Common Defects Found in Properties

Common Defects Found in Properties

You should always consider getting an independent survey when you’re buying a house – don’t rely on the mortgage valuation commissioned by the lender, as it does not provide an in depth report of the property defects.

We have identified some of the common defects found in our home surveys and how they can be found, resolved, and prevented in the future.

Condensation – when warm, humid air hits a cold surface and cools down, it creates condensation. – Often relates to heating and ventilation but it can also be caused by incorrectly installed insulation materials.

Penetrating Damp – this describes moisture finding its way from an outside surface to the inside.
– Can be identified by finding damp patches on walls or ceilings
– Can often be traced to problems outside, such as leaking pipes.
– More common in older properties.

Rising Damp – this describes moisture rising up through building materials.
– Normally indicated by salts or other staining to walls at low levels.
– When the problem is more advanced, it can cause crumbling wall plaster.
– More common in older properties.

Wet Rot – usually a result of poor maintenance.
– Often affects outside joinery, such as doors and windows frames.
– Commonly found where timber is in contact with a wet surface and can also affect hidden timber, such as in the floor or roof structure.

Dry Rot – a type of fungus that attacks timber to draw nourishment, leaving behind a weakened structure.
– Usually caused when timber is exposed to moisture e.g. plumbing leak or leaking gutters.

Roofs – Roof broken down into covering, lining material and the roof structure itself.
– Often not noticed by occupier until it has already caused damage to other areas and can be more expensive to repair than original defect.
– Roof maintenance can save thousands of pounds, but is often overlooked.

Drains – Leaking drains are a health hazard and can pose potential risk to adjacent building.
– One of the most common causes of foundation movement.
– In addition to leaks, surveyors will consider blockages, clogged vent piping, collapse etc.

Insect Infestation – larvae can bore their way through timber leaving it weakened as a result.
– Commonly affects floor and roof structures and can be costly to fix.

Lintels – lintel support above openings in load bearing walls, such as windows and doors, can have fractures and damage.
– Can be due to physical failure of lintel, undersized components or incorrect installation.

Movement – normally indicated by fractures in property walls, floors or ceilings.
– Thermal movement is the most common type.
– Most commonly found to relate to building foundations or support above openings.

Foundation Movement – failure in foundations can relate to insufficient depth, adjacent structures or changes in ground conditions.
– External factors such as drains and nearby vegetation can also play a part.
– Commonly caused by nearby trees – a professional tree surgeon should be consulted in these situations.