signing off on the job.

What type of applications can this method be used for?

Leaks under a roof garden, Roofs with ballast, Tiled decks, Leak detection through paving stones, Insulated and non-insulated roof structures, Structural decks, Swimming pools, Vertical walls and many more.

For those of you in the construction game, you know perfectly well how hard it can be to track down a leak in a building you’ve built… especially under flat roofs. The problem with water is that it takes the path of least resistance which means the leak and the leak source can be up to 30 meters apart (ugly)!

What if there’s a large building over the top of an underground car park leak? This would normally take lots of trial and error, ‘theories’ from multiple contractors you have to pay for, and your time to nut out the leak penetration point. No more! These types of leaks can now be ‘express’ detected using electronic leak mapping.

Got a waterproofing warrantee that’s about to expire?

Get a check up for any pin holes or breaches in the membrane before the expiration date!

This new method is a simple and logical way test new installations for leaks before covering the membrane over, and finding tricky leaks… and there is only one company with the exclusive rights to this high tech leak detection technology in New Zealand, and the field mapping technicians are internationally trained.

Other services: Waterproofing leaks in concrete, waterproofing bricks, resealing water seeping into basements under block, waterproofing leaking block walls and more.

Roof Leak Repairs – Companies Who Fix Roof Leaks

With so much rain in NZ, roof leak detection and repairs are the most common request we get!

To start with, you need a company who has specific knowledge about how to repair roof leaks, not just a roofing company who only sells complete re-roofing options!

Simple. A roofing company could try to sell you a complete new roof, but a specialised roof repair company will most likely do a target fix. You MUST ask the right questions if you are serious about finding a company who fixes roof leaks cheap, without giving you the hard sell!

Make sure their website is tailored towards solutions about how to fix a roof leak, not total reroof options. You should quickly be able to establish what their ‘angle’ is… keeping in mind that some companies who repair roof leaks in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and anywhere is NZ could give you an initial consultation free… then they’ll climb your roof and give you a quote etc etc… normally painting the worst possible picture they can paint. MAKE SURE you get 3 quotes!

Here’s why…

Many home owners simply don’t have time to wait around to get 3 quotes, and if the first roof repair company looks good, they’ll take it! Seriously, the difference between quotes could be up to $3000 on an average size home (200sqm), so tread carefully. We don’t sell solutions to repair roof leaks, as we are independant inspectors with no vested interest to sell anything beyond what we are hired to do… and that’s to find the leak.

A thermal imaging roof inspection could detect the leak within meters of the origin of the issue, before a ‘roof specialist’ even arrives… giving you a more accurate idea of where the leak is entering the building envelope.

Take care with your home, and take the logical path to find leaking issues in your building before accepting any quotes. Infrared leak detection could narrow down where the leak is coming into your home, giving you more ‘bargaining power’ against the contractor who you hire to execute the repair.

Insurance companies hire us to find leaks… so should you if you require an unbiased approach and reporting.

Gardens Against Plaster Cladding Causing Leaks

Are you living in a plaster cladding home, or a house with no wall cavity system?

One common issue we regularly come across is where home owners have pushed a garden up against the house to a higher level than the base of the cladding.

There should be a sufficient gap between your ground level and the bottom of the cladding (‘Ground Clearance’). If you put dirt up to or above the bottom of the plaster cladding, you could get what’s called ‘capillary reaction’. This simply means the saturation of the dirt can soak back up the plaster and get absorbed into the bottom plate of timber in your wall (and beyond). If you notice your skirting boards have swollen or you have a small leak around the edge of your carpet, then you may already have wet timber in that wall, and possibly other walls of the home if the ground levels around the house are similar.

No matter what type of cladding you have, you should always keep your garden off the wall where possible, unless it’s up against a concrete foundation that has a waterproofing membrane as a precautionary measure. Just like a human, a home needs to breathe, and air needs to be able to circulate around to help dry out any damp areas. Gardens can stifle this process in critical areas, especially if the drainage in the area is not getting the water away from the house.

Can you simply cut the bottom of the cladding to create sufficient ground clearance?

This would depend on how far the cladding runs down past the bottom plate of timber. In many cases you won’t be able raise the height of the cladding base because you’ll expose the timber and potentially compound the issue. Consult a qualified builder who has experience with monolithic, harditex, insulclad or preferably all types of plaster cladding systems to assess your situation and what can be done to improve your drainage etc.

Tip: Take a walk around your house, and if you can see ANY areas where water could potentially touch the bottom of your cladding (excluding block), then you may need to look at drainage options for that area.

If you do see an area where wet dirt or water could be leaking into your home or building, then a moisture test in the area could be a wise move to make sure you aren’t covering up already rotted timber. Moisture and leaks in your walls can spread like cancer… don’t take the risk. Thermal imaging and leak testing could quickly put your mind at ease!

How Much Does an Infrared Building Inspection Cost?

Are you paying too much for your building inspection?

