The Role of Corrosion Inhibitors and Applications for Concrete Repair

Oct 20, 2021

The need to extend building longevity is universal, and society has created vast skylines and massive concrete structures that are seemingly impermeable and able to withstand whatever forces Mother Nature can dish out. But there’s a reality to the biggest concrete assets; concrete—even when it seems perfect—is subject to risk through the introduction of ions and contaminants that move through the micropores in the material and lead to corrosion of reinforcing steel rebar. The right strategy for extending concrete longevity must begin with preventing the degradation of the metals contained within it that add to its tensile strength. That is where corrosion inhibitors become vital to building management, and as reported by Kathy Riggs Larsen of Materials Performance, “To control and remediate rebar corrosion in new and existing concrete structures, multiple methods are available. These range from changing the concrete’s cement chemistry to using corrosion inhibiting techniques such as pozzolanic cement, surface sealers, corrosion inhibitor admixtures, cathodic protection, and surface-applied corrosion inhibitors.” But to understand how the different approaches to corrosion inhibitors work, it’s first important to understand how corrosion occurs and its real impact on the future and integrity of your concrete structures.

How Does Concrete Corrosion Occur?

Concrete corrosion refers to the degradation of reinforcing steel within a structure. As the importance of corrosion inhibition has increased, more companies have prioritized this area during the design phase of building assets. However, corrosion is inevitable. It is accelerated by harsh environments, including those with extreme temperatures or high salt levels. Furthermore, concrete corrosion is comparable to cancer, gradually spreading throughout a concrete structure and often invisible until cracks form on the surface.

It affects buildings and structures around the globe, and it usually begins with an improper pH balance on reinforcing steel rods. Now, concrete usually forms a film on the surface of steel rods that prevents corrosion, but with time, degradation of the concrete may lead to the exposure of additional materials, including water, chlorides, and other salts that result in the degradation of this passive film.

Carbonation is another catalyst of corrosion. Carbonation results when carbon dioxide dissolves within concrete pore fluids. This reaction is inevitable, created by the natural presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The reaction forms carbonic acid that then reacts with materials in the cement paste to create calcium carbonate. 

While this may not necessarily seem like a major issue, it effectively lowers the total pH of the concrete. And since the passive film on the steel rebar depends on a highly alkaline environment to maintain its integrity, the rebar becomes more susceptible to the effects of moisture and ions in the environment. As a result, the rebar begins to react to other contaminants, like oxygen, salts and water, producing damaging results. 

It’s at this point when degradation begins to affect the reinforcing steel. It’s the presence of oxygen and moisture that result in rusting, which is where the true cause of concrete degradation begins to grow.

Rusting steel rebar expands due to the chemical changes within it. The expansion is up to six times greater than the original volume occupied by the intact rebar. As a result, this forces an expansion within the concrete that will slowly crack and open the door to additional means of entry for water, salts and oxygen. The problem becomes self-propagating, weakening the concrete infrastructure and leading to spalling. Furthermore, this is a process that takes years to occur, and by the time it becomes evident, the problem is vast and much more severe than many realize.

What Is a Corrosion Inhibitor?

Left unchecked, corrosion of steel within concrete reinforcing structures will lead to massive costs for your company and may require complete replacement. However, the use of corrosion control, leveraging inhibitors for corrosion, early in the design and throughout the maintenance program of your building is the best way to extend the life of your concrete assets. A typical approach to repairing concrete that has cracked is to remove the damaged sections, replace the rebar and patch where needed. This helps to reduce the advancing of oxygen, water or salts into the concrete. Therefore, it is best to use a corrosion inhibitor in tandem with a waterproof seal to prevent exposure of rebar to the elements. 

There are also products manufactured specifically to reduce the risk of chloride ions from coming into contact with reinforcing steel and even modifying the concrete mixture to increase its impermeability. Essentially, waterproofed concrete means little risk for entry of corrosive agents. However, highly corrosive environments, like the salt-laced winds along coastlines, require a specialized approach to preventing degradation.

This includes materials applied directly to rebar to increase the strength of the passive film on the metal, leveraging chemical agents to mix with concrete that will help to strengthen that film and even increase the electrical resistance of the metallic surface of rebar. Obviously, early protection at the time of design and construction is preferred. However, repairing damaged concrete and sealing cracks with corrosion-inhibiting materials is necessary when spalling or other signs of degradation appear.

A few examples of companies that manufacture concrete corrosion inhibitors are Cortec, Degussa, Sika, and Masterbuilders. However, there are always differences in product specifications and formulation. Thus, it’s important to have a quality engineer evaluate the unique structures and concrete requirements prior to selecting a product. This ensures that the chosen inhibitor will serve its purpose the best and avoid future repairs or failure. 

Another way to approach corrosion prevention is through electrochemical means, using both anodic and cathodic materials. These electrochemical means are usually found in concrete applications that are subject to continuous exposure to different liquids, such as the holding tanks in sewage or water treatment plants. 

Such applications require a means for managing the flow of electrons associated with certain ions, like those of salts, and rendering them inert. Other options for adding the electrochemical protection include an impressed current cathodic protection (ICCP) that can effectively stop spalling and prevent further damage to rebar. 

Both still require a power supply, even if temporary, and cables to supply power to the anodes/cathodes. As a result, it creates an added expense and complicates the process of preventing corrosion. Of course, this is a permanent solution that requires the proper selection of both anodes and cathodes, as well as in-depth specifications for current strength, to cause ions to move away from rebar and effectively prevents future oxidation (rusting) of the steel. However, this is perhaps the costliest approach to corrosion prevention other than total replacement due to the added equipment it entails. 

