What’s that stain all about?

For anyone owning, managing or occupying a building or house, water leaks and water infiltration are among the most annoying and difficult and chronic deficiencies to correct.  Not only can extreme moisture ruin construction and hinder your use of the space, the moisture can lead to to growth of mold, and the source of the water problem is often very difficult to find.  This occurs in both existing and newly built structures.

Common causes for water infiltration in a home or building:

  • -The obvious causes: a hole in the roof or a crack in the foundation or caulking
  • -Damp spots can be caused by water vapor entering through the exterior walls, if there is a break in the house wrap and water barrier
  • -Water infiltration through permeable materials like wood or concrete
  • -Condensation from inside the home or building disguising itself as a leak. This is often related to poor insulation practices.
  • -Leak in the chimney or window  flashing
  • -Poor grading,  i.e.  sloping the ground toward the structure that creates constant hydrostatic pressure against the foundation.

 Proximity  of the entry points of the water can be far away from where the water leak actually shows up.

How to deal with mysterious damp spots:

  1. 1. Start with a good roofer. Water makes its way from top to bottom, and so should you.  Clogged gutters and leaders are by far the most common source of problems.
  2. 2. Use common sense. If the water damage appears underneath a window, it is likely because of the window.
  3. 3. Identify the building’s vulnerable points. Materials wear out, dry out or crumble over time. Inspect the roof, the flashing where the chimney or soffits meet the roof or where different types of exterior sheathing meet, the chimney, the caulking around windows and doors.
  4. 4. Enlist the help of a building inspector, builder, engineer or architect with a thermographic camera, which can be used to trace the water path and identify the source.
  5. 5. In extreme cases, employ a dye test to track the flow of the water.
  6. 6. Make small probe holes to help gauge where the intrusion is occuring.

Common solutions

  1. a. Roofing fixes often include patching, re-roofing and re-coating.  Make sure to test the repair adequately!
  2. b. Gutters and Leaders often get nicks or creases where exposed to pedestrian traffic and should be replaced, patched and suitably protected.
  3. c. Window, door and roof penetrations (chimneys, skylights, pipes) often suffer from flashing failure and will need periodic replacing or re-sealing.  This stems from rubber and tar-based products which dry up over the course of years develop small micro cracks and when exposed to the pressure of wind-driven rains simply spring leaks.
  4. d. There  is no “one-size-fits-all” remedy for these issues.  However, popular strategies used to combat foundation infiltration include french drains around the base of the foundation to guide water else-where, adjustting the slope of the adjacent ground to pitch away from the structure, new water resistant membrane, special hydrophobic coatings that expand and chemically block water migration.

We know many qualified builders, indoor air quality specialists, as well as house and building inspectors to get your problem solved. Call now and stay dry! 914 980 5532, ask for Steve.