Monday, November 9, 2015

Overcoming damp problems in your house | Professional Home Inspections Perth

By:Peter Huber
posted by:

From time to time the CSIRO is asked to suggest remedies for dampness caused by rain penetrating solid masonry walls, below are some of their invaluable findings and suggestions which are worth passing on.
Single-leaf construction cannot be expected to be water-tight, especially if it is subjected to wind-driven rain. If the wall thickness is increased it should be more resistant to rain penetration, but poor workmanship in the form of unfilled joints and un-tooled face joints can result in walls that are prone to dampness despite their thickness and apparent solidity.

Often people seek a quick and easy “brush-on” treatment, preferably to be applied from the inside, but we consider the latter to be unrealistic and a false economy. External treatment aimed at preventing the masonry from becoming damp in the first place is a more sound approach. Some possibilities are described:



Silicone formulations brushed or sprayed onto porous surfaces make them water repellent, so that water then runs down treated walls instead of being absorbed. There is a risk in this, however, because fissures wider than hairline crack are not bridged by these materials. The increased amount of water running down the wall during a shower can result in more water penetrating the wall, via such fissures, than before the treatment. With this in mind walls should be examined carefully, and repaired if necessary, before silicone is applied. Silicones deteriorate in sunlight and periodic reapplication is required if the wall is to remain water repellent.


This is a useful treatment. Two coats should be applied on the wall after the necessary preparation. A minimum preparation would be to repair gaps and defects in the mortar joints, but in practice “bagging” of the whole wall is advisable. A mixture of 1:4 cement: plasterer’s sand is suggested for this, the wall being “wetted down” before starting.


If organic paints are to be used “bagging” is an essential preparation. As long as the paint film is intact the system will be effective, but once cracking starts water will be trapped behind the paint. This water will take a long time to evaporate and, under adverse conditions, the wall can become progressively damper. In any case the life of the paint system there-after is likely to be short.


This treatment is virtually permanent and should be effective in all but the most severe conditions. For resistance to rain penetration a rough-textured and porous rendering is normally more effective than a dense and impermeable plain finish. Suitable cement: l lime: sand mixes are given in the British Standard Code of Practice CP 221, “External rendered finishes”, available from the Standards Association of Australia.

The discussions and hint given above will suit most homes that have damp problems, in fact silicone treatment seems to be the most popular, especially in the case where the external walls are face bricks.

If you have any further questions please call our office.

We want you the reader to write to us on, any Building matters, and questions or if you seek advice, we will gladly answer any topic that you wish us to discuss, so please send your letters to “B. & H. I. S.” C/O. 17 Battye Road, Kardinya, W.A. 6163 or fax/ph (09) 331-3031

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Best Wall Coverings practices | Pre Purchase Building Inspections Perth

By:Peter Huber

Vinyl wall coverings (vinyl laminated to paper or fabric) have become very popular over the last few years, largely because they are more easily cleaned than the uncoated open-textured types. Yet it is just this impervious, otherwise-desirable surface that sometimes creates a mould problem.

Pre Purchase Building Inspections Perth   

In one home examined by the Division of CSIRO, red and purple stains were found to be showing through from behind a light coloured vinyl wall covering within two weeks of application. The stains, which originated in the paste layer, were identified as a type of mould. The key factor in this rapid mould growth was the fact that paste had been sandwiched between a painted wall and a sub-substantial vinyl membrane.

Pre Purchase Building Inspections Perth   

On one hand, the impervious vinyl layer prevented evaporation of moisture from the paste layer while on the other hand, the painted background drastically reduced absorption of water into the wall. Thus, the paste was kept moist long enough for mould growth to start. Had an adhesive offering less nourishment to moulds been used, mould growth would have been unlikely. Similarly, had the wall covering been a plain paper or one of the “spongeable” wallpapers (papers with a very thin plastic film on the surface), or one of the “breathable” vinyls, mould growth would again have been unlikely since such coverings “breathe”, enabling the paste to dry by evaporation.