Thus, working with a chemical-based inhibitor for concrete that leverages an applied material or chemical additive within a concrete mix is usually preferred. For reference, here are some of the most common admixtures used that may be referenced in engineer repair specifications:

There are also materials that can be applied directly to the surface of the concrete to provide corrosion resistance to rebar. Ironically, this method takes advantage of slightly porous concrete to provide a way for such materials to penetrate concrete and restore the integrity of the passive film on the surface of rebar. In a sense, these corrosion prevention materials take on a dual-purpose with waterproofing as well.

What to Consider When Choosing a Concrete Inhibitor or Sealer

Waterproofing membranes are perhaps the overlooked side of concrete repair and damage prevention strategies. While focusing on corrosion inhibitors is great, the waterproofing membrane that’s applied to the surface of the concrete is the first line of defense against the penetration of corrosion-inducing materials. Furthermore, the waterproof seal on the surface of concrete actually serves a purpose in inhibitors for concrete too. As explained by Adhesives & Sealants Industry (ASI), “Concrete sealers come with a variety of different features. The most basic function is to protect against the ingress of moisture, carbonation, and other potentially damaging elements. Others add stain resistance or corrosion inhibition.

Inhibiting corrosion is especially needed in applications where there is exposure to sea air with elevated humidity and chloride levels or in northern climates where there is a need for deicers. 

As cities, counties, and states that experience harsh winters are switching to liquid deicing brines instead of granular ones, more chlorides are entering concrete surfaces at a faster rate than ever. This trend is accelerating damage due to freeze-thaw cycles and the corrosion of reinforcing steel, leading to the heightened need for sealers with corrosion inhibitors.” 

To ensure your team chooses the right sealant or other admixture for preventing corrosion, it’s important to take a few considerations into account. These include:

Advantages of Corrosion Inhibitors in Concrete Repair

The advantages of using corrosion inhibitors for concrete repair are very easy to understand and include:

Extend the Longevity of Your Concrete Assets by Partnering With an Expert in Concrete Repair and Maintenance

While seemingly the strongest building material, concrete is actually a protective covering for the real strength of a building—its rebar reinforcements. Without that reinforcement, concrete will inevitably fail and even worse, the rebar itself can cause untold damage to your concrete structures if left unchecked. As a result, it’s important to extend the longevity of your building assets by choosing a top-quality partner for handling concrete repairs, corrosion prevention programs, and all other maintenance needs. 

Connect with Valcourt to request a consultation to remedy damaged concrete and prevent corrosion of reinforcing steel today.

What Are Waterproofing Membranes, the Types, and Applications?

Oct 06, 2021

When a building shows signs of water damage, waterproofing membranes can provide an easy and cost-effective fix. Waterproofing has different variables and steps to ensure the best integrity and longevity for your building and the people inside. Unfortunately, failures within the waterproofing membrane can have a disastrous effect on the integrity of your building’s structure, lead to health risks for building occupants, and increase total cost of ownership. Meanwhile,  having knowledge of the types of membranes, application methods, and how to choose a service provider can make the process even easier. Let’s take an in-depth look at these key things to know about waterproofing membranes, including:

I. What Are Waterproofing Membranes

A waterproofing membrane is a layer of water-tight material that lies on a surface to prevent water leaks or damages. The process usually consists of liquid-applied or pre-formed sheet membranes. According to Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York, “The global waterproofing membrane market size is set to gain momentum from the increasing investments by renowned companies in the development of eco-friendly products for green buildings, as conventional membranes can cause harm to the environment by releasing toxic chemicals. The report further states that the market stood at USD 27.17 billion in 2020. It is projected to grow from USD 28.05 billion in 2021 to USD 42.85 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 6.2% during the forecast period.” 

II. Why Is It Important?

The objective of waterproofing is to secure a building from all kinds of water damages and prevent further repair work on the structure. Excess water exposure can enlarge the foundation cracks and joints, leading to issues with leakage, deterioration, and spalling that will require repairs. Before water damage leads to bigger issues in a building, waterproofing can provide:

Fixing water damage before it becomes a greater issue is extremely important. As further explained in relation to the movements of air within materials, Energy Saver said “air movement accounts for more than 98% of all water vapor movement in building cavities. Air naturally moves from high-pressure areas to lower pressure areas by the easiest path available — generally through any available hole or crack in the building envelope. Moisture transfer by air currents happens quickly, and carefully and permanently air sealing any unintended paths for air movement in and out of the house is a very effective moisture control strategy.” Waterproofing can fill the paths for such air movements and stop water vapor from causing more harm to the building structure. This is particularly vital in terms of keeping building occupants safe from airborne pathogens.

As the CDC explains: “Molds are very common in buildings and homes. Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery. The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus.  We do not have precise information about how often different molds are found in buildings and homes.”

Considering that many of these materials are basic construction materials, any water entry, even in vapor form (such as humidity), could lead to an added risk of mold growth. In the case of commercial buildings, such factors essentially open your business to the liability of illnesses associated with these pathogens. Furthermore, the CDC notes how there is evidence to suggest that deterioration of work and living environments due to mold spore exposure can lead to memory loss, lethargy, and more. And in commercial buildings, this amounts to less productive workers and even worsening customer experiences. It’s for these reasons that a proper waterproofing envelope protects against water in any phase, whether liquid, solid (ice) or gas (humidity), is critical.

III. The Difference Between the Membranes & Key Aspects to Selecting a Waterproofing Membrane Type.

Different buildings will require different types of waterproofing membranes to ensure no water damage will continue. Waterproofing membranes can help protect any building;  basement or roof membranes can help prevent water damage from happening. This long-term decision can save building structures from potentially costly consequences such as joint problems and cracking. Moreover, the type of membrane may either be chemical and liquid upon application or be made up of multiple layers of prefabricated sheet membranes. 

