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Tip of the week: Step out of a waterproof problem

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A reader has asked me to look at a problem she has with a sliding door in an external wall, leading on to a Juliet balcony.

reminded me of something I have been meaning to comment on for
a while.
When buying or considering alterations, never end up with a situation
where the floor level is the same on both sides of a door in an
external wall. 
There must always be a step down to the outdoors.
This may sound standard, but it is amazing how many contractors
“forget” to lower the level of the outside slab. 
You can end up
with all sorts of damp problems because you will never get a decent
waterproofing solution if there is no step.
The same reader also has queries regarding cracks, and
this table may help all of you who worry when you see cracks
The National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) classifies
cracks as follows:
*Handy Mac, aka Don MacAlister, is our expert on household DIY issues. If you have a question for him, please send it to or SMS only to 082 446 3859. Find Don on FB:

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