Storm Proofing Your Roof

Since the roof of your home is one of its most vulnerable spots, keeping it in top condition is critical. This is especially true when it comes to the sometimes severe storms that occur in the greater Brisbane area. If your roof is in poor shape, it won’t be able to cope well with intense storms – and the structural integrity of your entire home can become compromised. Instead of leaving things to chance, you should learn how to storm proof your roof, and have building inspections conducted from time to time.

Common Roof Problems

Many different things can cause problems for your roof, making it weak and susceptible to storm damages. A few of the top problems include:

Rust

Rusted connections and fittings are weak. When confronted with high winds and other storm phenomena, they can give out and spell serious trouble for your roof. From time to time, look your roof over and keep your eyes peeled for signs of rust; inspectors will do the same, and should let you know if they encounter any.

Loose Fittings and Bolts

Your roof is held together by several fittings, bolts and other connections. Over time, they can become loose; if they’re loose, and high winds occur, they can fall apart. Locate the bolts and fittings around your roof and make a point of checking on their condition every now and then. If they appear loose, tighten them or replace the hardware.

Rotten Timber

Timber can rot over time, most commonly due to water damage. Rotten timber is weak timber, and it’s susceptible to strong winds and other things that happen during a fierce storm. Look out for rotten timber and take care of it right away if you encounter any.

Termites

Termites can destroy your roof, which is why it is imperative to have a pest inspection firm look everything over from time to time. If the problem is detected early, damage can be minimal.

Save Aggravation and Money with Regular Inspections

By keeping all of the preceding points in mind, you can ensure that your home’s roof is capable of withstanding the occasionally fierce storms that roll through this part of the world. Prevention is far preferable to the cure, and inspections are the best preventive maintenance you can do. Get into the habit of looking your roof over yourself, but remember to bring in the professionals every now and then to get their expert opinions. If they encounter any problems or issues in your roof, they will alert you to them so that you can take the appropriate steps to remedy things. In the end, your home will stay in better shape.

Using Air Traps and Stand Pipes For Preventing Water Hammer

We know that in order to enjoy a comfortable occupancy, a functional water system is a must for any household or commercial property. But many times, when our technicians from Defence Pest & Building Inspection Services conduct inspections, clients ask what it means when every time they close the faucet, flush the toilet, use the washing machine or lock a valve, they hear some noise or feel the pipes vibrating. Most likely, this could mean that water hammer occurs in the pipes.

What is Water Hammer?

Water hammer is a surge caused by an abrupt stop or change in the direction of a fluid in motion. In household water systems, this commonly occurs when a valve is suddenly closed. This produces pressure that changes and accelerates the movement of water and since water is incompressible, this causes the water to forcefully slam against the pipe. Aside from resulting in vibrations and banging noises, water hammer can also damage fittings, fixtures and even cause the pipe to collapse. This, of course, can be dangerous not only because of possible structural damage but can also be hazardous to the occupants in the property.

Reducing the Occurrences of Water Hammer

The Use of Air Trap

Water’s incompressible nature makes controlling the water surge in an enclosed path even more difficult, especially when the pipe is filled with water alone. However, air traps can be used to lessen the intensity of the water movement. The system is designed to allow air to be trapped and move to higher points of the pipe, so that when waves of water begin to surge, the air will rise, putting a halt on the forceful water flow. The idea is that air is less dense than water and, in a way, it acts as a clearance to stop the water from forcefully banging directly against the pipe.

Stand Pipes

Stand pipes, which are usually built vertically, can be used to decrease the oscillation of water in the pipe. Stand pipes built for controlling water hammer can be installed for each valve and must be open at the top so that the air can absorb and decrease the force of the water flow.

Have Your Plumbing Installation Inspected

If water hammer has become a common occurrence in your property and you are noticing that the impact has become more intense, our team at Defence Pest & Building Inspection Services recommend that you immediately have your plumbing installation inspected. Ignoring the problem may not only end up in costly damage repair expenses but could increase the potential risk of danger to the entire household.

Repairing Flood Damage

Should you have been a victim of the 2011 and 2013 Brisbane River Floods, you are able to take advantage of the free flooding pre-lodgement service offered by the Council.

The first step is to complete the Pre-lodgement Meeting Request Form before trying to set up a meeting. Should you own the property, you should also consider taking necessary precautions against future flooding and setting up a future flood plan.

Stay on the Right Side of the Law

To be on the right side of the law when making modifications you need to:

1) Download the Temporary Local Planning Instrument – Brisbane Interim Flood Response.

2) Download a flood level map.

