9 Ways Water Can Enter Your Building

Other than a roof leak

You’ve seen it before – puddle on the floor or water dripping down a wall. The automatic first response is “must be a roof leak”…and that’s not always the case.  Emergency calls like this happen all the time in the commercial space, resulting in paying for a technician to drive out there, get a ladder out, climb up on the roof, investigate the leak, and then potentially determine it’s not a roof leak after all.9 Ways Water Can Enter Your Building

Countless numbers of roofs have been repaired — and even replaced — only to see the leak re-emerge because it wasn’t the roof leaking in the first place. The water was coming from another source. Further complicating matters, sometimes it’s a combination of sources — roof damage and plumbing issues, for instance — yet only one of them gets addressed before the roof is replaced.

So if it’s not the roof, what is it? Here are 9 common areas you should check before you call a roofer.

  1. HVAC
    Most leaks attributed to HVAC units are from condensate – it can get plugged or the dripping pan could rust, resulting in an overflow situation and water moving into the duct work.
  1. Drain Pipes and Plumbing
    Plugged drains or a malfunctioning sprinkler system are likely culprits of water intrusion, especially if you’re seeing water but you’re not on the top floor of the building.
  1. Foundation
    This waterproofing issue can result in puddles on the floor – water does not move around the building, backs up and gets in where the floor meets the foundation.
  1. Walls
    Cracks and joints in walls are potential trouble spots for water. Conduit can poke through an exterior wall, creating an opening for water. Another example would be new signage being installed above the flashings and not caulked correctly, allowing a water leak into the building.
  1. Gutters/Downspouts
    Downspouts are typically not made to hold water but to allow water to run through them. They can get clogged with debris or may not be wide enough to handle runoff or there may not even be enough downspouts for a building – all resulting in potential water intrusion.
  1. Condensation
    If you’re in a metal building without insulation, differentials in temperature between the outside and inside can create condensation that drips off ceilings.
  1. Windows
    Water can penetrate through window glazing, particularly after heavy winds and hard rains.
  1. Doors
    Sometimes water can leak through a door threshold.
  1. Spill
    Sometimes it’s literally just spilled water on the floor that someone walks by and reports as a roof leak. Yes, that really happens.

Sometimes it’s a simple process of elimination to identify the source of water intrusion and may not be as easy as it seems. Always act quickly to resolve any water issue and keep a list of go-to resources who are responsive and trustworthy, namely a roofer, mechanical contractor, and plumber.