Signs of a leaky home

If you’re a homeowner and you have a leaky home, you need to know what to do.

From the mid-1990s, some houses were built in a way that did not withstand weather conditions and did not comply with the New Zealand Building Code. Some houses leak because of design issues and problems around installing materials.

Once water or moisture gets behind certain cladding types, and if there is no drainage and ventilation between the cladding and the framework, the water becomes trapped and the potential for fungal growth and rotting rapidly increases.

There are many issues with having a leaky home, including the effect it may have on your health or your finances if the damage gets worse.

If your leaks are coming from internal sources such as plumbing, you do not have a leaky home. A leaky home means water from outside your house has made its way in.

Common signs to look out for

Most issues with weathertightness aren’t obvious. However, if water is dripping or pooling inside your home when it rains, you are likely to have a leak. You can also look out for:

  • sagging of ceiling linings
  • corrosion of fixings such as screws and nails
  • uneven floor surfaces, like the lifting of vinyl
  • mould or fungi formation on surfaces (although this is often due to poor ventilation)
  • musty smells
  • swollen materials such as skirtings and architraves
  • staining or discolouration of materials or surfaces
  • stained or rotting carpet, or rusting of carpet fixings.

Is my home more likely to leak than others?

Certain areas of your home will be more prone to taking on excess moisture than others, and there are some common building features that can cause problems with weathertightness include the following:

  1. Flat roofs, or roofs with parapets
  2. Roof to wall junctions
  3. Pergola fixings
  4. Handrail fixings
  5. Lack of flashings to windows and penetrations
  6. Decks over living areas
  7. Balustrade to deck or balustrade to wall junctions
  8. Clearances at bottom of claddings
  9. Level of ground outside is above interior floor level
Common building elements prone to leaksCommon building elements prone to leaks

If your home has some or all of these features it does not necessarily mean you have a leaky home, but it is worth getting it checked.

Decks, balconies and balustrades[PDF 397 KB]

Find out about the risks and warning signs for decks, balconies and balustrades of leaky homes.


Contact us

We are here to help you fix your leaky home. You can get in touch with us if you have any questions.

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: