A monoclad home is a home that is clad with monolithic cladding (either fibre-cement, stucco
or coated polystyrene), often to produce a "Mediterranean-style" looking property.
Most commercial buildings are monoclad, as are 100’s of thousands of New Zealand homes.
Many dwellings have experienced damage and decay from water entry, through poor or
non existant flashings around doors and windows, through poorly sealed expansion joints,
through design features that did not stop water pooling on flat decks, through parapets and
enclosed decks, through top fixed balustrades, through poorly made internal gutters, the list
goes on, and we can’t forget defered maintenance and blocked weep holes either.
Today, many owners of monoclad homes are afraid to sell, afraid of what they may find, if their
home is inspected. Afraid they won’t realise full market value, and they afraid they will lose equity
if they do sell.
Then there are those owners, that have had their home inspected, and been told that there are
issues with their home, and they may have to reclad or lower their price, if they are to ever get
The Wellington Monoclad Association was set up to help monoclad owners, maintain their home,
protect the claddings, fix the claddings if neccessary, then provide verifiable evidence
that the home is in good condition.
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If you are told your home is a “leaky building” get it checked by a second qualified person, or
a third, before telling the world your problem. The stigma and drop in value, that accompanies
telling agents, neighbours and council officials. is is just as dramatic and long lasting. even if
you find out later, your home is not a leaky home.
Many real estate agents, building inspectors, valuers, builders and financiers are fearful of the
damage to their reputation a monoclad building can cause, if they get it wrong. Some, wlll
respond negatively to your home regardless of it’s actual condition. Check out, their feelings
towards monoclad homes before engaging them to work for you.
If your home is damaged and decayed through water entry and you are going to commence
repairs, ensure you get at least three quotes before employing any builder. Prices for the same
repairs can vary by hundreds of thousands of dollars. See examples
If you are going to sell your monoclad home, ensure you use our FREE Home Inspection
Protection Guarantee form, and attach it to your sales and purchase form. The use of of this
form protects both the buyer and seller and ensures the inspection will be conducted to
professional standards, and that if high moisture levels are recorded you are made aware
of the readings. and their locations. before the inspector leaves your home.
Your selling your largest asset, you’ve agreed on a price, and now it’s all conditional on a total
stranger, a person that you are unlikely to ever meet, or communicate with, to wander through
your home, and then tell the buyer, it’s either ok, or there are issues with your home, and the
sale either falls over, or the buyer comes back with a lower offer.
And to top it off, you have no idea, who you let in, their qualifications, the equipment used, and
the areas, if any, where they located high moisture content. As the vendor, you can’t influence
the inspection, but you deserve to know, that the inspection was performed at the highest levels
with professional equipment, and by a suitably qualified person.
To ensure both buyer and seller get the best inspection possible, we have created an inspection
guarantee form, to protect the interests of all parties.
The use of the form, allows you to identify any areas of concern for you to focus on, and fix, if
required. We recommend that all vendors should get their own house inspection done, before
putting the house on the market, this is just common sense, and money well spent.
You can use this form, with your own inspector, to ensure your interests are looked after during
all parts of the selling process. It’s your home, so stay in control.
Paint is paint to most homeowners, and the cheaper the paint the better, after all, it’s just paint.
In an ideal world, that would be true, unfortunately, when it comes to to monoclad homes, the
distinction is incredibly important.
Monolithic claddings are affected by, wind pressure moving the panels, thermal dynamics
of heat causing the cladding material beneath to expand and contract, and ground movement
caused by eathquakes.
Cheap paint while pretty and long lasting, is not flexible, but hard and brittle. These paints, both
oil and acrylic, are not suitable for applying to monolithic cladding. The paint style, that you
want to choose is called an “ elastomeric coating”. Most paint companies make at least
Elastomeric coatings are higher volume solids (45-60%) than conventional paints, and are
applied in films that typically attain a dry film thickness in the range of 10-20 mils per coat
(versus conventional paints with a DFT of 2-3 mils).
Initially designed as a waterproofing solution for stucco, which is a surface that tends to crack,
elastomerics provide excellent waterproofing properties; can tolerate some substrate movement;
and their stretchiness (150-400% or greater elongation without breaking ) allows them to fill or
bridge even moving hairline cracks.
One thing that all leaky homes have in common, is aluminium joinery. Very few builders install
wooden joinery in modern homes. Yet blocked weep holes, shrunken rubbers and open mitres
are present in all homes deemed leaky homes. Perhaps this just a coincidence, or perhaps
this could be a cause of the higher readings?
If you look where building inspectors cut the exterior cladding of monolithic houses to locate high
moisture readings, these will invariably include cut outs around doors and windows. These areas
are opened, because very few Kiwis’s clean the weep holes because they are not aware of the
need to, or even that these weep holes exist.
If these weep holes are not unblocked, condensation moisture runs down the window, into the
condensation traps, and because this moisture can not exit the joinery externally, the water exits
internally, and wets the window sill framing on both sides of the windows.
Cut outs are then made around these windows, and the resulting moisture, is used as
evidence of cladding failure, and evidence of ‘leaky home’ syndrome.
A leak like this fixed as part of an insurance claim, costs between $400 to $700, a reclad or
a rebuild to fix the same leak, is between $200,000 to $600,00+.
We recommend purchasing a pipe cleaner, at a cost of a few cents, and taking two minutes per
window, each six months, to clean your weep holes in your joinery. This is the best money you
wll ever spend.
