Is your building watertight? Creative Commons Attribution Seaglass by Ken on Flickr

Is Your Building Watertight?


There is more to a building’s waterproofing than its roof.

Now, the roof is important don’t get me wrong, but there are other areas that should be carefully monitored.

We’re talking about a force of nature whose erosion created The Grand Canyon. Water is not to be ignored. Remember, water always travels the path of least resistance.

Water is great for cooking, cleaning, and drinking. Who doesn’t love a cup of coffee? But you do not want it invading your building. Its damage isn’t limited to rusting steel rebar within concrete. The smallest amount of moisture can allow mold to grow. Yikes. Who wants to breathe that?

In Southern California we are spoiled with a Mediterranean climate and an average annual rainfall of just under 15 inches (Seattle is 37 inches). This weather dynamic gives us beautiful days and awesome sunsets but the lack of rainfall causes us to forget and possibly neglect these waterproofing issues.


Depending upon your roof type, there are many areas of concern. These areas can be caught during regular roof maintenance (see more detailed blog post here).

HVAC Condensate

Condensate from roof-top equipment is required to exit to an approved receptor through approved piping. In no way do you want any kind of water, condensate or otherwise, just dripping and pooling on your roof.

Concrete Tilt-Up Panels

14131-14Unfortunately, concrete cracks and the earth moves, especially in California. It is possible to repair these cracks in concrete tilt-up panels through epoxy injection.

The epoxy injection process not only waterproofs the panel, it structurally welds the panel together (see more detailed blog post here).

Panel to Panel Joints

Panels have joints. Where you have a joint, you need a seal. Most of the time this includes caulking. That needs to be monitored and maintained.

Roof-to-Building Transitions

Whereever there is a transition, there is an opportunity for a material failure. Even the smallest opening can allow water in. We’ve seen a lot of interesting MacGyver-type repairs in the past. They’re ill-advised at best.

Neighboring Buildings

gapexample-textWhere land is scarce, you find buildings with zero lot lines. Sheet metal can be installed to direct rainwater toward the lower roof instead of accumulating in between the two buildings causing moisture-related issues.

This is a solution that we’ve performed many times but needs approval from both building owners who make financial arrangements between each other.


Concrete tilt-ups get the most attention in the manufacturing and industrial sector but let’s not leave out plastered or stuccoed buildings.

Stucco is not immune from cracking or allowing water to enter your building. It should also be maintained. Elastomeric paint is another way to help keep the exterior of your building waterproofed.

Windows and Doors

Rubber shrinks. Rubber around IMG_2801windows and doors, especially on elevations that get direct sunlight, are no less susceptible. Any crack exposed to wind-driven rain, is an open invitation to water. Roll-up doors are not excluded from this list.

Exterior doors should have overhead sheet-metal drip edges to prevent rainwater from running down the face of the block or concrete wall onto the top of the door and, you guessed it, into your building.

Uneven or Sloped Slab at Entry

If the entry slab is higher than the door (has been lifted higher is often the case), water will go into the building. It’s just a matter of time.


Improperly drained landscaping can lead to ponding water on adjacent sidewalks. Depending upon the slopes, water could come back toward the building. Sitting water is never a good thing. And we’re not even bringing up mosquitos.

Are you concerned?

Are you seeing the signs? Stained ceiling tiles, funky smells, wet carpet? Any opening in your building is a potential issue and can be discovered during the course of a building survey.

The good news is that many of these concerns can be easily addressed and repaired. Email Tom Riggins or give him a call at (714) 953-6333 to discuss your needs today.


Creative Commons Attribution Seaglass by Ken on Flickr

3 thoughts on “Is Your Building Watertight?

  1. carolstephen

    How’d I miss this one?

    Yes, I love “We’re talking about a force of nature whose erosion created The Grand Canyon. Water is not to be ignored. Remember, water always travels the path of least resistance.”

    Perfect reminder at the beginning of the rainy season.

    Thank you.


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