Or so we hope. We had a builder in today to check for damp issues because I noticed some black spots on the ceiling in the master bedroom, and he’s of the opinion that the place is fine – it just hasn’t been well-ventilated or cleaned by the previous owner. We’ll spray exit mould around the place, have the master bedroom painted with special mould-resistant paint, keep the house warm and well-aired, and cross our fingers that that’s enough to prevent problems.
Mildew seems to be an occupational hazard in Wellington – it’s wetter than Dunedin and a few degrees warmer and mildew and mould flourish here. Most of the houses were built in the 40’s and 50’s as well. They’re solid enough but they’re not exactly cutting edge when it comes to warmth and airtightness and dryness.
New Zealand houses are a shock to the system if you’re used to North American style homes. Double glazing didn’t become standard here until the turn of this century. And many houses don’t have much in the way of insulation. Houses are heated room by room instead of centrally, which means that you’ll have one uncomfortably hot room courtesy of the open fire (or more recently, a heatpump), while the rest of the house is freezing. Travis complains that he shouldn’t have to be huddled over the fire because he’s not camping after all, he’s inside a house. He also doesn’t think he should have to wear a heavy woollen jersey inside. And, after a decade living overseas in warmer, better insulated, drier homes, I can’t argue with him.