Pre Purchase Building Inspections Perth  

When hanging wall coverings of solid vinyl sheet laminated to paper, it is a wise precaution to apply a fungicidal wash such as two percent sodium hypochlorite solution to the wall before sizing it with a dilute solution of a cellulose adhesive with fungicide added. For best results manufacturers suggest applying lining paper to the wall before finally hanging the wall covering, using the heavy-duty cellulose adhesive for both operations. In the case of mould staining described above the vinyl wall overing had been hung, without a preliminary fungicidal ash, using a starch paste (instead of a cellulose adhesive) with fungicide added. Obviously this was not enough protection.

Pre Purchase Building Inspections Perth    

When the weather is very cold and damp the cellulose adhesive may take a long time to set, so an acrylic-reinforced latex adhesive might be advisable under such conditions, to avoid lifting of the seams. Alternatively, he cellulose adhesive could be used and, if the seams do lift, they could be bonded to the wall with the latex. When hanging wall coverings of vinyl sheet laminated to fabric, only the specially formulated adhesives recommended by the manufacturers should be used.

Pre Purchase Building Inspections Perth    

Normally, coverings are not hung on absorbent surfaces. Manufacturers recommend that bare surfaces be painted with a flat oil paint, and it has been assumed in the above that this has been done.

For now till next week when we will discuss

your “Handy Jock”.

Any questions that our readers may have would be gladly welcomed and endeavoured to be answered as seen fit.


Friday, September 4, 2015

How to stop condensation? | Professional Building Inspections WA

Posted By:Peter Huber
Continued from the post > CondensationIssues
Condensation is basically simple. It involves preventing moist air from coming into contact with cold surfaces (ie. surfaces at temperatures below the dew point of air). In practice this can be achieved by:
§  Removing moisture laden air (by ventilation) and/or
§  Raising the temperature of any cold interior surface to a level above the room air dew point (by heating).
The best way to remove moist air is to use exhaust fans as its source. An electric fan should be installed in the ceilings of the bathrooms and switched on when using showers or baths. To enable the fan to work more effectively, leave a door or window slightly open while the fan is running.
A ceiling vent is recommended over every sink, basin or trough in the house.
More water vapour is normally generated in laundries tan in any other room. Clothes driers should be ducted to the outside air.
A hood fitted with an exhaust fan is recommended over hot plates and stoves as follows:
§  The exhaust fan should be at least 200 mm in diameter.
§  The distance between the hotplate and hood should be 600 mm, this distance may be increased to 750 mm if absolutely necessary.
§  The width and depth of the hood should be preferably the same as the hot plate or stove.

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If it is not practical to install a hood, an exhaust fan may be located in the ceiling over the stove and used while cooking.
In rooms where exhaust fans are impracticable (eg. bedrooms) adequate ventilation can be obtained by opening windows.
Remember it is better to ventilate continuously by having all windows slightly open than by opening one window wide for a short time.
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In addition to good ventilation, heating can also help to reduce condensation on walls and ceilings. Condensation on window panes and metal window frames, however, is not significantly reduced by heating. This is because glass and metal are good conductors of heat. Any heat which reaches these surfaces does not warm them appreciably as the heat quickly is lost to the outside air.
In very cold climates (and in Australia this can be takes to mean in areas above the snow line), it may be necessary to provide double glazing to raise the temperature of the inner pane.
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It is better to provide some continuous background heating rather than short burst of heating. Continuous heating allows wall and ceiling surfaces to warm up and stay warm, which greatly reduces the risk of condensation. On cold days try to keep inside air temperatures at least 5oC higher than outside air temperatures.
The risk of condensation is considerably reduce in any room if walls and ceiling are insulated, because it allows these surfaces to reach a higher temperature. For an existing house it may not be practical to insulate walls, but ceilings can usually be easily insulated. Apart from reducing the risk of condensation and mould growth, insulation will substantially reduce heating costs.
Building Inspector Perth     
Technical information by Courtesy of CSIRO.
Your “Handy Jock”.
Any questions that our readers may have would be gladly welcomed and endeavoured to be answered as seen fit.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Inspect Home before Selling | Professional Building Inspections Perth

Posted By:Peter Huber
Before You Sell Your Home, Have it Inspected!

