Total Home Inspections News

27 June 2023

High Moisture Readings: Beware of the potential consequences

High moisture readings are a common issue that we find during building inspections around Perth, particularly within shower enclosures. When high levels of moisture are detected in the wall or floors near shower enclosures, it immediately raises concerns as this can indicate that there is a significant problem within the property. These readings are a reliable indication of moisture infiltration and can provide valuable insights into the condition of the shower enclosure and its surrounding areas. Understanding the implications of these readings will help you make informed decisions and protect you from the potential for financial headaches in the future.

There are many reasons why high moisture readings around shower enclosures should never be overlooked. We will reveal the common underlying causes, potential risks, and key considerations that every home buyer should be aware of including whether this issue constitutes a structural defect.

Causes and Consequences of Leaking Shower Enclosures

Waterproofing failure is a common defect when it comes to high moisture readings around shower recesses. This relates to the inadequacy or the breakdown of the waterproofing system designed to prevent water penetration and protect the underlying structure. Common causes include damaged or ineffective membrane installation and deterioration over time.  Faulty grout, cracked tiles, and failed sealants within the shower recesses can also contribute to water damage by allowing water to penetrate the underlying layers which can compromise the waterproofing of the enclosure. 

Problems with the plumbing systems in the shower area can also be a contributing factor. Leaking pipes and connections, old/damaged shower fixtures, and improper drainage can all contribute to high moisture readings and water damage. It is essential to promptly address any plumbing faults to prevent further problems. Engaging the services of a licensed plumber to repair leaks, ensure proper drainage, and improve ventilation is crucial. Regular maintenance and inspections can help identify and rectify plumbing faults, ensuring the longevity and functionality of the shower recess while preventing costly water damage.

Addressing these issues promptly is crucial to prevent further damage, maintain a safe environment, and protect the long-term value of the property. Engaging experienced professionals for repairs or replacements is recommended to restore the integrity of the waterproofing system and prevent future moisture-related problems.

Continual exposure to moisture can cause the deterioration of building materials, including plasterboard, timber, and paint. This can result in unsightly stains, peeling paint, and compromised durability. In extreme cases, the prolonged exposure to moisture could even lead to structural damage in the long term, through timber decay or rot in timber framed homes. This can compromise the stability and safety of the building if not addressed promptly.

Excessive moisture also creates the ideal environment for mould and mildew to thrive. Mould growth not only affects the aesthetic appeal of the bathroom but also poses health risks to occupants, especially those with respiratory conditions or allergies.

Addressing and Resolving the Issue

Resolving high moisture readings requires a systematic approach to identify the source of moisture and implement appropriate remedial measures. 

  • Identify the Source: Conduct a thorough inspection to identify the source of moisture. 
  • Address Plumbing Issues: If plumbing leaks are identified as the source of moisture, engage the services of a licensed plumber to repair or replace damaged pipes, fittings, or fixtures. 
  • Evaluate Waterproofing: In cases where high moisture readings are attributed to waterproofing failures, consult a waterproofing specialist or building inspector to assess the integrity of the waterproofing system. 
  • Repair Sealants and Grout: Damaged or deteriorated sealants and grout can allow moisture to penetrate and contribute to high moisture readings. Repair or replace faulty sealants and grout lines to restore the integrity of the waterproofing system and prevent further water infiltration.
  • Monitor and Maintain: Regularly monitor moisture levels in the affected areas to ensure that the remedial measures are effective. Perform routine maintenance, such as cleaning and inspecting sealants, grout, and waterproofing, to prevent future issues and maintain a dry environment.
  • Seek Professional Assistance: When dealing with high moisture readings, it is advisable to consult professionals such as building inspectors, waterproofing specialists, and licensed contractors. 

High moisture readings around a shower enclosure is a significant indicator of potential issues that require immediate attention. Leaking shower enclosures can result in mould growth, and deterioration of building materials. Promptly addressing this issue through appropriate repairs, waterproofing improvements, and mould remediation is essential to ensure the integrity, safety, and longevity of the property. Professional building inspections and consultations with qualified experts can provide invaluable guidance in addressing and resolving these issues successfully.