Aluminium joinery uses rubber strips to hold the glass in place, and when pressed tightly against
the glass and aluminium to keep the window watertight.
This is a great system, as long as the rubber doesn’t shrink, crack, lift or disappear.
Unfortunately, in the New Zealand conditions of high ultraviolet light, this begins to happen
somewhere between five and eight years after installation, if the windows are facing into the sun.
When the rubbers fail, water enters the interior of the aluminium joinery, if the weep holes or exits
are blocked, the water will run down the interior of the wall. If this happens for long enough, there
will eventually be wood decay on the internal framing.
Building inspectors can detect this interior moisture, and if an external cutout is performed,
around the windows and doors, where the rubbers have failed, this can be used as evidence of
The cost to replace rubbers around a door or window that has failed can be $160 to $400 each,
the cost to fix these rubbers using a reclad or rebuild is substantially more.
Aluminium doors, windows and skylights, are all designed to have flashings installed to channel,
divert and deflect water away from these penetrations.
Sometimes, these flashings were not installed at all, and sometimes they have been installed
incorrectly. If they haven’t been installed correctly, and water is getting in around the windows
and doors, the window or doors may have to be taken out and reinstalled, or the flashing may be
able to be fixed in place.
You will need a qualified, experienced building contractor or window installer to make this call.
Either way, this is a building mistake made by the original installer, and can not be laid at the
cladding failure as a reason for water entry.
In many instances, an installer felt silicon was the appropriate material to stop water entry, and
while silicon sealers are fast, cheap and easy to implement in stopping water, silicon is not a
long term solution. and usually fail within 12 months, used externally when exposed to UV light.
Aluminium is not the strongest or hardest of metals and alloys.
It is for this reason that it is used to make window and door joinery.
Unfortunately, in the harsh New Zealand sun with our high ultraviolet light, and changes in our
temperature, the window mitres, if they exposed to the sun begin to open up, when they do, this
can allow moisture directly into the interior of the joinery.
If the internal or external weep holes are blocked because they haven’t been cleaned, water will
wet the window sill and framing timber, possibly becoming evidence for cladding failure.
Mitres can be fixed cheaply with a squirt of a non silicon sealer, or professionally by using an
aluminium maintenance contractor to perform a proper rejoining of the mitre.
If the deck is hard against the cladding, water can wick up and enter into the building.
Water entering here will usually damage the baseplate - this is the framing timber that lies on
top of the concrete pad. If this happens for long enough, water can wick up the framing timber,
wetting the gibboard, damaging the carpet, and causing the timber at floor level to rot.
Decks can be moved back from the cladding, or waterproofing applied to the cladding / deck
junction to keep water away from the cladding.
Raised decks are another story, often in these cases butynol or trafficguard style materials are
used hard up against the cladding, and either through wear and tear, heat movement, poor
application or failed adhesives, holes occur and water enters under the materials.
Modern liquid membranes now exist, that can be applied over the top of the existing deck
materials, to restore a water tight barrier, and come with warranties of up to 20 years, when
applied by a certified applicator.
The same solution can be used for flat roofs, poorly sloping decks, and around top fixed
balustrades to stop existing moisture entry, or protect against future failure.
Before you make the decision to reclad or not, you need to get a few professional opinions first.
Your dwelling needs to be fully invasively tested, and moisture mapped.
You need all the options, and costs explained to you.
You need to talk to a local real estate agent to see how the reclad will enhance your sales price.
You should get three builders to quote on your job.
Sometimes a reclad is neccessary, and is the best option, sometimes its not.
The writer has been provided three quotes on his own “leaky home”
Leaky Home Resolution Service
LBP Builder two
LBP Builder three
$170,000 - $365,000
Another 2015 client was quoted by 4 builders
LBP Builder one
LBP Builder two
LBP Builder three
LBP Builder four fixed price
$ 92,000 - $172,000
Another 2015 client was quoted by 1 builder
variance $417,000 over estimate
Local Government New Zealand president and Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule
New Zealand's Building
and Construction Minister
Maurice Williamson, National,
warned that the size of the
issue at at least $11 billion
Thursday Sep 24, 2015 - Hawkes Bay today
National building consents suggest more than 100,000 homes and apartments
were built using monolithic cladding in the 16 years to 2008, and at least half
of them are probably in Auckland.
A 2009 Pricewaterhouse Coopers report assessed the possible number of
homes needing repair at between 22,000 and 89,000. The wide range reflects
the high level of uncertainty, but the report produced a "consensus forecast" of
42,000 homes that are leaking or will do so in the future. wikipedia
23 september 2015,
Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford
“this is a $22 billion disaster.”
Radio New Zealand News
HOBANZ founding member Roger Levie
we'll never know the full cost of leaky homes
26 january 2014 - stuff. co. nz
Using the same figures for monoclad homes built to 2008, Price Waterhouse
imply 22% to 88% of all the monoclad homes built were damaged, before settling
at 42%, as a consensus figure. Statistically, it appears, the building industry forgot,
en masse, how to build weatherproof homes.
Or to put it in dollars, officials think it will cost between $125,000 to $520,000 to fix
a house, depending on whose numbers you prefer. If we choose Price Waterhouse’s
figures, then the cost to repair each leaky home comes to $261,904, if its an 11 billion
And this appears to be the ballpark figure for the typical reclad quote in Wellington