As further noted by Raja Haria via LinkedIn: “Liquid Applied Waterproofing is a process of waterproofing application using special liquid. It’s used for roofs like flat roofs, pitched roofs, domed roofs and walls also. A liquid applied membrane involves Fully bonded monolithic coating application. This coating, once cured, forms a rubber-like elastomeric waterproofing membrane. Liquid applied membranes are flexible enough to take any shape they are laid to, also they have properties like strength, tear resistance, weathering resistance, UV stability & elasticity to bridge the cracks developed underneath the surface.” 

Of course, that only begins to scratch the surface of the true scale and variety within waterproofing membrane options.

The different types of waterproofing membranes consist of the following primary materials.

1. Self-Adhesive Modified Bituminous Membrane

Self-adhesive modified bituminous membranes are composed of asphalt, polymers, and tackifiers, and may contain mineral stabilizers. The product may be reinforced with fiberglass, polyester, or a combination of the two. Products designed for exposure to the elements typically will be surfaced with mineral granules, coatings, films, or other opaque surfacing.

2. Polymer-Modified Bitumen Membrane

The most widespread materials for the creation of the waterproofing layer are the polymer-bitumen roll-fed sheet membranes. These materials could also be used as an underlay for pitched roofs and as a vapor barrier.

3. EPDM Membrane

It is a preformed elastomeric waterproofing membrane made of high-quality EPDM rubber. It exhibits high tensile strength, elongation, tear strength, and resistance to weathering, heat aging, ozone, UV rays, acids, alkalis, and oxygenated solvents. 

4. Thermoplastic Membrane

Thermoplastic roof membranes are distinct from other commercial roofing systems. It is a blend of polypropylene, ethylene-propylene and is often reinforced with polyester. Sheets of TPO can contain UV absorbers, colorants, flame retardants, or other add-ins to achieve the required physical properties. 

5. Bituminous Membrane (Asphalt)

Hot melt liquid bituminous rubber blend structural waterproofing systems with an interlaid reinforcement can be used in roof and podium deck applications to provide a seamless waterproofing membrane for high green roofs and podiums, and are sometimes specified for winter applications where low temperatures are common. 

6. Polyurethane Membrane

These products come with a fiber-enhanced, water-based polyurethane membrane that has been designed for a range of waterproofing applications where the membrane is to be covered with tiles, screeds, concrete beds, and more. These membranes offer excellent adhesion properties for use on building substrates, including concrete, masonry, renders, cement sheeting, wet area sheet surfaces, and plasterboard surfaces.

7. Chemical Grouting to Seal Cement Structures

Hydrophilic chemical grouts have flexibility and resilience after full cure. This will allow movement to occur in the structure without damaging the seal. Hydrophobic resins are rigid after curing and do not recover from compression. If the structure moves, there is a good chance the cell structure will be damaged and leaks will reappear. Hydrophobic chemical grout is low viscosity and permeates loose and non-consolidated soils readily.

IV. Application Process for Waterproofing Membranes

Regardless of the scale, size, location, or type of building, waterproofing membranes provide an essential component to protect the structural integrity of a building. The longer a leak is allowed to progress unchecked, the more extensive the underlying deterioration can become. Stopping a minor leak is far easier than rehabilitating the damage resulting from a major one.

Thorough Inspection of the Materials Used and Prior Membranes

Noting how the building responds to weather events and temperature fluctuations can affect the building materials used. Inspect the prior membrane used and see how the weather affected it or what problems continued to happen. Then, form a game plan to determine which type of membrane to use.

Cleaning of the Area

Preparation requirements vary by the type of material used and the application methods. Make sure the surface and materials are well-prepared and ready for membrane application. Cleaning provides for good adhesion to the substrate. Also, the manufacturer’s guidelines include instructions for cleaning the substrate to remove dirt, debris, and other surface contaminants. 

Application of the Chosen Material 

Waterproofing membranes generally consist of liquid applied or preformed sheets. Liquid-applied membranes must have the correct thickness or installation errors will occur. For sheet membranes, joints between sheets are critical and must have a perfect application to avoid leakage.

Complications to Watch for During the Application Process

If any complications pop up during the waterproofing process, the membrane will not work properly and therefore will not solve the leakage. A few examples of installation errors to look for:

Destructive Testing to Ensure Its Integrity 

Destructive testing can confirm a successful installation and determine if water leaks will continue to cause issues. This is the literal process of attempting to remove the material, apply water to it, and rigorously ensure the seal is working properly. 

Routine Maintenance & Inspection to Keep It in Tip-Top Shape

Keeping up with maintenance can prevent damages from happening again and once again verify that the installation was done correctly. In other words, maintenance and inspection are critical. And checking for signs of installation failure can save the building from costly future repairs. No crack, stain, or visual cue should go without proper inspection to make sure water damage has not come back. 

V. After Application and The Role of Inspection in Maintaining the Membrane

After waterproofing takes place, certain steps can prevent recurring water damage and will not require further work. Closely monitoring the building and inspecting the membrane can ensure the water leak has stopped. 

Constantly monitoring the membranes and looking for future signs of leakage can prevent the need for replacements. Pay close attention to signs that may indicate deterioration of the waterproofing membrane, such as staining and cracks; most problems have visual cues when water damage happens. 