3) Arrange for a Floodwise Property Report pertaining to your property.

4) Get hold of a Flood Flag Map for your local suburb.

5) Take flood implications into consideration when considering altering the property.

6) Consider the flood resistant materials guideline in choosing building materials.

7) Look towards upgrading your drainage systems.

8) Make sure new electricity outlets, et cetera, are above flood levels.

You also need to consider:

1) Increasing the height of your home – refer to the council rules in terms of the Temporary Local Planning Instrument.

2) Rebuilding your home – should you simply be restoring the house to its original state, you need not get Council approval. Should you be making modifications or improvements, Council approval could be required. More complete advice can be obtained from the Advice for Residents – Approvals for Repairing Renovating or Rebuilding Flood-affected Houses factsheet. You may even be eligible for application discounts.

3) Obtaining advice about approvals for business premises – check the Approvals for Operating from Temporary Premises and Repairs to Flood-Affected Buildings factsheet for info for business repairs.

4) Installing or repairing a private pontoon – An engineer needs to be consulted with regard to repairs or replacements of pontoons and Council approval may be required.

5) Fixing up your swimming pool – you need to ensure that adequate barriers are in place whilst repairs are being affected.

6) Getting rid of any dangerous waste or asbestos – hazardous waste is not to be left on the kerbside or in a skip – special arrangements need to be made.

7) What noise restrictions are in place – you need to ensure that you are mindful of noise regulations when repairs are being conducted.

The Next Step

Once the correct procedures have been followed, you will find that your clean-up and repairs after the flood will go smoothly and be much less of a bother. You will soon be able to have a building inspection to confirm that all is in order again.

What Is A Water Hammer?

A major problem that can occur in the plumbing of a home is known as “water hammer”, and experienced building inspectors know what to look for to ensure that this problem doesn’t arise. Water hammer is tremendously common; when left untreated or when not dealt with in a timely manner, water hammer can cause pipes to explode or implode, depending on the circumstances. Repairing the causes of a water hammer situation before they result in completely destroyed piping is definitely the best way to go about the situation. Before you can do that, though, you need to know what water hammer is, how it is caused – and why you need to be on the lookout for it.

The Water Hammer Phenomenon

Basically, a water hammer refers to a loud bang or hammering sound that occurs when a valve becomes closed at the end of a pipeline system. In that case, a pressure wave occurs and a loud bang lets you know that it’s happening. Many people hear this bang start to happen and think nothing of it; it can go on for some time before any serious damage occurs, but it should be dealt with right away because there’s no telling when a pipe will explode or implode, causing horrible damage and resulting in a very expensive repair bill.

Stand Traps Prevent Water Hammer

A few different ways of preventing water hammer have been devised through the years. Air traps and stand traps are the two primary examples. Stand traps – which are open on the top – work as cushions to soften the impact of a wave of moving water. They give that water somewhere to go so that it, in theory, won’t damage or destroy the pipes in a home. Stand traps are meant to prevent exploding pipes caused by high pressure water with nowhere to go – one of the most common causes of water hammer.

Air Traps And Imploding Pipes

When a valve is closed in the plumbing system, water might keep trying to flow. This creates a vacuum which can then cause a pipe to implode or collapse in on itself. This is just as problematic as an exploding pipe, and air traps are meant to deal with the problem. They’re sometimes called air vents or vacuum relief valves, and they work to let air into the line to keep these dangerous vacuums from occurring. In these instances, the telltale water hammer noise will happen which generally provides warning of an impending problem. Building inspectors know what to look for, and homeowners should have their pipes examined periodically to make sure that no majorly catastrophic problems are in the “pipeline,” as it were.

Ways To Prepare Your Home For Stormy Weather

Although summer brings plenty of sun and warm days in Queensland, it is also the wettest season of the year in the Sunshine State. That is, we experience the heaviest rainfalls during this time, usually brought about by storms and cyclones.

And with heavy rains come huge damages to properties and homes. In fact, during some of the annual inspections conducted by the Defence Pest and Building Inspection team, we come across homes that have experienced damages during a previous storm.

Keeping Your Property and Family Safe During the Storm

While storms are inevitable and beyond our control, there are several ways in which you can prepare for them. Preparation does not only avoid damages to your property but, more importantly, it is a key to keeping everyone in the family safe.

Clear branches and keep trees away from your house

Dead branches and branches extending to your home may easily fall off with strong winds, so even before the season begins, it is best to trim the trees surrounding your property. Trees close to your home also pose a huge danger especially during strong storms.