So you’re considering selling your home and now you want to be sure that there will be no unpleasant surprises to upset the settlement process. Well, we’re here to help make sure of that! Building and Home Inspection Service currently has five offices spread around the wider Perth metropolitan area, all of which draw on a wealth of experience to ensure that your home is thoroughly inspected with the most up-to-date equipment and reports digitally collated for your future reference.

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Common Problems with Building Integrity

1) Termite Infestation and Damage

This is one problem you never want to let get out of hand. Termites just love untreated pine and will turn structural timbers to dust in months if left unchecked. We will endeavor to find their trails, any timber that has been affected from ceiling supports to floor joists, and record all the sites photographically and in your written report.

2) Foundation Settling

A common problem with suspended houses – those on stumps – but also on concrete slab foundations are cracks that appear as a house settles, or as the ground dries out or becomes wetter over years. Cosmetic or structural repairs are called for, but in terms of selling your home, so long as the issue is catalogued, no-one can complain they didn’t know what they were buying.

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The movement of buildings can also result in problems with main lines in and out of the structure. While electricity and gas are not usually a problem, due to the malleability of the materials used, even modern day PVC pipes are susceptible to fracture. This can result in leakage from waste pipes wherever the connection becomes stressed – even in the wall cavity of your home.

3) Construction Short-cuts

We don’t want to seem overly critical, but even the width of mortar joins between bricks must meet a minimum standard – too much mortar compromises the structural integrity of the wall. Elsewhere, poorly secured flooring can result in buckling of verandah floors, or the use of untreated or uncured, water-sensitive wood close to down-pipes can result in much the same thing.

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All these and many, many more criteria are examined and checked with a Building Inspection reports Perth – there is one for your budget and building, no matter where in Perth you are located. Call one of our offices today! or else go

Friday, August 14, 2015

What causes condensation in houses? | Building Inspection specialists Perth


What Causes condensation?

Building Inspection specialists Perth:
When moist air is cooled below its “dew” point that is (cooled to temperature at which it cannot contain all the water originally present) and if the cooling is caused by contact with a colder surface, then the surplus water appears as droplets on that surface, we call this condensation.

In real every day analogy it translate like this:- we hardly notice the air around us on an average day, then night time approaches, the temperature drops, and things become cold as the temperature drops, so does the air, if this dropping in temperature continues then the water vapour that occurs naturally in the air turns into water and if cold enough into ice.

Air in a house can become moister because the occupants and some appliances produce water vapor. Typical quantities of water vapor produced in a home are:-

    Adults breathing 0.1 liters/hr
    Hot Bath 1.5 liters/hr
    Washing Machine 3.0 liters/hr
    Clothes Drier 5.0 liters/hr
    Hot Shower 10.0 liters/hr

Water vapor is also generated in large quantities by gas stoves/hot plates and kerosene heaters so much so that a lot of water may be stored in the air each day as water vapour.

Building Inspection specialists Perth:
On cold days much of this water will condense (if the ventilation rate is low) on cold window panes and even on walls. Little wonder then when some house holders complain of mold, decay and damp carpets.

Steam coming from service areas such as kitchens laundries and bathrooms travel to other rooms in the house, even if these rooms are a considerable distance away. The worst condensation problems generally occur in unheated rooms facing south which receive little heat from the sun. The movement of the water vapour within the air (using the air as a travel medium) travelling from service areas to other rooms such as bedrooms is due to the difference in water vapour pressure.

Condensation in new homes

Severe condensation problems often occur in new homes as construction moisture is stored in the bricks floor etc. in addition to the moisture generated by the occupants. It will take about six to 12 months for the water to evaporate. Some of this moisture will be lost to the outside air by natural ventilation and much will find its way into other rooms in the house.

Building Inspection specialists Perth:

If moist air from the rooms is exhausted into the roof space, sever condensation may occur within the roof space causing costly damage to ceilings, roof members and insulation materials.

    Poorly vented pitched tiled roofs with aluminium foil sarking directly beneath the tiles. To reduce the risk of condensation, ventilation should be provided in the eaves and gable ends.
    Flat metal deck or cathedral roofs. On no account should moist air be exhausted into these roof spaces. It should be carried by flues passing right through the roof space (or external walls) to the outside air. Sever condensation could also occur if such roof spaces were connected via wall cavities to a moist sub-floor space.