VI. How to Select a Waterproofing Service Provider 

Effective waterproofing requires an action plan designed to preserve the structural integrity of a building while being cost-effective at the same time. Finding the right professional with the proper expertise will help ensure the job gets done right the first time. Here are some things to consider when selecting a waterproofing contractor:

Company History

A reputable waterproofing service should have an established, verifiable history of satisfied clients. This can help prospective customers learn the expertise level of the company while also checking references or reviews. When checking references, ask about the company’s services, their level of professionalism, the quality of the work, and the availability of follow-up support once the job was complete.

Awards & Certificates

This can show companies that excel in the industry and showcase the talent and ability to provide quality customer service. This can also go back to the company history and show the service goes above and beyond the bare minimum. 

Licensed and Bonded

Make sure the company has proper licensing for the area and has the correct liability insurance. Many of the warranties on the products used by waterproofing companies may cancel out if not installed by a certified professional waterproofing contractor.

Written Contracts

Contracts can protect the customer and the contractor. Every contract should provide details of the proposed work, an estimate for the time it will take to perform the job, and the estimated cost. Before the job begins, ensure any guarantees and warranties have been documented in writing.

Prioritizes Safety 

The contractor should take the proper steps to ensure the safety of their team, the customer and the property itself. The equipment and machines needed for waterproofing require skill to operate and come with a level of risk. Choosing a waterproofing team that prioritizes safety should always be of great importance, and doing so can prevent delays, mistakes, and unnecessary costs.

Offers Inspection Services

A professional contractor should have the option of conducting an inspection whenever water damage becomes apparent. A skilled waterproofing company should have the knowledge to pinpoint the source of the water and take the appropriate action to resolve the issue. Having the proper skill set is essential to ensuring that the issue can be resolved whether from the interior or exterior of the building.

Understands the Various Waterproofing Materials

Some of the more common signs of water damage in a building are more obvious. These include peeling paint, damp spots on basement walls, and rust on tools or appliances. However, some less obvious signs may be harder to identify such as cracks in walls, an unusual odor, or the presence of a chalky white substance on the walls. Choose a contractor that knows how to carefully inspect the entire area in order to address potential problems and know the proper solution.

Guarantees: Will Repair the Membrane If It Fails Prematurely

Ensure the contractor will come back if additional membrane service is needed. This will save the customer from having to pay a second time when the first service should have worked. Having this claim in writing can make sure the contractor will hold up their end of the bargain if the time comes. 

The Big Picture: Waterproofing Is Vital to Your Business and Building Integrity

To save a commercial building from water leaks and damages while ensuring maximum integrity, waterproofing can provide the best answer. According to RJ Lometa of Vents Magazine, “Lack of waterproofing measures leads to increased risks in building integrity! Today, many urban construction projects are adversely affected because of this. Often building structural failures are an off-shoot of weak waterproofing measures.” The presentation and integrity of a building hold just as much value as the people in it.

Ensure the Best Waterproofing Service Provided

Keeping up with the maintenance of a building can add stress to any manager or employee. Waterproofing helps building managers stay a step ahead of the mess. To prevent future damage and improve the integrity of your building’s waterproof envelope, contact Valcourt

What is Cement, Concrete & Chemical Grouting and its Role in Building Waterproofing?

Sep 30, 2021

After finding cracks and leaks within a building, taking the proper steps to save the structure and costs is critical. When companies begin to look into waterproofing services to ensure the concrete strength of the building, questions may arise like what is chemical grouting? What does pressure chemical grouting have to do with the process? Knowing the background of waterproofing and what the service pertains to will help you choose the best company for the job. Understanding the differences between cement, concrete, and chemical grouting, and knowing the importance of grouting and what to expect in building waterproofing services, can provide insight that will help you save the structure of any building. 

What Is Cement, Concrete, and Chemical Grouting?

When a structure requires concrete restoration, grouting can be used to repair concrete cracks, fill seams and gaps in tiles, gaps for sealing and waterproofing, and for soil stabilization. Cement grouting with pressure is injected to fill voids or fractures in the soil, rock unit, or concrete structure. Looking at the chemical grouting specifications, the chemical grouting transforms granular soils into sandstone-like masses by filling the voids with low viscosity, non-particulate grout. An example TunnelingOnline uses to describe when to use chemical or cement grout, “For example, Portland and ultrafine cement grouts are predominantly used to stabilize soil and/or control water in civil projects, including earthen dams, levees, mines, tunnels, subways, vertical shafts, below-ground structures or waste encapsulation. These types of large-scale projects will often require significant volumes of grout to be injected. Chemical grouts will often complement the cement-type grouts and in some cases will be the predominant grout used for a particular situation.” 

Why Grouting Is Important to Maintaining the Whole Building Envelope

Once the building envelope has obtained moisture, waterproofing must become a priority for building owners and managers. Having a preventative approach can save money in the long run to avoid a full-scale removal and replacement. It is important to take important steps to mitigate the problems early. For example, every five to eight years, have the building’s waterproofing service redone. 

Grouting offers several advantages:

According to GrandviewResearch, “The building structures application segment is expected to expand at the fastest growth rate of 8.4%, in terms of revenue, over the forecast period. The growth is attributed due to its high application in building to improve the shelf life and protection at varying temperatures.” This segment indicates the importance of prioritizing the structure of the building and using waterproofing now rather than later as the market becomes more expensive. 

Common Causes of Grouting Failure

Waterproofing can save the structure of a building and preserve its value, but what happens when poor waterproofing service occurs? Taking the time to do a water leak investigation can help identify where the critical issues lie. Any issues in waterproofing may happen due to:

Poor waterproofing can fail, leading to cracks, mold issues, and structural defects that can have a high price tag to fix. Additionally, poor waterproofing can cause safety issues, significantly reduce the property value, and lead to unfitness for occupation. Partnering with a waterproofing and sealant services provider that ensures optimal solutions can remedy the problem. 

