Water damage has a funny way of showing up at your multifamily property when you least expect, want, or of course, need to deal with it.
Sometimes it's the water you can't see that causes the most damage.
How does water damage your building?
If your property is not properly waterproofed, brick, stucco, and siding will eventually show signs of water damage. Instead of water deflecting from the building, water is pooling behind the siding. There are several ways water and moisture can get past the exterior. Stucco and siding expands and contracts in response to temperature changes. Water enters through gaps around unsealed doors and windows. Moisture intrusion can also occur in the overlapping ends of siding pieces. These small openings are just big enough to let rain and other moisture in.
If there is not a water-resistant layer installed beneath the siding, the water and moisture will cause major damage over time. The trapped moisture can’t drain or dry once it gets behind the walls. This will result in mold and rot, severely damaging wooden studs underneath. The resulting damage can cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix.
How does waterproofing work?
A lot of investors think that siding or stucco and brick is what protects the building from moisture. But waterproofing is just beneath.
Waterproofing is the process that protects a building against water and moisture intrusion. Specific layers of building materials are carefully selected and installed to allow moisture to deflect from sheathing to the ground, where it escapes via a weep hole or weep screen.
According to experts, these materials should:
• prevent moisture accumulation in walls; the moisture in the atmosphere, the vapor released by the soil, or rainwater can enter walls and travel through structures, eventually affecting interior finishes;
• penetrate into cracks, filling and sealing voids against water and moisture;
• provide an impervious surface finish to walls, increasing their resistance to moisture and water penetration.
The type of barrier needed depends on the type of siding used. For instance, Tyvek is a wrap that is often used in multifamily new construction and reconstruction. It is designed to keep air and water out while letting water vapor escape. If water gets behind the siding, the waterproof membrane protects the sheathing behind it and water runs down the wall and out through a drainage device - such as weep holes or a weep screen.
An expert contractor will advise you best based on your building structure and physical location.