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Thread: Water leakage

  1. #1
    Mike Klinter's Avatar
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    Default Water leakage

    Inspected a second floor condo (new construction) with an unusual porch connected to the bedroom. The porch is concrete, poured at the same level as the bedroom (concrete) floor with a door and three glass lights inbetween. The porch has a fake stone wall (railing) on three sides with two small openings in the wall to drain rain water or snow melt. Seller claims that the door was left open during a large rain storm, and soaked the carpet. Buyer is afraid that the porch filled up with water and came through the door. I believe that the water seeped in under the whole door and window assembly, because there is only a bead of caulk keeping it out. The builder drilled three holes in the porch floor to allow for extra drainage, and is replacing the carpet. I'm intrested in hearing how others would write this up in their report.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Water leakage

    Drilling a few holes in that screening wall alone is not going to be enough to drain that kind of water away.

    First thing the concrete should have sloped away from the structure. That appears to have had quite a bit of water penetration, so that outside is filling up like a pool.

    At a minimum, some of the lower row of stones should be completely removed to allow for water drainage. Looking at it, I'd say someone is in for an on going problem.

    Tell your client to look elsewhere.

    rick


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Water leakage

    Check the plans for door sill height at this area. And whether a drain or scuppers is in the drawings. I see what appears to be scuppers or filled scuppers in the photo. The door sill is definately set too low for an open balcony. Is this brand new , never lived in? Drilling holes without properly directing water away from finished surfaces is something our government might do but not a good idea.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Water leakage

    Think of a shower pan set up with a step up into the home. Thats basically what is needed here. With a drain!


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Water leakage

    Well for starters those type of doors are almost impossible to keep from leaking. I'm also willing to bet that when they were installed nothing was placed between the door sill/threshold and the slab to seal it and keep water from seeping in.

    Get a garden hose, put a spray nozzle on it and aim it at the door. Get someone on the inside and you will be able to spot the leaks. This is a poor man's hydrostatic testing device!

    If water is ponding on the porch area you will need more than drill holes to remove the water.

    In the 4th picture are those the holes that were cut? It looks like about 2" plugs are sitting next to the holes. Next question would be "Where is the water draining, now?".

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Water leakage

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Well for starters those type of doors are almost impossible to keep from leaking. I'm also willing to bet that when they were installed nothing was placed between the door sill/threshold and the slab to seal it and keep water from seeping in.

    Get a garden hose, put a spray nozzle on it and aim it at the door. Get someone on the inside and you will be able to spot the leaks. This is a poor man's hydrostatic testing device!

    If water is ponding on the porch area you will need more than drill holes to remove the water.
    Scott is on the right track, except that instead of stopping at spraying water on the door (if that does not leak, that test does not mean the door *does not leak*, however, if it does leak, then a real test would fail for sure, and quicker too), but run a garden hose and do a flood test (plug the drain holes as needed to let the water build up on the floor so that the water floods the balcony enough to come up to the door threshold, then enough more to just cover the threshold.

    I'm going to guess like Scott did "I'm also willing to bet that when they were installed nothing was placed between the door sill/threshold and the slab to seal it and keep water from seeping in.", in which case drilling more holes is not the answer - the door will need to be removed, the balcony topping (it looks like a topping) ground down so the top of balcony floor is lower than the interior floor (by at least 1/2") then set the door down into the recess of the balcony floor (door recess should be the same as the balcony floor), then the balcony floor needs to slope down and out.

    What is the fake stone wall made of? Studs? If so, depending on the stud material and the sheathing behind the fake stone, that wall could rot, rust, leak, and cause problems below at the balcony framing and the unit below.

    By grinding or otherwise lowering the level of the balcony, that would leave the wall sill plate and studs higher than the balcony, water could (as it now sets) be coming in underneath the wall sill plate too.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
    Mike Klinter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Water leakage

    The prints were not available at the time of the inspection. This is new construction, and none of the 8 units are occupied at this time. It's funny how the builder told the buyer that this water damage was caused by the door being left open, yet came and drilled holes into the porch. The hole drilling will cause yet another problem, as the water will now drain into the alluminum soffit below.

    Here in Wisconsin, we are not allowed to advise a client as to wether or not to buy the home. So I advised my client that this water leakage problem would contine to be an ongoing problem because of the poor design, and could be very costly to change the design to correct this situation. I advised them to contact an engineer to design a fix to this problem.

    My question to the group is how would others have worded this to the client?

    My client wants out of the deal becasue of this, and feels that I have not worded this problem strongly enough in the report. The selling agent is trying to hold them to the sale.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Water leakage

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Klinter View Post
    My client wants out of the deal becasue of this, and feels that I have not worded this problem strongly enough in the report. The selling agent is trying to hold them to the sale.
    You could dance around the issue all day with worrying about telling the client to buy it or not. Just tell them if they buy it they'll have to live with the water penetration problem. How much stronger do they want it? You've told them that is wrong.

    As far as the selling agent, normally they can't hold someone to a sale if they are in their option period. They could walk for any reason. Might lose their earnest money, but thats about it.

    JMHO

    Rick


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Water leakage

    In alot of areas a concrete finish is just not gonna fly. Many balconies like that are going to have tile surface. Non slip style yes but tiled surface.Theres no room for anything there. That balcony is a bathtub with an open side. You can seal the bottom of the sill forever but unless you have some height differential your screwed and the architect was paid to think of these type of things. So where do you go?


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Water leakage

    I had one (but it was a townhouse) years ago, my client (a young woman) brought her mother along to the inspection (her mother recommended me through some of her - the mother's - friends.

    My client wanted to know if it would leak and asked if I would check it and what I would need to check it.

    I told the mother I would need a garden hose long enough to reach from the hose bibb down by the patio to up at the balcony, that I could do a short flood test, that short flood test (a regular waterproofing flood test is 2" of water for 24 hours) could show that *it leaks*, but would not show that *it does not leak*.

    While I did more of my inspection, the mother went to a nearby big box store and bought a 150 foot 3/4" hose for me to use. I began filling the balcony up with water, and just about the time the water filled to the sliding glass door, it went in under it and flowed inside.

    Yeah, it leaked ... big time. By the way, I had already pointed out that the balcony *was HIGHER* than the interior floor level .

    The mother asked me what I would tell my daughter if my daughter were thinking of buying the townhouse ... I said 'The only way my daughter would buy this would be *Over my dead body*. Too many problems worse than the balcony, but having the balcony HIGHER than the interior floor level was only going to make the master bedroom a continuous wading pool.' (This was before all the *Mold is Gold* stuff.)

    End result was that she walked, no, make than RAN from that deal.

    By the way - there was nothing on the sellers disclosure about the water flooding into the master bedroom ... I can't imagine why ...

    The listing agent and seller started to say something about the deposit and my client pulled out the seller disclosure, told them about the VISIBLE WATER STAINING on the walls below the master bedroom, on the master bedroom carpet, and around the door, then pointed to the seller disclosure where it said "NONE" next to 'Any water intrusion or leaks' question.

    End of discussion, the contract was canceled then and there and the deposit returned to my client.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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