Leaking cladding materials are commonly used to describe some monolithic type of cladding materials, such as texture coated fibre cement, EIFS, solid plaster and etc.
We receive phone calls almost everyday asking questions such like: We interested in a house, but got HardieTex cladding, can I buy it? The house is chilly bin house, will it leak?
If leaky buildings are defined based on types of wall cladding only, then we can simply put a label on each house "leaker" or "non-leaker". But nothing that easy. Contributors causing leaky building syndrome are many: Design, workmanship, location, framing treatment, maintenance and so on. I would categorize cladding material as part of design consideration rather than a separate driven factor causing leaky building syndrome. Every single type of wall cladding has its pros and cons. As long as material characteristics are fully taken into consideration during design stage, even paper can be fully weathertight.
While doing wall cladding inspection, first thing we do is to identify the type of wall cladding used. Then we do not make our conclusion about leaker or non-leaker straight after identifying the cladding type. We need to carry out detailed examination about design and construction details based on the type of cladding and other factors.
There are problematic building materials, but non of them can be categorized as Leaking material. In fact any cladding material, while wrongly used, can be problematic.