Where’s the water coming from if not from a roof leak?

One of the biggest frustrations a facility manger experiences is when he spends money on a major expense like a roof replacement only to see evidence of water entry reoccur a short time later.

How could this happen? Well, it’s been our observation after many service calls of this nature that the original “leak” wasn’t from the roof in the first place. It originated someplace else.

When you see a puddle of water on the floor or a drip coming from a ceiling tile, it’s easy – and quite common – to suspect the roof as its cause. Many times that’s indeed the case. But not always.

Truth is, there are several places where the water can be coming in from. Becoming familiar with the most likely scenarios and understanding how to identify the source of water intrusion can save you lots of time and budget dollars.

Let’s quickly go through the more common sources of water intrusion other than the roof.

  • Plumbing – We’ve already alluded to this one. Clogged drain pipes or sprinkler malfunctions can lead to water issues that present as leaks.
  • Mechanical – We’re talking HVAC issues here. Air conditioning condensation from older or poorly maintained units can overflow, enter the duct work and ultimately lead to drips and puddles inside the building.
  • Windows/Doors/Walls/Building Penetrations – After heavy winds and rain, water can find cracks and vulnerable areas to enter through.
  • Foundation – Areas around your building’s perimeter where the flooring meets the foundation can back up if not properly waterproofed.
  • Gutters/Downspouts – These can become clogged with debris or can be too narrow to handle heavy runoff conditions, causing water to build up and enter the building.

Identifying the origin of a leak can be a challenge in that sometimes it’s coming from multiple sources. It can take some sleuthing to truly nail it down, but having some knowledge on water intrusion causes, as well as having professional roofers, plumbers and mechanical contractors on speed dial will certainly help.