Technical information by courtesy of CSIRO.
For now till next week when we will discuss
your “Handy Jock”.

Building Inspection specialists Perth:
Any questions that our readers may have would be gladly welcomed and endeavored to be answered as seen fit

Do you What causes condensation in houses? Condensation problems often occur in new homes as construction moisture is stored in the bricks floor etc. in addition to the moisture generated by the occupants. So Call 08 9331 3031 for Home Inspections reports Perth  and Building Inspection reports Perth for complete home solution.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Building Inspections reports Perth | Improving Sub-Floor Ventilation

By: Peter Huber
Posted By:

Improving Sub-Floor Ventilation

We will look at improving sub-floor ventilation which if not done correctly can be a cause of decay to timber components.

The other day we were asked to inspect an older style home in Nedlands it was a grand old mansion with timber flooring through out, massive ceilings space and it was oozing with old world charm. Generally the home was in good shape some of the roof timber were showings signs of sag and ageing but one room in particular was extremely cold, and it almost reminded me of the spooky stories one reads about cold rooms in haunted homes, but no such luck.
It turned out, after removing the inspection (male/female) opening in between the floor joists, it was obvious why the room was so cold.

Building Inspections reports Perth:

For starters the distance between the ground and the floor was very close, the home was on a sloped block, and sub-floor ventilation was minimal. I will insert some data facts as supplied by CSIRO to us, on how to improve the subfloor ventilation with some interesting and commonsense applications, but you may well ask what has a sloping block to do with it, well when water via rain is deposited around the perimeter of a house if the home sits on a flat block of land the water will seep into the ground vertically down, if the block is sloped the water that may pond in areas can and will flow down the hill and seep into the ground as it progresses down the incline of the land and hence we get damp and moisture under areas that would mot normally get damp on a level block.

Now the CSIRO Division receives an steady stream of requests for advise on prevention and correction of decay in flooring and in the majority of cases the problem is one of inadequate subfloor ventilation, that is for a free flow of air under all parts of suspended timber floors.

In older buildings the problem can be complicated by an ineffective dam-proof course, by leakages from water supplies or wastes or by the discharge of storm water into the sub-floor cavity, further more in older buildings the provisions for under-floor ventilation is often inadequate.

Building Inspections reports Perth:

We shall take a case in point, where in a double brick dwelling circa(1920) most of the timber flooring had to be renewed. During the repairs the size and numbers of openings in the brickwork below floor level was increased because, with a few exceptions, the only provisions originally provided for ventilation was the openings in the brick work beneath the doorways. Before the new flooring was laid, extra openings were provided within one(1) to two(2) meters of every corner of every room and midway along any wall over five(5) meters long. Each of the new openings occupied the space of at least two bricks.

In addition because of the low sub-floor clearance and the difficulty of providing good cross ventilation, plastic sheeting was spread out over the ground and under all new flooring so as to reduce the area from which soil moisture could evaporate into the sub-floor cavity. Mortar droppings and other debris were removed from the inside of all external ventilator openings and finally the ventilators themselves were replaced.

Replacement of the ventilators was an essential part of the repairs. Surprisingly the smaller of the original terracotta vents provided for rather more free airway than the double brick size, even though the latter had one more opening. However in practice, nether allowed for much air exchange between the subfloor space and the outside because the openings had been blocked by spiders and assorted debris. The pressed metal vents that were used to replace the original terra-cotta air bricks allow for about ten(10) times as much air flow through each opening. This together with the other measures taken should ensure that conditions conducive to decay do not develop again under that floor.

Adequate subfloor ventilation is also an essential requirement which is often overlooked when remedying the problem of excessive dampness in walls, by effectively ventilating all subfloor cavities, moisture that evaporates from the soil or the foundation is removed and the sub-floor humidity is prevented from rising. However achieving an airflow across or along the sub-floor space can be difficult in some houses, especially in terraces where there can be problems in providing vents at both ends of the house.

Building Inspections reports Perth:

In case like that the Division often recommends the utilisation of disused fireplaces as a means of venting. If decorative facing is placed over the front of a fireplace openings cut through the hearth to the sub-floor space and a cowling or chimney pot placed on top of the chimney then a n up-draught will be created when the wind blows over the roof and air will be drawn from under the floor.