What to Expect in Grouting Maintenance

To obtain a great remedial waterproofing outcome from grouting, find a professional you can trust. Taking important steps to having frequent updates on the structure of the building can save costs down the road. Here are a few steps to take to ensure the proper maintenance that will reduce the risk of bigger issues:

Paying attention to the maintenance of the building, never dismissing cracks, and taking notice of any visual discrepancies like water damage can preserve the building. Maintenance and performing minor repairs can help avoid replacement and the need for drastic projects.

How to Pick the Right Waterproofing Service

To prevent a water problem and resolve issues associated with a faulty structure, a good waterproofing company can help. According to VentsMagazine, “Water damages can lead to massive problems in the building’s appearance and structure. It will affect the building surface and also lead to security and health issues for the members inhabiting the building.” Upon deciding to waterproof, the next important factor is finding a partner you can trust A few tips to help pick the best company for building maintenance services can include:

Properly protecting a building from different kinds of water damages, such as leaks, moisture, and rain, can help retain its structural integrity and value. Without waterproofing, the foundation of the structure may suffer and force cracks and joints to become bigger. Stay up to date regarding local building codes and reviews of companies, especially for high-rise buildings, and preserve the time spent on designing, planning, and building the structure.

Guarantee Building Integrity With Expertise in Building Waterproofing. 

Having more concrete background knowledge on waterproofing and the aspects of the service can help you make an informed decision when choosing the best company to trust. Waterproofing failure can have a drastic impact on a building’s safety and value but it does not have to. Following the tips above and keeping a close eye on the maintenance of the building can lead to fewer long-term damages. To keep water leaks and other potentially costly issues from happening, enlist the professional waterproofing and sealing services offered by  Valcourt.

What Is Involved in a Commercial Building Water Leak Investigation & Repair Service?

Sep 16, 2021

Of all the components of a commercial building that property managers must pay attention to, the waterproofing seal ranks as one of the most critical of all. The building envelope protects the inside of the building from damage caused by water intrusion. Knowing how to find a water leak in a commercial building and how to identify and correct issues sooner rather than later can significantly impact the building’s stability and the safety of employees and visitors alike.

Where Do Commercial Building Envelope Water Leaks Occur?

Routine inspections and professional testing and evaluations are critical steps in the building maintenance and management process. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimates that “asthma-related medical costs attributable to mold and dampness exposure add up to roughly $3.5 billion each year, and this figure does not take into consideration other health effects building mold causes.”  As damage spreads, the problems will also increase in number and severity. So, building managers need to be aware of the critical places where moisture commonly occurs:

Water infiltration can cause premature deterioration of a building’s interior components, significantly depreciating the value and posing a severe risk to health and safety in extreme cases. Protecting against water intrusion with innovative services and building envelope restoration must be the primary focus of building management personnel at all times.

Trial by Water and Air: How to Find an Envelope Water Leak in a Commercial Building

Field inspectors follow a set of specific procedures established by industry standards and record the results of all onsite tests. They check for air, water, and moisture intrusion at various levels and locations in the building. Knowing where these potential problems areas pop up can help maintenance teams tailor inspections and follow-up efforts to focus on those vital spaces. These sorts of tests and assessments will demonstrate how to find a water leak in a commercial building and why building envelope water testing procedures keep buildings safe and structurally sound. 

Actual Steps of the Repair

One of the first questions building owners and managers consider upon finding potential problem areas is,  “does building insurance cover water leaks?” In most cases, the answer is yes, so long as specific criteria are met and every effort has been made to address and fix the issues. The five basic steps for repairing water leak issues to prevent further damage include:

Overcome Water Leaks in Apartments and Other Properties With the Right Building Service Partner.

The best way to deal with water leaks in apartment buildings, businesses, high-rise buildings, and other commercial structures is through routine inspection and regular maintenance of the waterproofing envelope and seals. When the envelope fails and water and moisture seep into the building, it can cause a host of problems and cause widespread damage that can cost a fortune to fix. Keep these problems from disrupting normal business operations with professional waterproofing and sealing services from Valcourt today.

Signs Your Building Envelope Has Moisture & Water Infiltration

Sep 09, 2021

Building management and facilities management involves many important aspects and services. One of the most critical of these falls under building envelope maintenance. As the first line of defense against water infiltration and related damages, the waterproofing envelope must stay high on the list of priorities for building owners and managers to frequently monitor.

Identifying and monitoring common problem areas can help building owners and managers stay on top of water damage. However, it is not always as easy as it sounds. As Buildings.com explains: Water infiltration is the biggest culprit in envelope failures, but its causes range widely. Frequently the result of multiple factors converging over time, leaks can take years to show up – and if you can see water on the inside, significant damage to your envelope is likely. By the time water shows up on the inside of your building, it has had to pass through a lot of materials to get there.” And this hidden damage can cause significant issues throughout the building system with two major types of expenses:

Avoiding direct and indirect costs lie at the heart of waterproofing efforts. For this reason, building envelope restoration and protection against water infiltration and damage continue as some of the top ways facility managers can protect their property. Warning signs not to ignore include the following:

1. Movement of Ceiling Panels, Windows or Other Building Materials

Anytime supports or other materials within the building shift out of place, swell, warp or otherwise change, it often signals a serious issue with the building envelope

2. Damage to Building Materials Where Water Drains

Even when the draining system appears to be functioning normally, leaks and seepage can occur in the areas where water comes into contact with building materials.

