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 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 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.