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Peter Rogozik Property Consulting

The Bathroom Blues

  

Apartments have become the preferred investment choice for many astute investors over the last few years. This is because the price of a house in a quality street and location has skyrocketed and therefore has put it out of reach of the average investor.

Apartment blocks that produce the optimum capital growth were mainly built in the 1950-’s, 60-’s and 70-’s; they occupy the best streets and locations in Melbourne. Generally speaking these apartment blocks have been well built; however, a recurring problem relates to water and moisture penetration in the bathroom.

Most of these apartment blocks don’t have adequate waterproofing membranes around bath tubs and shower recesses. On many occasions this has resulted in moisture transference through adjoining walls. This will produce unsightly paint bubbling, not to mention unhealthy odours in rooms that adjoin the bathroom.

Unlike other states the waterproofing industry remains unregulated here in Victoria. A water- proofer is not required to be licensed. As stated in a previous article, I find this to be astounding given the fact that most building faults are a result of inadequate or sub-standard water-proofing during construction.

Despite some of the claims made by people claiming to be waterproofing experts there is no quick fix to this problem. The tiles need to be removed and a proper waterproofing membrane should be installed.

It is important that tradesmen be familiar with the Australian waterproofing standard AS 3740. This standard outlines the correct technique for waterproofing domestic wet areas. I would avoid any water-proofer who is not familiar with this standard.

A property owner should insist on a written guarantee from the tradesman stating that the work has complied with this standard.

Another recurring issue in the bathroom of these older style apartments is lack of ventilation. This invariably results in unsightly mould on ceiling and walls.

Many of these older apartments were built without an exhaust fan installed in the bathroom. It is well worth the outlay (around $1000) to install one. Many apartments cannot have a ceiling fan installed due to not having access to a roof space for the purposes of extraction.  In these situations an exhaust fan can be placed in a bathroom window.

Investors should not be put off by an apartment with waterproofing problems provided it ticks the boxes of what constitutes the optimum-performing investment. The cost of rectifying these issues is minuscule compared to their capital growth potential.

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