Case Study: Queenslander with particleboard external decks

Client who had used our services before asked that we inspect a Stunning looking fully renovated 5 Bedroom 3 Bathroom Queenslander with a large Swimming Pool and extensive sandstone tiled decks.  It looked like a very upmarket property at first glance.

The property was going to auction that weekend and client wanted to know the condition of the property before committing to a cash unconditional contract.

The significant finding of the Building and Pest inspection was that the large sandstone tiled decks located to the rear of the house and around the large swimming pool were constructed using particleboard and there was almost no natural ventilation to the space under the decks.  The result was a green mould like substance, wet patches and rusting connections to a deck that was around 3 months old.  NB I predict that in another few months this deck would probably start to collapse in areas.

Most of us have a seen a piece of particleboard left outside for a few weeks and know that it will readily swell up like soggy breakfast cereal.  But the Builder thought it would be OK if he waterproofed the underside of the tiles and used an underlay.  This is a stuff up on a grand scale.  I rang Carter Holt Harvey who are the Australian manufacturers of particleboard.

I wanted to confirm that there had not been some new product innovation that allowed particleboard to be used in this manner.  The technical officer at the company was astounded at the description of the builder’s work and emphatically reassured me that particleboard should not been used under an external deck.

Our client was relieved at having avoided buying a property with such a significant problem as they did not have the budget to rectify this problem.  Less than two weeks later our client had secured a beautifully built, architect designed home in an adjoining suburb that he and his wife were thrilled with.  It was a pleasure to see them so happy.  I suppose sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs to find a prince!

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