Use screens or shutters for glass windows and wall surfaces

Glass windows and glass wall surfaces are prone to breakage during typhoons. The use of metal screens or shutters will help to prevent this since the screens will filter the force against the glass. Using a duct tape on your window (taping it with an X pattern) will hold the glass together in case a breakage occurs.

Keep your roof well-maintained

Your roof is your main protection – whether it be sunny or rainy. Hence, this makes your roof more vulnerable to wear and tear. Keep your roof secure by checking for any loose tiles, repairing and replacing as needed. And because you are expecting rain, leaks should be sealed even before the wet season starts.

Make sure gutters and other outdoor drainages are clear

Always check the roof gutter and any outdoor drainage to make sure that they are not clogged or blocked. This will save you from a lot of cleaning-up later on and save you from repair expenses in case some flooding occurs.

Remove unsecured furniture or equipment from your yard

Any furniture or equipment in your yard that is not secure should be removed, as it can end up being damaged by the rains. It may also be carried by very strong winds, which can cause more damage to property.

Another important thing to remember is to always keep your building and property inspection up to date. During the routine inspection, our staff at Defence Pest and Building Inspection can help you identify what repairs and maintenance you need in order to avoid any potential risks during the stormy weather.

Repairing Water Penetration Damages

Water penetration damage can be repaired, especially when caught early enough. Although making a habit of inspecting your home for signs of water penetration is smart, it’s even better to have Brisbane building inspections done periodically as well. Any time you are purchasing a new home, too, you should have a pest inspection firm in Brisbane take a close look for the telltale signs of water penetration. Should any damage be found, there are things you can do; read on to learn more.

Repairing Damaged Tile Roofs

Tiled roofs that incur water penetration damage can be fixed and repaired, at least as a stopgap measure before having to replace the entire roof. The trick to doing this is finding the precise place where water is leaking through. It should be noted that walking on the tiles should be avoided at all costs. If it is absolutely necessary, it is best to walk along the places where two tiles overlap. Whenever possible, try to make the necessary repairs from below, from the roof space area rather than from above.

Most of the time, tiles become susceptible to water penetration when they become old. As tiles age, they tend to become brittle. If you find definite signs of water damage, the first thing you should do is see if any mortar has cracked or peeled away. Oftentimes, this is the case. If so, you can use a silicone-based sealant to make repairs which will prevent further water penetration. Optimally, this sealing will keep the problem at bay and will prevent it from become significantly worse.

Repairing Damaged Metal Roofs

Metal roofs are very strong, durable and resilient things. Compared with other types of roofs, they last a very long time and are excellent from an investment standpoint. However, exceptionally old metal roofs can incur water penetration damage. When this happens, replacement is usually the only reasonable option. However, certain measures can be used to extend the life of the metal roof. In Australia, one of the most common methods is to insert “slips” of corrugated iron between the damaged sheets of metal on the roof. These slips must be made out of the same material as the rest of the roof.

Another common method used to repair metal roofs in Australia is silicone sealant. This sealant can be used on metal roofs and covered with a coat of paint to make the roof attractive and whole once more. As noted above, this method is hardly a foolproof one and replacement is often necessary. For best results, it is recommended that a professional roofing company come out and examine the roof. That way, you can get an experienced perspective of the issue and make a decision from there.

Protecting Your Home From Water Damage

Water damage in homes can be costly even if is just a leaky pipe. Not only does the building structure and articles of use get damaged due to excess water exposure but, it also leads to building up of mould and bacteria that is harmful for the health of the residents. In order to protect the interior of your home and the health of your family members you need to take effective measures to keep the home dry and free from water damage. There are some very basic steps that you can take to provide protection against damages caused by water.

One of the basic things spotted out during building inspections in Brisbane is the presence of excess water or humidity levels. This might be due to the external weather conditions, faulty plumbing, or inadequate ventilation. Sometimes the damage is very minor while at other times it can be quite huge and difficult to handle by the homeowners themselves.

For the prevention of water damage there are a few simple steps you need to take to make sure the problem does not become too large to handle. Running water should never be left unattended, such as in dishwashers, washing machines or bathtubs. This way you will be able to avoid overflowing which is one of the most common causes of water damage. All water pipes should be insulated properly and checked regularly for cracks and breaks. Fix or replace all faulty things as soon as these are suspected. There are often telltale signs of water damage that you need to look out for, for example discoloration or soft flooring around a certain area that might be exposed to water, such as near the washing machine. Do not use any harsh cleansers in the toilet tank as these might break down the plastic pieces and corrode the internal workings.