The reason I decided to write this article, is because a real estate agent who was present with me during a recent infrared building inspection made an interesting observation.

She said “How much do you charge for an infrared building inspection?”

I gave her the figure based on the size of the house we were inspecting at the time, and to my surprise, she said “That’s half the price of what some other companies are charging for a similar inspection!”. Now I can’t speak for other companies and how they operate, but she said my inspection is very similar to what most other companies do… and she has obviously seen plenty of pre purchase moisture tests over her 27yrs in the business.

There is no set inspection price to charge clients in our industry, and what you get for your money can vary… so make sure you do your homework.

How much does a building inspection cost?

Generally, it’s based on the size of the house and what you require. For example, if you don’t require a written report (verbal inspection), then our company charges less because time has been saved not having to put the report together.

Be sensible before making a decision on which home inspection company to use. Take a look at the company testimonials, check out their ‘about us’ page, make sure they specialise in what they do, and take a good look at example of their work. AND… make sure they don’t offer further services to fix the problems once they find them… because some companies may have a cheap building inspection fee up front, then sell you services to fix the leaks, or sell you whatever else they can to make more money out of the job.

An example of what I’m talking about here, is a home I inspected in Mt Roskill recently which had signs of two leaks under each end of a single window. Instead of doing an invasive test first (logical way to go), some local builder came around and told the home owner he will need to take out ALL the windows around the whole house and install sill flashings. Hmmmm.

Make sure you get multiple quotes for any type of remedial work that needs doing on your home… prices can vary wildly for the exact same job.

We quote you a fixed price over the phone… and it doesn’t change once we get there!

Roof Valley Flashing Leak

Should a roof valley flashing leak?

The sky is the limit when it comes to ‘mystery’ leaks in houses!

We have found many different types of leaks in NZ homes, and some you just don’t expect.

Some people seem to think buying a good old fashioned brick and tile home is a safe bet, and that there is no need for a thermal imaging leak inspection before buying. Not always the case.

The infrared image below shows a huge leak on a ceiling underneath a tiled roof. What caused it? A leak in the valley flashing directly above. The interesting part is there was no sign of the leak on the ceiling!

Dark area shows large water leak
Dark area shows large water leak

The home owners were slightly skeptical about getting a quick scan on their home given the nature of the build, but no matter how solid your walls are (i.e. Brick/block), you can’t stop leaks coming in from the roof area, or in this case a failure in the valley flashing. In addition, they had insulfluff insulation which was saturated and needed to be replaced.

 If you are buying a brick and tile home, don’t overlook a leak inspection first!

Liquid Leak into River – Aerial Infrared Photo

An infrared camera is an excellent way to detect ‘hard to solve’ problems that the human eye won’t see.

Below is an infrared image of liquid leaking into a river.

Here’s why this leak could be seen using a highly sensitive thermal imaging camera: See where the liquid is spilling into the river? That liquid is a different temperature to the water it’s flowing into… therefore an infrared thermographer can instantly pinpoint the source of the leak. There is no way this spillage could have been detected with the human eye, because the colour of the liquid was almost the same as the water it was flowing into.

These same principles are what we use to detect leaks in NZ houses. This thermal imaging photo is taken from the sky out of a small aircraft.

Courtesy of AITscan
Courtesy of AITscan

We detect leaks all over NZ using infrared technology!

Leak Detection on Brand New Homes

Should you bother checking a brand new home for leaks?

Yes, it surely is. Here’s why…

Some people are prepared to take the risk and not bother getting a leak detection done on brand new homes, and I have no idea why! When you’re investing 100’s of thousands of dollars, you need to cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s, otherwise you could get caught out. Put it this way, you’ll absolutely kick yourself if you move in and find leaks a couple of months later. There’s no need to rush your purchase… if this one has leaks or moisture issues, there’s plenty of other homes to choose from.

 Recently I was hired to check for signs of leaks & moisture in a brand new home in Massey, Auckland. The home had been built and sitting on the market empty for 3 months. In this case, the home came up clean and didn’t show any signs of moisture ingress which is great for all parties involved. At the end of the day, it was still wise for the buyer to get this leak inspection done, as there had been alot of rain around and any ‘oversights’ by the builder may well have been revealed. (The building inspection did show up a couple of minor issues though!!).

 An infrared inspection will also show up any ‘patches’ of missing insulation that have been missed (could well be a cost cutting method on the builders behalf). Really, what is the probability of you climbing into the roof space to check for missing insulation that would ultimately result in heat loss and higher heating bills? And… there is almost NO CHANCE you’ll know about missing insulation is the walls! We can see these potential issues with the infrared camera without needing to put holes in the wall or climb into the ceiling.

Don’t let the beautiful kitchen divert your attention away from what could be hiding behind the walls. If you do the correct checks up front in the pre purchase phase, you’ll sleep peacefully at night… and that in itself in extremely valuable (just ask anyone who’s purchased a leaky home).