Recladding a Leaky Home in 2020
Leaky homes in NZ
Between 1991 and 2004 a large number of plaster clad homes were constructed. These are generally known as Monolithic Cladding or Plaster Cladding and are Direct Fix (with no cavity). The normal ways to describe the three most common types of exterior cladding used are Stucco, Polystyrene, or Fibre Cement. Since 2002 it is commonly known that these types of cladding have a high fail rate and that moisture can get in behind the cladding in a number of ways and cause damage to the framing and rot the timber.
In 2004 the Building Act and New Zealand Building Code were changed to move away from these types of cladding methodology to include a number of failsafes to protect the framing from early damage. These changes included the use of cavity systems, additional flashing protection, higher timber treatment requirements, and stricter adherence to code requirements around ground clearance and other high risk areas.
How have these changes impacted the need to reclad a leaky home?
A percentage of the houses affected have been reclad. However the vast bulk of homes constructed during this time still have their original cladding, roofing and exterior windows and doors in place.
This means that there are a large number of homes across Auckland with probable defects and lacking the failsafes provided by the changes made in 2004, increasing the risk of issues for the home owner. New Zealand weather conditions are not kind and left untreated these design issues can become hugely problematic for home owners.
What problems do we find when we re-clad a building?
Our construction teams have re-clad 120 + houses for Resolution Projects Ltd. Each time they take the cladding off we employ a timber specialist to come and check the framing and see if any of it needs to be replaced.
The most common reasons for damaged framing are generally not failures of the cladding itself, but where the cladding meets other building elements such as;
What can be done about these building design issues?
For every problem listed above there are now a number of simple and generally accepted solutions.
The ultimate solution where affordable, is to re-clad the exterior flash and if possible install new window and doors, correct the groundlines by lowering or installing concrete nibs, correctly flash and provide safeguards to cladding penetrations, and reconstruct decks and balconies so that they all for better step downs and falls and allow for water to be drained off them and for the membranes to be able to be inspected.
A check of the roof is also essential – in some cases the roof is fine and can be left in place but often it is also contributing and so should be addressed at the same time.
A Builders Comment on Leaky Homes
What we have found is that very few of these buildings have no decay. We often notice people saying that this house is a leaky building but the one next door (built the same way at the same time) is not.
We have found that a better rule of thumb is that these houses tend to have some decay across the board, but some have very little damage (say up to 50 meters of damaged framing) while others have widespread damage (say of to 500 meters of damaged framing).
What has surprised us is that it can be hard to guess what category a home might be in. Some houses look poorly maintained and have all of the details we associate with issues but can have very little damage and others look very in very good condition but can have widespread decay.
What we do know is that the decay can not get better over time and options to prevent further damage or to repair these houses through re-cladding or partial re-cladding are essential for the health, well-being and safety of the occupants over time.
Resolution Projects Ltd specialise in recladding Auckland homes. Talk to us about your reclad project today.
Friendly and approachable, we offer a streamlined personal process for getting your building project underway. Whether you have plans ready or are at the start of organising your recladding project, call us to talk through your ideas. We can provide you with guidance on design, budget and timelines.
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