Infrared Building Inspections & Moisture Inspections

Do you have a leaky building? Not sure? Perhaps we can help?

Infrared Image of Cladding Leak  (1)
Infrared Image of Cladding Leak  (2)
Infrared showing cladding anomaly (5)
Infrared showing cladding anomaly (6)
Infrared detected leak inside cupboard (2)
Infrared detected leak inside cupboard (1)
Infrared Image Ceiling Leak  (3)
Infrared Image Ceiling Leak  (4)

Before you have an invasive building inspection or start randomly opening up walls, cutting holes in your home causing damage, consider having a confidential Infrared Building Moisture Inspection done first. Its non-invasive (so no unsightly holes in your walls or cladding) and confidential (even if the news is all bad). As you can see from the photos taken above (the top row is what you see the bottom is what we see), if your inspector does not have an Infrared Camera without seeing the Thermal Images these leaks would probably go undetected. Only a small amount of leaks are visible and usually after the damage is done, when you see rotten timber, swollen skirting boards, mouldy carpets etc the leak could have been active for quite some time. Unfortunately ignoring the problem wont make it go away,in fact a leak will generally get worse over time causing more damage. As the building timber expands and subtracts as it gets wet and dries due to leaks, this causes cracks and gaps to open up causing the leak to get increasingly worse over time.

At Detect-A-Leak we use our Infrared camera as a tool and always take non invasive moisture meter readings to confirm our findings to ensure we give the best quality inspection we can. Once we've checked your home you can then make an informed decision as to which direction you need to proceed. We can document what we found and where so that the suspect areas can be targeted for further investigation.

See more about different types of building inspections.

Flat Roof Waterproofing Membrane Leaks Pitched Roof Leak Inspections


Our membrane inspector has many years of practical experience with all types of waterproofing membranes and roof leak investigation. Over the years as a director of a large waterproofing company John was involved with everything from substrate design, membrane application, applicator training, maintenance work, analysing the cause of membrane failures and leaky roof investigation.

One of the main reasons I became a Thermographer was to be able to use the infrared technology to help find and track leaks in buildings, roofs and decks quickly and efficiently, allowing you, the customer to get them repaired before more serious damage occurs. Infrared is the best tool I've found for detecting that illusive flat roof leak. With infrared we can show where the water is and track back to where it's getting in. A roofer, plumber or waterproofer can attempt to fix the apparent location of a leak but it could be coming from the opposite side of the roof. The actual leak you see inside is where the path ends. This is why a lot of leaks continue after repairs are done as the contractors are repairing the wrong areas and often replacing materials that didn't need replacing. If you get a roof leak inspection conducted and unless that person has roof leak and membrane expertise plus of course the right equipment they will often come to the wrong conclusion. Often resulting in a complete rebuild being recommended which can be unnecessary, expensive and there have been numerous cases where the same problems are still occurring even after large repairs because they still haven't fixed the cause of the problem. With pitched roofs we can aim the camera at the ceiling and in the roof space if need be to track the leak. With waterproofing membrane leaks, the thermal properties of the trapped water allows the water to retain the heat energy from the days sun well after the sun has gone down. The roofing materials will cool much faster than any moisture present in the area and generate a corresponding thermal pattern. The opposite happens in the morning. With a clear temperature difference we can clearly see the moisture under the roofing membrane with our infrared camera. These thermal patterns can be identified throughout the roof surface. Knowing where all the membrane leaks are improves the chances that all the leaks are fixed. John can also advise on what type of membrane you have, whether or not he feels it was applied correctly, it's condition and suggest what maintenance may be required.

The next time you call your contractor you can show them photos of where the leaks are and for peace of mind we can check the area again once repairs are completed to ensure the repairs are successful and set up a regular maintenance program if required.