3. Humidity Trapped Within Windowpanes

Many commercial windows have two or more panes put together, so moisture in the walls can form condensation within the glass. This signals higher moisture levels.

4. Signs of Mold and Mildew Growth, Including Odors

Any discoloration of materials, noticeable surface mold and mildew, or odors that indicate musty or rotting materials should warrant immediate attention.

5. Paint and Coating Damage

A common but lesser-known sign of water intrusion and water damage is cracking and peeling paint and changing interior and exterior coatings.

6. Water Stains and Discoloration

The most common indicators of water damage in a commercial building are water stains and marks on ceilings, walls, floors, and any other visible surface.

7. Rotting Trim and Roof Components

Water intrusion at higher levels, such as the roofing system, can show warning signs of rotting trim, facades, and unusual wear and tear on the systems.

8. Efflorescence of Stonework

White residue on stonework may indicate the wicking and absorption of moisture into materials over long periods due to building envelope breakdown.

Know the Signs of Building Envelope Water Infiltration, and Have the Right Partner to Address Them

All commercial buildings need protection against water intrusion. This type of commercial water leak dilemma becomes more common all the time. Part of this comes from financial pressure to save money and delay specific maintenance and repairs. It is also partly due to the sheer age, level of neglect, and deterioration of many older buildings. Staying on top of building envelope maintenance will help reduce damages caused by water infiltration. Contact Valcourt to schedule your consultation today. 

What Are Best Practices for Building Envelope Systems

Aug 24, 2021

Owning a building comes with a mammoth list of responsibilities, including ensuring the quality of the building envelope systems. Proprietors want value and longevity in their investment. Therefore, the building envelope systems and materials must be made to withstand the elements. As well as enhancing durability, commercial building maintenance will help keep property value high and prevent any costly repairs or renovations. 

1. Ensure a Proper Building Envelope Is Implemented the First Time

The success and endurance of a structure solely depend on the materials used in construction and the skill of the contractors. When implementing building envelope systems, contractors must use durable products. As well as high-quality materials, a skilled team is needed to achieve the desired results. Aspects such as building waterproofing services allow proprietors to establish a well-protected barrier from the exterior to the interior. 

2. Know the Materials That Form the Building Exterior

Knowing is half of the battle. The materials used in constructing a building might need special care to ensure longevity. Choosing low-maintenance, lasting supplies will decrease the need for frequent maintenance, keeping the total cost of ownership lower and providing a better ROI. The building envelope systems and materials also need to be examined and adequately cleaned. Different materials might react to various chemicals, so establish a maintenance worker or team to properly clean them. 

3. Routinely Provide Proactive and Preventative Maintenance

In addition to choosing the right items for the build, routine maintenance plays a significant role in preserving the integrity of building envelope systems. According to Facility Executive, even minor issues such as clogged gutters or storm drains pose substantial risks to the integrity of a structure. These obstructions can cause back up into the interior of the building, leading to more serious damages. By hiring qualified, experienced contractors for exterior maintenance solutions, owners can prevent costly harm to their investment. 

4. Become Well-Informed and Know the Hazards of Building Envelope Failures

Managers need to take safety considerations into account when formulating a plan for building maintenance. One of the most advantageous features building managers can provide is knowledge and training. A team that understands the functions of the building and its materials knows how to clean it properly and how to do so safely. Building envelope systems and materials can pose occupational hazards to those who do not know how to treat failures as they are discovered. Doing so will keep the total cost of ownership down and keep the building in good standing for longer. 

5. Consult An Expert for the Best Ways to Maintain Your Building Envelope

Ultimately, consulting an expert for the best ways to maintain property will ensure the integrity of the building envelope. Hiring a professional to do the job right the first time, using services like commercial building waterproofing means less maintenance over time for building envelope systems.

Ensure Your Building Envelope Is Well-Maintained by Partnering With The JOBS Group

Not only will finding the right partner keep a building looking in tip-top shape, but it will also keep owners and managers from having to do renovations or repairs too soon. Contacting the right partner for the job is the first step. 

Request a consultation with Valcourt Building Services to protect your biggest asset and barrier to the outside world — the building envelope systems.

What Is a Building Envelope & When Is It Time for Restoration?

Aug 19, 2021

Building proprietors must protect their most valuable asset, and to do so, they must address issues like commercial water damage to a building envelope. Many layers make up the building envelope. Building owners need to assess if repairs or restoration are needed. Knowing is only half of the battle; management staff and owners cannot easily determine which course of action is best to take for their facility if they do not fully understand the functions of the structure. Hiring contractors specializing in building waterproofing services or commercial water damage clean-up helps keep the building envelope intact, the elements out, and the value positive, and that begins with understanding the questions: what is a building envelope, and what are the types of building envelopes available?

What Is a Building Envelope?

Essentially, the building envelope definition is easy to understand. The building envelope consists of any materials making up the space between the interior and the exterior. Each part of the envelope is vital to the structural integrity of the building. For the most part, the building envelope consists of waterproofing the building, meaning any seals, windows, the foundation, floors, or anything that works to keep the elements out of the interior. The use of exterior maintenance solutions such as commercial water damage restoration or commercial water damage clean-up assists building managers and owners with routine maintenance, repairs, or restoration when needed. The types of building envelopes might also vary. For instance, a glass envelope will have a different set of needs than a concrete envelope. 

