Issues caused by Waterproofing failure and what you can do

23 May 2018
By The Waterproofing team

Since 1969, our team of experts have been providing inspection and rectification services across building remediation, inclusive of waterproofing and water damage services. What many people fail to realise is that structural issues often arise as a result of water ingress and waterproofing failure.

Whilst waterproofing issues are almost to be expected in older buildings, we are undertaking an increasing amount of work in newer buildings where during the initial building process the builders and/or their contractors have overlooked specific structural requirements (or taken shortcuts) that have caused ongoing issues. Across the greater Sydney area, we are seeing issues with

  • Drainage and water runoff leading to ponding and permanent immersion which can lead to water ingress through points of failure
  • Poor flashing protocols leading to water ingress
  • Poorly treated re-bars leading to rusting and cracking
  • Plantabox failure
  • Structural failure

How to identify waterproofing issues

To the untrained eye, a seemingly small issue could be masking a larger issue. That said, whilst the following list can be an indication of a larger issue, it is not always the case. What we can recommend is taking the time to investigate, or getting someone to come look for you.
Warning signs to look out for include:

  • Blistering or peeling paint
  • Bubbles in the paint that holds water
  • Mould, mildew and vegetative growth
  • Rust Stains on the concrete facade
  • Efflorescence (the white drip stains that can be seen on the edge of balconies and stairs)
  • Cracked walls
  • Internal and rising damp

Areas to Monitor for Waterproofing Issues

Waterproofing failure can happen almost anywhere on a building – especially if construction processes were skipped or rushed. However, key areas to consistently have your building manager or strata committee check include the following.

Roof’s/Top floor

If you are in an apartment or commercial building, flat roof surfaces bare the brunt of the bad weather. When you next have significant rainfall, access the roof to look for areas where the water is ponding, see if there are blocked drains and or identify areas where you can see the water getting into spots it should not.

It is also worthwhile looking at internal areas underneath to see if there is a seepage issue through ceiling spaces.

Drains, Plumbing and Irrigation

Faulty plumbing such as leaky drains, water pipes or irrigation can be difficult to spot, that’s why regular checks need to be made. Look for blockages, drips or leaks, no matter how small and rectify the issue promptly.

Window and Door Seals

Windows and doors have seals which are designed to keep water out, and as such, need to be regularly checked to ensure they remain impervious to the elements, day in day out.
We recommend checking to make sure the seals aren’t cracked. If you find they are damaged in some way prompt attention is important to ensure there are no secondary issues which become apparent.

Take Charge

At the end of the day, your building needs regular attention. Regular checks of the building to ensure integrity is a good way to ensure you catch any waterproofing issues early. Doing so can end up saving you thousands of dollars – both in terms of damage and repair costs.
If you have any concerns or want some advice on what to do. get in touch with us today.