Cladding Moisture Inspections

Infrared Image of Cladding Leak  (1)
Infrared Image of Cladding Leak  (2)
Infrared Image of Cladding Leak  (3)
Infrared Image of Cladding Leak  (4)

Thermal image scanning has greatly improved our ability to perform cladding moisture inspections. If there is moisture in the cladding it's often visible with our Infrared thermal imaging cameras. Thermal image scanning also helps us see the extent of the affected areas of moisture damage. By using Infrared Cameras for cladding inspections we are now better able to identify areas that need repair quickly and easily compared to other types of inspections. Plaster homes are particularly problematic but any cladding can leak particularly when they have difficult flashing details such as this gable end leak shown in the above photos. Owners that take preventative steps now will most likely avoid the damage and depreciation that is very likely to occur if appropriate precautions are not taken. A cladding leak left unchecked and untreated is very likely to cause moisture damage which can cost thousands of dollars to fix, and could substantially devalue the property. These problems can be avoided by simply having regular thermal imaging scans, finding out what needs to be done and fixing it promptly. Detect-A-Leak keep up to date with current cladding news by attending BRANZ seminars and are members of the Cladding Institute of New Zealand (CINZ). Avoid the stigma of having your home labeled as a leaky building. Get a cladding inspection now.

See more types of cladding.

Internal Moisture Detection

Infrared Image Ceiling Leak  (5)
Infrared Image Ceiling Leak  (6)
Ceiling Leak (1)
Ceiling Leak (2)

If there's moisture in a wall ceiling or floor, a correctly operated Infrared camera will see it as an anomaly and show it as a hot or cold spot. Infrared cameras can see leaks that may otherwise go undetected if no visible signs are present. The longer the problem goes undetected the more damage it can do. Common leaks found inside buildings are from bathrooms, plumbing pipes, rising damp, exterior roofs windows and cladding. When anomalies are found we then confirm it as a true or false positive and pinpoint the extent of the affected area. If required we will document the positive findings using the infrared camera software. This should enable a better evaluation of the extent of the problem and often eliminates unnecessary demolition, lowering repair costs and saving you time and money. So call us now for your moisture inspection.

Bathroom Leaks and Shower Leaks

IR detected water leak (1)
IR detected water leak (2)
IR showing shower leak (1)
IR showing shower leak (2)

Want to know how to find or fix a bathroom or shower leak? Give me a call I have twelve plus years experience with waterproofing membranes and leak investigation. In order to fix any leak it is important first to find the cause in order to eliminate the chance of the leak reappearing after repairs, due to the same mistakes being made. Sometimes complete bathroom replacements are being made unnecessarily. Often the waterproofing is the most likely suspect or lack of it, but in modern bathrooms I'm finding poor design is resulting in leaks and the membrane is often not the cause. Showers that are too close to the bathroom door, splashed and dripping water can track under or over the floor or wall linings and out the door. Detachable head showers (watch the kids with these). Curtains are not recommended in shower over bath situations as they invariably cause moisture issues as was the case in the two right-hand photos above. Shower frames when fitted on top of Tiles can allow moisture to track under the frame and outside the cubical area if not detailed correctly. With walk in showers the whole bathroom floor should be dropped and sloped away from the door area, the moisture should be completely contained in the cubical area, but this rarely happens.

An alternative option is to fit a raised concrete hob not timber to form a step into the cubical area and form a screed with good fall to the waste. The formed shower screed once cured needs to have the waterproofing membrane applied on top and turned down into the waste otherwise the screed will always be wet and this can cause mould, effluence issues (that white hard stuff) and even adhesive and grout failure in some instances. If you are refurbishing a bathroom and you want tiles I would recommend doing the bathroom area only not the cubical and using a good quality kit set plastic or fibreglass shower lining and tray. Note shower frames should be sealed on the inside edge if you want to contain the moisture in the shower cubical. Most installers only seal the outside and it often causes leaks. We do not believe moisture readings should be taken inside a shower cubical as moisture will often be trapped between the Tiles and the waterproofing underneath. The best way to check if the membrane has failed or if there's some other leak issue is to check the walls opposite the bathroom area. If moisture is going through the wall, then you have a problem. The conclusion to the above two left-hand photos was there wasn't a membrane on the floor or on the wall outside the shower cubical, only inside the cubical and moisture was escaping from the shower area under the Tiles and shower screen and tracking through the wall into the wardrobe opposite. Removing the tiles generally causes the membrane to delaminate as this is the weakest part often requiring full Tile replacement, but there are ways to do this with minimal membrane damage.

