As a commercial building owner, you have had some type of waterproofing work done on your interior floor space or roofing. So you may be familiar with above-grade systems. But grade waterproofing is also necessary for those areas of your building below the ground level.
Below grade commercial waterproofing is easily overlooked by some building owners and managers. However, it only takes a bad flooding event to learn how essential it is.
Modern commercial buildings often have below-grade spaces. They are used for parking, storage, as utility rooms, or as tunnels for communication conduits.
These spaces are prone to water damage if they are not properly waterproofed. This, in turn, can lead to foundational problems. The performance of this part of your building foundation is vital for structural integrity. It is also essential for your life cycle costs.
Importance of Below Grade Waterproofing
Waterproofing also makes below-grade spaces more breathable. A breathable structure allows inevitable vapor and liquid moisture to escape. This, in turn, prevents mold and mildew as well as cases of rot and rust.
Breathable underground space increases energy efficiency. Water and moisture cause temperature changes and make HVAC systems work harder to compensate.
Waterproofing also allows your structure to become UV resistant.
Below grade waterproofing is essential for all commercial buildings. It’s best to leave all inspection work to a professional roofer in Miami or Fort Lauderdale. Still, you should take heed of the following seven signs below, which can indicate more insidious problems.
Indicators That You Need Below Grade Waterproofing Now
Unlike other foundation problems, waterproofing issues are usually easy to spot. These include:
- Signs of Moisture are a big red flag. They include damp drywall, ceiling water rings, standing water on the basement floors, or condensation on mirrors and windows.
- Presence of Mold and Mildew must always be a concern. Never ignore mold or mildew anywhere in and around your underground spaces. It does not matter whether it is white, green, or black. Mold thrives in wet and damp areas, which is an indicator of water leakage.
- A Damp, Musty Odor which reminds you of your middle school gym locker is indicative of water seepage. The smell is a powerful sign of whether or not you see any physical signs.
- Visible Efflorescence is a white chalky substance appearing on damp walls. It’s indicative of salt migration through a porous material (like concrete) to the surface. Such coating appears near areas where wall openings and cracks are present since they let in water. Though efflorescence is not as serious as mold, it’s still a worrying sign and should be a concern.
- Cracks in the Floor or Walls only get worse with time when ignored. Thus, you must act immediately whether or not you notice signs of water seepage. Luckily, cracks alone are the least expensive waterproofing remedy. Hairline floor cracks allow water seepage, which is caused by hydrostatic pressure building below ground. Large cracks, on the other hand, indicate serious flooring and foundation problems.
- Wall Water Marks running down your basement walls means water is leaking over the foundation top. Exterior infiltration sources or grading problems can cause these watermarks. Failure to waterproof this space can cause recurring problems.
- Bowed Walls (an inward bulge or curve in your concrete foundation wall) needs an immediate fix. They lead to long horizontal cracks, which allow water seepage and compromise the entire foundation. You can fix bowed walls with steel bracing.
The Bottom Line
Call a professional roofer as soon as you see any of the above signs in your building’s basement area. They will assess the extent of the damage and advise you on what needs to be done and how much it will cost you.
Poorly designed below grade waterproofing systems are financial time bombs to unsuspecting building owners. This is more so if the systems fail within the lifetime of the buildings. This is because of high repair/replacement costs of the waterproofing membrane itself. It can also be due to the disproportionately high costs of exposing and re-accessing the membrane.
Your Solution to Below Grade Waterproofing
If you think you need below grade waterproofing services in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, look no further than A-1 Property Services. As a GAF Master™ Commercial Roofing Contractor, we can help you assess the quality of your building’s below grade waterproofing system. We can also advise you on the best way forward in protecting your building’s below-grade areas as well as offer an estimate depending on the work that is to be done. Contact us today at (305) 547-8355 to see how we can help.