Signs the Building Envelope Is Failing

When planning routine upkeep, owners should consider commercial building maintenance and the signs that the external envelope of a building is on the road to failure. Sometimes the building envelope inevitably fails, making the building vulnerable to hazards like commercial property water damage. Some tell-tale signs of the envelope failing include broken windows or faulty heat seals within the windows, or damage to the insulation, caulk, or ventilation systems. In addition to these obvious signs, breakthroughs of moisture and other elements can threaten the health of the building’s occupants. Obvious signs of damage can be easier to locate, but routine maintenance will keep the property value high while also extending its longevity. 

Ways to Improve the Integrity of the Envelope

Services like commercial caulking or building envelope restoration help improve and protect a property’s envelope. These services can get expensive quickly, so routine maintenance will help keep these from happening prematurely. Brief daily inspections by building maintenance can help pinpoint obvious signs of damage to the building. This alone can help prevent minor issues from becoming costly restorations. 

If proprietors are building their property, choosing the right construction materials for the job matters. The best materials are moisture-resistant and ideally low-maintenance. According to BDC University, adding air barriers can also serve as another line of defense. These tips and more keep different threats from penetrating the building exterior and will ensure a valuable, stable property. 

Choose the Right Solutions Provider to Reduce Your Risk

From start to finish, building owners and managers must understand their property’s needs. For building owners, managers, or maintenance workers, it is imperative to know the building materials to ensure their longevity. Knowing what lies between the interior and the exterior will help guide building owners and maintenance staff in using materials or components that will not compromise the structure. Building owners must practice proactive maintenance to reduce the likelihood of costly issues like commercial water damage. The best advice: consult and hire professionals before construction or repairs. Trusting professionals that offer services like commercial building waterproofing will help prevent any moisture breakthrough without compromising the integrity of the building.

Request a consultation with Valcourt Building Services to review the integrity of your building envelope now. 

The Top Causes of Commercial Building Water Damage

Aug 17, 2021

Facility managers overseeing commercial buildings have a lot vying for their time and attention, each task just as important as others when it comes to building management and maintenance. However, detecting and addressing water damage to commercial buildings remains one of the most critical tasks of facility management. 

Importance of Water Damage Inspections

Commercial property water damage can be reduced and often avoided by identifying possible problem areas and addressing water intrusion concerns. Knowing the top causes of commercial building water damage makes the entire process simpler and more accessible. As highlighted by Water Damage America Inc, “data from a survey conducted by the American Housing Survey of the U.S. Census showed that out of 100 representatives of U.S. office buildings, 85% of these are past water damage, while 45% are experiencing current leaks.” Commercial water damage restoration services are in high demand because proper inspection is essential for high-rise building management and maintenance. 

Damaged Roofing Components

The roofing system is among the most vital components of any high-rise or commercial building. Any damage to the roof can lead to water intrusion on some level. Minor water leaks can trickle into lower areas of the building and cause damage, both seen and unseen. Regularly scheduled roof inspections and proper maintenance by building managers can reduce the chances of commercial property water damage from a leaky roof, which will help avoid the costs associated with commercial water damage clean up and restoration.

Damaged Pipes and Sprinklers

Another common source of commercial water damage originates with the plumbing system. Old and rusty pipes, worn-out seams, and other damages can cause pipes to crack and leak over time. Everything from the traditional plumbing system to the advanced sprinkler system can cause water damage when something goes wrong. All indications of possible leaks or damage must be addressed sooner rather than later.

Worn Out HVAC System

The heating and cooling system is an invaluable part of any commercial or retail space. However, without proper maintenance and upkeep by building managers and operators, an old HVAC system can become a source of water damage concerns. Heating and cooling systems that don’t perform as designed can lead to extensive damage over time that requires advanced commercial water damage restoration to address and repair.

Unchecked Window Damage

One thing most high-rise buildings have an abundance of is windows. While they are a vital part of a building’s overall structure and design, they also offer an easy water entry point. Whether from the elements or maintenance work such as window washing, water intrusion around windows is far more common than many realize. Commercial and retail water damage from leaky windows, thankfully, can easily be mitigated.

Poor Waterproofing Maintenance

Creating an impermeable building waterproofing envelope helps to prevent water from getting in and causing damage. Many commercial water damage clean-ups end up occurring due to poorly maintained envelopes and seals. Cracks in window seals and worn-out coatings on the building’s exterior can allow water to seep in and damage internal components and structures easily.

Combat the Top Causes of Commercial Building Water Damage by Choosing the Right Service Provider

Keeping up with routine building maintenance and exterior upkeep remains one of the best things facility managers can do to protect against water damage to commercial buildings. From proper inspection and upkeep to quick response to known issues, fighting against water intrusion and damage can seem like a never-ending battle.

Prevent the costs of water damage by scheduling an inspection with Valcourt Building Services now.

Water Leak Detection: How to Know It’s Time for a Commercial Water Leak Investigation

Aug 13, 2021

Facility managers have a responsibility for many aspects of building upkeep, repair, and maintenance, including dealing with inevitable water intrusion issues. Commercial building maintenance is a complicated process. Having a solid commercial water leak detector and a planned response action plan is an essential aspect of building management and maintenance. While most facility management teams understand the importance of leak detection and repairs, many still might wonder how to determine when a leak becomes especially troublesome.

Value of a Strong Commercial Water Leak Detection Process

Water damage can present various warning signs that indicate the need for commercial water leak detection services and intervention. As highlighted by FacilitiesNet, minor warning signs can indicate that a more significant issue might be lurking under the surface. Likewise, minor damage can cause a quick spiral into a compromising situation if left unaddressed. So clearly, early and accurate detection of commercial building water leaks is a vital part of commercial high-rise building maintenance. Learning the telltale signs of possible leaks can help make repairs easier, reduce expenses, improve facility maintenance routines, and keep team members and visitors safe on site.

