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Property Surveying Blog
March 19, 2018

Typical Property Defects

Written by Karim El Shenawi-Ali

After working in the Surveying department of Berry Lodge Surveyor for almost a year now, I thought I would take a look at some of the most typical property defects that I have seen over this time.

Property Defects can often be a small issue at the start, however through neglect can quickly become a costly repair. If you are purchasing a property or are a property owner, be sure to look out for these defects!

Slipped or Broken Tiles

Whether it be, slate, concrete, flat or interlocking, roof tiles can suffer cracking, breaking and even slipping. This can be due to numerous factors i.e weather conditions and the erosion of the materials holding the tiles together. These tiles will need to be replaced in order to prevent further issues.

Roof Leaks

Always work from scaffolding! Don't slip! #partywall

Roof leaks can be a severe issue. They can cause major problems such as damp, mould and even rot. If let unrepaired, this can further increase the level of damage. If you have noticed leaks from the roof or loft level, see a specialist as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

Poor Lead Flashing

Lead flashing is used to seal areas that tend to have an opening, whether it be roofs, chimneys, vent pipes or even sky lights. If the flashing detail is poorly installed, this can bring further issues such as damaged tiles. Keep a sharp eye out for the condition of your flashing detail!

Roof Sagging

Roof sagging is generally noticed when your roof appears to be dipping in curving in certain areas. This reflects the structural integrity of the roof to be reducing. Sagging of the roof can be caused by overloading, weak roof timber and even Beatle infestation!

Blocked Gutters

Blocked gutters can caused issues such as overflowing of water can if left, can cause further harm to your property. However, not to worry, this is considered to be an easy fix and is very cost effective!

Dry Rot

Dry rot is a common form of fungi. The impact of dry rot on a property can be significant as it severely weakens the strength and integrity of the timber structures. One the common reason for dry rot is when wet walls makes contact with the timber structure. Therefore we suggest keeping an eye out for exposed areas in the loft!

Wet Rot

Just like dry rot, wet rot is deemed to be a form of fungi. Generally wet rot occurs during periods of damp and moisture throughout the timber structure. However, unlike dry rot, this does not spread to surrounding timbers. Period of just 20% moisture within the structures can be just about enough to cause wet rot, we therefore suggest keep a sharp eye out for any long term damp or moisture issues.

Moss Growth

The appearance of moss growth can cause significant issues to your roof structure. The most common issues are wood rotting and potentially blocked drains. This can cause costly repairs and we advice that it is dealt with at the first chance you have.

Defective Fascia Boards

Fascia boards usually sit directly underneath the roof. Their main purpose is to be used a form of support for the guttering system that’s placed just above it. If you notice that the paint used on the fascia board is flaking or pealing, this could mean that there is an issue with the gutters above. Get this checked out.

Chimney Defects

Chimney defects can be vast and repairing them can be a costly job if its left too long. Some of these defects include, leaning, faulty or poorly pointed brickwork, and faulty chimney pots. The cause of these issues is also vast, therefore we suggest to frequently maintain your chimney to avoid expensive repairs!


This is real bad news for homeowners. Subsidence simply is when a property is slowly becoming structurally inefficient. You generally notice subsidence when cracks appear through the brick and mortar joints in a more stepped fashion. Main causes can simply be the affect of weather to subterranean conditions and this must be addressed early to avoid major problems!


Similarly to subsidence, settlement issues are a reflection to how bad the structural efficiency of a building is. Settlement mainly refers to the downward movement of a property, which over the years is common. However, signs of serious settlement issues are cracks within the interior structure and if more sever, the sticking of windows and doors. Keep an eye out!

Blown Render

Whether it is painted render or pebbledash render, blown render can result in future serious issues. Blown render visually appears as chipped areas on the render, which exposes the block or brick works directly behind it. This then increases the risk of that wall absorbing moisture during wet conditions. Repair your blown render!


Within the realm of minor issues, defects to double-glazed windows are an easy and cost efficient fix. Generally common defects include losing fittings, poor framework and generally low standard of workmanship. If you start to notice such issues with your windows, we suggest addressing it now rather than later.

Lintel Failure

Failed Lintel

Generally above all windows and doors resides a lintel. It is there only to provide support and therefore needs to be maintained. Lintel failure often occurs when the materials used to construct the lintel i.e. timber or metal start to deteriorate. If you have any suspicions of lintel failure, get it checked out!

Sulphate Attack

Considered to be a defect that appears internally and externally, sulphate attacks generally occur when moisture contain sulphates make direct contact with the concrete structure. This can caused, expansion of floor slabs, cause cracking and weaken the joints between brickwork and mortar. This must be address if you have any suspicions.

Poor Brick or Block Pointing

Party Wall Movement

Masonry pointing is generally the outer face of the mortar mix used to tie together brickwork or block work. If the walls are not correctly pointed, this can caused major issues such as cracking. The causes of this defect generally come down to weather which is out of our control, therefore seek to maintaining this as frequent as you can!

Weathered Render or Brickwork

Penetrating Damp

Brickwork being exposed to the weather and potentially the age of the masonry causes weathered brickwork. The main results of weathered brickwork can be cracks, however due to the number of causes of crack, we suggest not making that assumption until you have a surveyor take a look.

The moral of this blog post is that no matter how small the defect looks, don’t ignore it. Property defects can quickly become a costly matter!