Any questions that our readers may have would be gladly welcomed and endeavoured to be answered as seen fit.


Monday, July 27, 2015

Home Inspection reports Perth | How to cure Rising Damp – Part Two

By:Peter Huber
Posted By: BHIS

Continued from first part…

“FREEZTEQ” as discussed in last weeks column is a unique and highly effective damp coursing system which has been patented in the UK and overseas and it offers several major advantages over other chemical techniques.

The system is based on siliconate solutions which are inserted into holes drilled into the mortar line of the wall to be treated being in the form of a circular section pre-frozen pellets which are inserted into the pre-drilled holes.

The slow melting system ensures a continuous water repellent barrier throughout the treated area, because the system depends on natural seepage (diffusion), which research has shown to be the most effective method for fluid distribution in masonry, accurate dosages can be readily achieved and application costs are thus remarkably low.

The “FREEZTEQ” or known as the Passive system, is suitable for damp coursing all types of walls including stone and rubble and has shown itself particularly effective in treatment of older properties.

According to a spokesperson for “Consolidated Protective Coatings” who specialise in using the “FREEZTEQ” (444-2929) system say that, it is important to do a diagnostic analysis on the walls and then recommend which type of application to use in curing the rising damp. It apparently is not straight forward, since if the mechanical method is used, that is, injecting silicon liquid under pressure, then if the mortar is friable and the bricks are old and crumbly(Spalding) there is a good chance that they may fall apart or out, due to the Pressure that is used (between 50 to 120 psi) during the injection method. Hence the more Passive method comes into it’s own.

He also said that to perform a quality job the plaster needs to be removed and skirting which may be in the way all these will eventually have to be replaced and are reasonably costly items, but the choices are very limited.

Requirements for Damp-proof coursing and flashing materials are covered in detail in the AUSTRALIAN Standards 2904-1986
In fact if building a new home and the Builder is registered with the Builders Registration Board, a directive from the Board has been issued to the builders to make sure that all shower cubicles are water tight and that the home built in general does not leak as it will be the Builders responsibility for 6 years.

In summary the main causes for rising damp in older homes are, the break down of the original damp proofing needing chemical intervention) In newly built homes, poor quality and control of workmanship is usually the cause. There is no excuse with today’s technology, know how and information to have a damp or leaking abode.



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pre Purchase Building Inspections Perth | How to cure Rising Damp – Part One

Building Inspection Perth WA
08 9331 3031/0418 948 760
By: Peter Huber
Posted by:

No problem is so wide spread nor so misunderstood as rising damp. Probably every building built before 1900 has a damp problem in some degree and thousands of dollars are spent in repairs.
In many cases the cure is worse than the disease; illconceived treatments may in fact increase the problem and could decrease the real estate value of the building.
On top of this many renovation practices can cause problems where they may not have existed previously.
Expensive and good looking renovations can turn into disaster areas by not allowing for moisture flow in old walls.

The symptoms of wall dampness are easily recognised: musty smell, deteriorating paint and plaster. The moisture behaves like a wick and in fact is called wick action, it literally rises up the wall, like kerosene rises in a wick on the kerosene lamp. There comes a point where the damp cannot rise any further due to natural ventilation causing it to dry out this area is called the tide mark and is quite visible, at that point the drying out process is the fastest and mineral salts are deposited as visible marks on the wall. This tide mark is usually at about 900mm above floor level.
The first step in rectification is to source the cause, the damp proof course which is usually made out of lead or galvanised iron or even bituminous material, which is imbeded between the brick coursing, in the hope of preventing the damp rising, may have deteriorated over the years. But more often the problem is elsewhere.
The most logical and essential consideration to the prevention of rising damp is keeping the ground on which the building is located as dry as possible. That is achieved by diverting any discharged water well away from the building and its foundations, it is also essential to check gutters, drains and down pipes for hidden leaks that may not always be obvious.

