Mitigating Water Damage

By Casey Herrell

The end of the winter months brings spring flowers into bloom and with it new responsibilities for all building owners.  This is the perfect time of year to perform routine maintenance around our homes and commercial properties.    The main enemy to the longevity of all building structures is water.   Every building no matter how well engineered is just floating on this mud ball we call earth.  Damage from water can be devastating to any business and cause loss of income for you and your employee’s families.  If you know what to look for most of these sever issues can be avoided all together.

First of all start with a complete inspection of your roof.  The strong spring storms will damages shingles and roof penetrations.  This can allow water to seep in almost undetected until some type of damage is already done.  Check all roof penetrations for flashings that are loose or have caulk that has dried and cracked.  If all this looks good then move on to the gutters and make sure they are clean and free from leaves and debris.  This is often overlooked because you need a ladder to inspect but it is well worth having it cleaned before it causes rotting around soffits and eves.

Second you will need to walk around the building and check all windows and doors.  We use the best caulk available on the market but with this Texas heat all caulking products will deteriorate with age.  The areas where brick and stone meet window frames and expansions joints are the spots to check for signs of dried cracking caulk.  Repairing or replacing the caulking around windows and doors will help keep water out and possibly keep pests out as well.  Another added benefit will be the reduction of cooling bills from the loss of air migrating around windows.

The third item and possible the most expensive to fix is your building foundation.  Most of us around here are familiar with the large cracks you see in the ground on a hot summer.  We have black expansive clay in most of the metroplex that works back and forth with each wet- dry cycle.   If an even moisture level is not maintained around you property then it results in differential settlement.  Settling is a normal part of a buildings life but differential settling is when one section of the building sinks or rises faster than the rest.  This can lead to cracked foundations and even structural problems.  This can be prevented by being aware of your site’s water sources.   A large spike in your water bill should be a wakeup call to the possibility of a leaking water pipe somewhere on your property.   Make sure your irrigation system is in proper working order without broken sprinkler heads.  Over watering of your landscape is just as bad for your foundation as it is for your plants. The soil sound be moist but you should not sink into it when walking in your grass.   Give them just enough water to stay healthy and conserve the rest for us.

I hope all of you have had a great start to 2012 and may your buildings continue to be assets to your businesses.  All buildings require routine owner maintenance so give us a call if we can help you with this in any way.

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