Flashing, or using metal strips around the doors, windows and roofs, is a good way to prevent water intrusion. Make sure that all vents are in proper working order. Look out for signs of humidity, such as musty smells or wet stains on the walls. Make sure your HVAC system is in working order. You can also consider installing a water detection alarm to provide you with an alert in case of a water leak. All building and pool inspections in Brisbane should be made on a regular basis to identify signs of potential damage caused by excess water.

Water damage can be a major source of concern for homeowners. A number of preventive measures are to be taken to make sure that the problem does not aggravate too much.

Leaks In Your Home Could Lead To Costly Repairs

Not all damages in the home can be seen by the naked eyes, hence it is necessary to pay attention even to the minute clues that you find. Sometimes, a small leak is simply that – a leak due to a damaged water pipe in your kitchen or bathroom. But more often than you might realise, it could be hinting to you of a bigger problem that could occur if these little damages are not thoroughly inspected.

Leaking Pipes Could Be a Breeding Ground for Moulds

If you or a member of the family has allergic reactions to moulds, then leaks in your property should immediately be fixed. The moisture and humidity surrounding the leaking pipes will encourage the growth of mould and the release of spores into the air, triggering coughing, sneezing or runny nose in people allergic to moulds. Moulds can begin growing within 24 to 48 hours under ideal conditions, so our team at Defence Pest & Building Inspection Services suggests that damaged pipes be repaired within this period.

A Moist Environment Attracts Pests

Moisture is a necessity for termites to survive, and this is exactly what a leak in your home will provide them. Most especially when the leak is located near a wooden structure, such as the ceiling or a wooden column, then there is an increased risk of infestation as the pests will have both the moisture and the food that they need.

Leaky Pipes Can Mean a Leak in Your Pocket

Aside from the risk of mould growth and pest infestation, ignoring leaks or being unable to immediately determine a leak in your plumbing system could also lead to a sudden increase in your utility bills. We’ve had clients whose utility bills have increased to almost double simply due to a leaking pipe that was not found until an inspection was made. This usually happens when the problematic pipes are hidden and no regular inspections are conducted.

If left unmanaged, it can get even more expensive over time with the degree of damage increasing, inevitably affecting other parts of your property.

Getting Your Home Inspected

A regular building inspection can help control or avoid leaks in your home, which means you also avoid the expensive repair costs. At Defence Pest & Building Inspection Services, we provide regular and complete inspections, allowing you to get a clear picture of the possible problems in your property – be it an unseen structural damage, leaking pipe or pest infestation.

We will also help you determine if there are risks of infestations or if your property is vulnerable to specific structural damage so that measures can be taken before the problem even begins.

Water Penetration: What It Is And Diagnosing It

Water is a deceptively benign thing. Under normal conditions, it hardly seems like an element that could cause serious harm. Building inspectors know differently, though. Damage due to water penetration is an all too common problem, and homeowners need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of water penetration in order to lessen the chances that it will seriously compromise the structural integrity of their homes.

Water Penetration: The Basics

During building inspections, homes are examined for all sorts of things. Water damage and water penetration are two of the most common things that are uncovered by inspectors. All too often, homeowners remain blithely unaware of leaks and other problems that occur, allowing the water to penetrate deep into various parts of the structure of a home. Sometimes, such problems are quite apparent – a stained ceiling, for instance, can belie the water penetration above. More often than not, though, detecting such issues is a bit more tricky.

Detecting Water Penetration

Every now and then, inspections bring a serious water damage problem to light for homeowners. Most of the time, though, such issues must be unearthed through plain old detective work. Periodically looking your home over for signs of water penetration is one of the best ways to keep major problems at bay. As a conscientious homeowner, you should get into the habit of inspecting your home for signs of water penetration. It’s one of the easier, most inexpensive ways to ward off major problems down the road.

Perform your inspection for water penetration on a rainy day, if possible. For best results, do it on a day when it is pouring buckets outside, as this will increase the odds that even very minor problems will be detected. Checking from beneath, within the roof space, is the best way to ensure that there is nothing amiss. If there are any leaks, you should be able to track them down quite easily and determine their source more efficiently.

What If It Isn’t Raining?

If you want to inspect your roof for signs of water penetration but it isn’t raining outside, there are still some telltale signs that you can look for. Taking a close look at the roof framing timbers is one of the most effective ways of checking for this kind of damage without seeing the actual “drip, drip, drip” of a leak. In this case, you’ll be checking those timbers out for the powdery white trails that can signify evaporated mineral salt deposits. You may also look for brown stains, but they may or may not indicate a leak or water penetration. During the day, even minute holes or rust decays in a metal roof will be apparent.