Water Accumulation and Intrusion Detected

The most obvious indication that something has gone wrong and there is a leak somewhere is finding a pool of standing water anywhere in the building. Water intrusion can occur from many sources and does not automatically mean the water has come in from an outside source. The water leak may come from leaky pipes, broken HVAC systems, or issues with other building components. Knowing the warning signs can make it easier to determine when water leak detection services may be necessary for building maintenance.

Discoloration of Materials Noted

Commercial water leak detection services focus on identifying problem areas as soon as possible to avoid further damage. Another visual indication that a water leak has happened is when certain areas or building materials have become discolored. This could occur in the ceilings, walls, or even the floors. The area can look wet or discolored somehow, and older leaks that have temporarily dried may appear some shade of yellow or brown. There may also be some bubbling, cracking, or other forms of and damage in the discolored area.

Changes in Texture of Building Materials

Maintaining the structural integrity of any building through safe maintenance and management is important because of the following issues that could arise from water leaks:

Odors and Strange Smells

Odors are prevalent when dealing with water intrusion and damage. Water leaks often cause mold and mildew to form, which speeds up the degradation of the materials and can cause pungent smells. Certain materials can absorb and retain water for long periods, leading to black mold and similar decay. This impacts indoor air quality and indicates water intrusion. Even with no visual indicators, any odd smells should not be ignored and are a potential sign that commercial water leak detection services and commercial building waterproofing services are needed.

Perfect Your Commercial Water Leak Detection Services With the Right Partnership

Working with a skilled and experienced building maintenance company can provide peace of mind and access to commercial water leak detection equipment and services. Keeping up with building maintenance and routine inspections is a critical part of facility management. Partnering with the right experts is a step toward improved facility management and more excellent facilities administration practices. Connect with Valcourt Building Services to learn more or to schedule a water leak inspection now.

5 Things to Consider When Looking for Building Waterproofing Services

Jul 07, 2021

Facilities an building managers or owners have many vital roles they must fill and tasks they must perform.  One of the most critical is damage inspection and repair work that focuses on the building’s exterior structure. Most of the primary building systems vital to daily operations, such as HVAC, plumbing, and electrical, hardly go neglected. However, the building’s outer shell also needs some attention. Carefully planned exterior maintenance and building waterproofing services can help managers avoid costly repairs, severe safety issues, and other building maintenance challenges. To get the best possible results from waterproofing services, a few key points need careful consideration.

Regularly Inspect the Building Exterior for Signs of Waterproofing Membrane Damage

Keeping up with building waterproofing services and maintenance are among the most cost-effective ways to extend the lifespan of a building’s shell. By developing and adhering to a throughout maintenance plan, it becomes easier to protect the safety, integrity, and appearance of roofs, walls, foundations, and other vital components of any building. Maintaining a waterproof membrane around the building is the first line of defense against water intrusion damage and should not be overlooked or ignored by building managers and operators. Regular inspections and maintenance help ensure the water-resistant seal remains unbroken for as long as possible. 

Waterproofing Is Never a One-Size-Fits-All Solution

The greatest challenge in waterproofing a commercial building is knowing what systems, products, and services are most suitable. Every building is different, and every environmental need is different. An individually designed and implemented building waterproofing services plan is critical for long-term protection. From the roof to the windows to the drainage system, exterior maintenance must be customized to be truly effective. Investing in a professional, tailor-made system and customized building services will more than pay for itself.

Not All Building Waterproofing Services Are Created Equally

While the idea that every building needs a customized waterproofing plan seems obvious, it is also important to remember no two service providers are the same. Building managers must take the time to carefully vet those that they bring in to handle the various waterproofing services required.  According to Grainger, many professional properties are in some way maintained and repaired by outsourced professionals. It becomes much easier to ensure all buildings are always up to code with professional assistance. Additionally, any minor problems get addressed sooner rather than later, so the waterproof seal remains intact. 

Waterproofing Is a Multi-Tiered Process That Includes Repeat Visits for Destructive Testing

Establishing and maintaining a waterproof building envelope is not a one-step process and often needs repeat touch-ups and resealing to maintain that strong water barrier. Multiple steps and services will be involved, along with maintenance, inspection, testing, and follow-ups. The final step to any waterproofing sealing process should be a thorough round of destructive testing to ensure proper curing and sealing through weather or environmental hazards. Keeping up with long-term building waterproofing services, maintenance, and repairs will provide continued protection against water intrusion damage down the road, no matter what environmental factors nature cooks up. It is a small investment that will pay significant dividends in the long run.

Time Is Money, and Attention in Waterproofing Will Pay Dividends to Reduced TCO

Water intrusion through windows, doors, and roofs is among the most common and most damaging commercial and industrial property owners face. These issues can lead to unsafe and unstable conditions and should never be ignored or put off, no matter how tempting it might be to reduce costs by delaying repair and maintenance work. Building waterproofing service issues can lead to problems like a flooded basement or rampant mold growth, or damage to interior supports and electronics, which will cost even more to resolve. Considering the costs of waterproofing, associated maintenance and repairs altogether is an integral part of controlling TCO. Facilities managers must take steps to either repair damage or prevent minor issues from morphing into significant problems in the first place.

Choose the Right Waterproofing Service Provider

When it’s warranted, hiring an experienced professional to help with any monitoring, inspections, or maintenance is a wise investment to make into the longevity of any commercial building. Building waterproofing services are vital for protecting the exterior and interior integrity of any commercial or industrial building. Make the smart choice today and partner with the experts who can help maintain a waterproof envelope effectively with professional building maintenance services. Contact Valcourt for your waterproofing needs.