Exterior walls (including doors and windows) should be carefully inspected at least once a year. If sea spray sometimes reaches your home, or you live in a geothermal area, more frequent inspection is a good idea.

Regular inspections are especially important for high-risk buildings such as those that are very complex, have monolithic face-sealed exteriors, parapets, balustrades and minimal eaves protection.

Here is a list of the elements you need to check.

With wall claddings, look for:

  • dirt/salts/staining
  • cracked/flaking/chalking of paint
  • flaking/faded of a clear finish
  • moss/lichen
  • corrosion of flashings
  • corroded/missing fixings
  • split or cupped weatherboards
  • evidence of rot in the cladding
  • claddings touching or going into the ground
  • blocked vents at the bottom of brick walls
  • open joints in the cladding
  • sealant that has come loose
  • raised flashings
  • gaps at the ends of flashings
  • loose-fitting cover boards, scribers or plugs
  • gaps in junctions between different materials or building features
  • gaps around cantilevered deck joists or other cladding penetrations.

With doors and windows:

  • cracked/damaged putty
  • cracked/broken glass
  • cracked/flaking/chalking paint
  • corrosion of flashings
  • corroded/stiff hinges/hardware
  • gaps around window seals or sashes
  • joints or mitres that have opened up or where the paint has cracked.

With foundation walls:

  • cracking/damage to wall
  • blocked ventilation openings.

If you find a problem, it will pay to deal with it without delay. BRANZ research has found that putting off maintenance work can lead to the job becoming more expensive when it is finally carried out. If you think a problem may involve leaks and you need some expert guidance, contact an NZIBS building surveyor.