Window Leaks

Infrared Image of Wall Leak (9)
Infrared Image of Wall Leak (10)
Infrared Image of Cladding Leak  (6)
Infrared Image of Cladding Leak  (7)

Do your walls feel damp? Is there mould on the walls or drapes around your windows? Depending on the age of the structure and the building practices at the time it was built your windows may not be flashed properly and could be letting moisture into your home. These photos taken above are from the same window, inside and outside. The window was moisture tested inside and was confirmed as wet at the far end and under the window at the locations detected using Thermal Imaging. Windows especially if not protected by eaves often suffer from leaks caused by poorly sealed frames and flashings and can be difficult to fix without removal. It is very important not to seal along the bottom edge of Aluminium windows as this can trap moisture in and cause it to enter the building. Older Aluminium joinery often leaks even though it may have been sealed originally because the seal has broken down over time. Mould can form on the moisture, putting your health at risk. Leaks are common around older Timber framed windows if they are not regularly maintained the paint can fail and they can warp, rot and split resulting in dampness and drafts that will reduce the effectiveness of your insulation. With the infrared camera we can identify these areas. The thermal patterns of the affected areas show as anomalies in the IR camera which are then checked with our non invasive moisture meter. Once you know where the affected areas are you can repair it before major damage occurs and also improve the comfort level of the home.

Pre-purchase/Pre-Sale/Healthcheck Moisture Inspections and Bank Inspections

IR detect cladding leak (4)
Stucco Cladding Leak (2)
Infrared showing cladding anomaly (4)
Cladding Thermal Images (2)

Are you buying a new home or worried about moisture ingress and want to have the confidence that it's not a leaky building? Has the bank asked for a moisture survey or weathertightness inspection? Do you know we very rarely find a house that doesn't have some moisture or insulation issues. The prime purpose of a pre-purchase/healthcheck inspection is to provide a thorough non-invasive Infrared scan of the building to identify any significant moisture issues that may affect the clients decision to purchase the property or could be a health risk if mould sets in. Pre-purchase/healthcheck inspections are not intended to point out every small problem or defect although we often will mention potential high risk moisture related problems. A pre-purchase infrared building inspection report should not be confused with an appraisal, a building code inspection, or any guarantee of any kind, but a tool to aid the purchaser or home owner, to be better prepared and knowledgeable and therefore have the ability to make an informed decision. We can vary our inspections to suit your requirements such as also commenting on insulation issues in our reports. With our IR camera we often find missing insulation and can see if it is installed properly. Also when selling your house it can be a good selling point particularly if you have a plaster/stucco home to be able to show a documented history of previous Infrared inspections showing that your house is not a leaky building.

Preventative and Predictive Electrical Maintenance

Electrical Switch Fault
Overloaded Fuse

Becoming more popular and a requirement from some insurance companies and banks that thermal electrical scans at specified times are conducted to ensure buildings electrical systems and machinery don't suffer from avoidable and costly failures.

Post Repair IR Audits

Before timber fascia leak
After new metal flashing
Before sealant flashing leak
After new plastic flashing

It is essential that once repairs are completed they are successful and what better way to check this than with an independent infrared scan. Once repairs are completed we can come back and check the repaired areas to ensure there are no further issues. Sometimes as with water leaks it may be necessary to do a quick scan and moisture test during the repair process in order to ensure areas are dry enough for work to continue.