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Pyrite Testing

When you are thinking about buying or selling a property, should you consider getting a pyrite test carried out before you sell or purchase. In most cases the cracks that are visible in walls and floors in your potential new house are the result of natural drying or poor building practices and are not the result of pyrite heave.  Our office gets numerous inquiries on pyrite problems and from speaking to our clients who are concerned about pyrite and inspecting their properties, we find that in the vast majority of cases that the cracks are not related to defects relating to pyrite expansion.

When we speak to potential home buyers or existing home owners, especially in area’s and counties were pyrite problems are common place, it is important to advise home owners that a pyrite test is still not necessary to undertake and the expense in most cases is a waste of your hard earned income.

The main cases in where we would advise that a home owner should consider getting a pyrite test carried out are,

  • If the cracks in the floors, walls or ceilings are showing very clear indications that the cracks are the result of pyrite expansion and are not normal drying or settlement cracks.
  • If the above indications clearly apply and your structural insurance bond is coming to an end.
  • If the above indications clearly apply and your neighbours or your building contractor have known pyrite issues in your development or the contractors other developments.
  • If you are selling your property and due to known pyrite problems in your area, it is unlikely that a potential buyer will take a risk on your property without a pyrite test, due to known pyrite issues in your development.
  • Finally, if there are no clear indications that your house has pyrite and you are not intending to sell your property in the short term or your structural insurance bond is not coming to an end, then I would spend my hard earned money on a nice holiday instead of a pyrite test. If your peace of mind is paramount and you have to know without any shadow of doubt that your house does not have pyrite, then the only certain way is to carry out a pyrite test.

A pyrite test will give home owners or potential buyers assurance one way or the other, whether the cracks in a property are the result of pyrite expansion or some other building defect. However, in most cases a building surveyor should be able to advise you what the causes of the cracks are when carrying out a detailed and less expensive specialist building survey.

Unfortunately in far too many cases we fine that distressed home owners have spent 1,000’s of euro in getting their properties tested for pyrite, without the supplier of the pyrite test being able to advise or having any professional knowledge or qualifications in building defects of building design. Besides the high cost of the pyrite test and the disruption caused, the home owner is delighted if the results come back to them that they are pyrite free, however, in most of these cases an experienced building surveyor would have been able to advise the home owner that the cracks were unlikely to be the result of pyrite expansion in the first place.

If a home owner is buying a house subject to a pyrite test, it is important that the buyer includes a clause that he can withdraw if any pyrite is detected in the backfill. Certain levels or a percentage of pyrite in the back fill maybe acceptable depending on various factors which your building surveyor would be able to advise you on.

For further information please also see our specialist website dealing with pyrite testing.