The Long-Term Effects, Risks, and Dangers Of Water Leaks

Water is enemy number one of any structure. It can cause major structural and interior finish damage over time. Unfortunately, often leaks are not detected for years. As a result, when water penetrates elements of the building envelope, the ongoing exposure to dampness and moisture causes a slow progression of damage. This becomes a costly headache for building owners and property managers. Here we review the long-term effects, risks, and dangers of water leaks for your building.

Drywall and Paint Damage as a Result of Water Leaks

When outside sources penetrate the building envelope, they can cause serious damage to your drywall. If water damage is not addressed it can lead to mold, a common issue that can cause Sick Building Syndrome. At the early signs of water damage, envelope assessment determines the extent of structural damage. You can then arrange for repairs or replacements immediately. Signs of drywall water damage include:

  • Softened walls
  • Bubbling, cracking paint
  • Staining of the walls
  • Sagging drywall or ceilings

As soon as the signs of water leaks appear, we recommend a water leakage investigation to detect envelope failure. Interior damage repairs can’t take place until the source of the leak is discovered and repaired.

Floor Damage

Common sources of water damage to floors include water leaks from roofs, windows, doors, and skylights. However, it is also possible the leaks could be related to plumbing. As with wall damage, you want to assess the source of the water immediately. Signs of water-related floor damage include:

  • Buckling and swelling of hardwood boards
  • Unpleasant, musty odors
  • Floors feeling “soft” underfoot
  • Visible damage such as staining or mold growth where the floor meets the wall
  • Drywall damage where the floor meets the wall
  • Obvious dampness
  • Bubbling of laminate floors

Addressing these issues right away avoids further damage and mold growth.

Concrete and Masonry

Leaks also cause concrete and/or masonry delamination. To help control concrete damage due to leaks, we repair or replace the exterior membrane. Finding solutions that are not cost-prohibitive can include:

  • Replacing or repairing barriers such as membranes and joint sealants
  • Addressing drainage to improve water evaporation and proper ventilation
  • Identifying the forces allowing water to penetrate the interior such as capillary breaks and conducting repairs
  • Window/door replacement or repair
  • Curtain wall replacement/repair/upgrade
  • Insulated glazing unit replacement
  • Spandrel glass replacement
  • Backpan replacement/modification
  • Gaskets and weather-stripping replacement
  • Brick/block replacement
  • Tuckpointing repairs
  • Stonework repair and replacement
  • Shelf-angle repairs
  • Through-wall flashing

All of these building restoration options help reduce costs while ensuring the leaks no longer contribute to concrete or interior damage. However, taking a proactive envelope maintenance approach is a wiser investment to prevent leaks from occurring.

Water leakage investigation is the first step to ensuring your building envelope prevents water damage. At WellDone we provide everything you need from water leakage investigation to repairing barriers and from window installation to stonework repair and replacement. We can assist with your multi-unit properties, offices, and storefront leaks for both commercial and residential high-rise buildings across the GTA. Speak to our team today.