If the floor structure is timber then the underneath should be well ventilated using the natural cross ventilation system available, by means of vent grilles installed on the perimeter walls, at every 1.8 meters is desirable.
If it is a concrete raft slab construction, then the damp usually rises on the perimeter walls and is almost always due to bridging of cavities or the overflowing of eaves into cavity walls. Generally the concrete slab itself with the plastic membrane under neath is a good water proofer in itself thus negating any moisture conning up from under the slab.
If all these basic building rules have not been broken and the damp still persists (highly unlikely) then other more effective chemical means may have to be implemented. These include the chemical injection of silicone liquids under pressure this is usually done by competent trades specialising in this type of work. Another method that I have heard and read about is the “FREEZTEQ” damp course System that can be done by the handyman or women.
Next week we will discuss this system and how it works as well as other causes of damp in walls.
please call our office. We want you the reader to write to us on , any Building matters, questions or if you seek advise,  we will gladly answer any topic that you wish us to discuss, so please send your letters to “B. & H. I. S.” C/O. 46 Riley  Road , Kardinya , W.A. 6163. or fax/ph (09) 331-3031. We will continue next week  ie..


Monday, July 13, 2015

Building Inspector Perth | Roof Repairs In Preparation For Winter

By: Peter
Posted by:

Building Inspector Perth with Building & Home Inspection Service (BHIS), Perth, WA gives potential buyer a piece of mind. BHIS has been providing Western Australia complete professional inspections since 1980.

Roof Repairs In Preparation For Winter:
Now that winter is drawing closer it is time to prepare our roof and drainage system for the onslaught of those wet and blistery days.
A checklist would be a handy item to have so here is one:-

A) CLEAR ALL GUTTERS OF DEBRIS:, that is leaves and even build up of dirt collected over the years, as all those particles can firstly clog up the downpipe pipe entry and cause a build up of water in the gutter and secondly when the gutter dries out debris will hinder the drying process allowing rust to form in suspect areas.

Also check to see if the gutter has been backplated (see diagram) if not then overflow of water into the eaves, under the conditions mentioned above is very likely. This can be rectified by replacing the removed portion of metal from the gutter, efficiency of the gutter is reduced by 50-60 percent if the back of the gutter is not reinstated.
Sometimes downpipes can also get blocked, it is wise to flush them out especially if they are connected to soakwells. Never seal the join between the down pipe and the shoe where it runs into a soakwell, because if the soakwell ever loses its capacity then it can overflow at ground level at the join and not at gutter level.
For gutters to last longer the inside cam be painted with a bituminous paint which will effectively double the life of the gutter.

B) VALLEY GUTTERS FLASHINGS & OTHER PROTRUSIONS: It is also wise to check that all protrusions are still water tight, that is the seal between lead flashings and the pipes (vents & Flues) are still water tight if not seal them with a bead of paintable Silicone. All metal components should always be protected to slow down the deterioration process and all Lead components  should be painted so as not to cause accelerated rusting to the galvanised metal components on a roof such as gutters and downpipes.

Valley gutters should also be kept free of leaves and debris which can quite ,easily get caught especially if the free valley space is less that 100mm (4”). The water as it rushes down from the tiles onto the valley will get caught up in the leaves and debris and soon it will act as a dam and tend to overflow along the sides especially as over a period of time the LIPPED VALLEY ENDS (see “End on View” diagram) of the valley gutter have been clogged with dirt, crimped down by the weight of the tile or flattened down by holding down nails, it is very time consuming to carry out and rectify this but is well worth it if water ingress is a problem along valley lines.
Another problem is that valleys can overflow due to the sheer rush and volume of water deposited during a storm on steeply pitched roofs. Fitting baffles will redirect the flow of water and eliminate this problem.

So that we all understand what we are talking about enclosed is also a part cross sectional diagram of a typical roof and eaves. 

This is the style of work I do, I strongly believe in talking to people in terms, that they can understand and also show them in diagrammatic form if needed.
This is what your paper (column) can expect, should you take us on board.
This article is written on Word 7.0  we also have access, in our publishing section, to Pagemaker 7.0 all diagrams are either drawn or scanned in and can be faxed, disk mailed or sent by modem.

 Would be happy to hear from you.

If you are interested in Area License opportunities with BHIS, Perth’s oldest, fast, accurate reliable and hi-tech Building Inspector Perth, please call Head Office on – 08 9331 3031