Important Sources of Leakages

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Sources of Leakages:

Leakage in the building always cause discomfort to occupants and discomfort of living, unsightly appearances, unhygienic conditions and at times diseases inclusive repairs beyond reach and possibility.

Leakage in the building always cause discomfort to occupants and unsightly appearances, discomfort of living, unhygienic conditions and at times diseases including repairs beyond reach and possibility. It also spoils the overall look of the house as well damage your painting however good. Water normally enters at some point and travel through some unknown capillaries and cracks and ultimately will seep or leak at some far away different point which is coherently weak. The point where the water enters is the cause of leakage and where it appears is the Source of leakage for a common man. It is easy to observe such source. But to rectify it you have to understand the cause.

Once you identify the source and also cause, than only you will be able to rightly take corrective measures. We therefore, discuss here the potential sources herein as under. Causes of leakage have been discussed “read here“.

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Courtesy - Shutterstock

Basically Ingress of Water in Structures can be:

From below (subsoil water), through Soil and Masonry by Capillary action.

From above i.e. external sources are such as rain/storm. Rain water and/or Water pressure exerted on structural members and their inability to withstand the same.

From inside the building owning to improper water supply, sewerage and drainage installations. Internal water sources such as leaking pipes/ improper fittings, joints incl joints which have opened.

Normal Sources as they Appear:

There are several areas in a building, internally and externally where these weather-damaging elements affect the structure. Some of the areas are terraces, parapet walls, rain water pipes, external doors and windows openings, external balconies, projections in the form of fins, bands and combination, cut-outs, ducts, open chowks, wide court-yards and sanitary and plumbing pipes and its connections incl with fixtures, bath/ toilet areas, plaster, paints, scaffold’s damage, external electrification, likely additions/ alterations, plaster in exposed areas, like corridors, staircase, staircase rooms at the terrace, lift rooms, canopies, inverted beams on the exposed faces, overhead tanks, localised flower pots, terrace gardens, plumbing arrangements at  terrace levels, built-in cupboards, etc. To these man-made conveniences, alterations and additions are plenty. These are some of the several areas from where these elements affect the structures on account of leakage.

The list below covers some of the common items or places in the building from where water appears. Depending on the building planning needs there are additional features and special provisions which aggravate the situation further.  If one carefully browses through each of the items stated below, one can imagine what could be the collective effect on the structures and how devastating it could be.

They can be Broadly Classified as:

(I) Leakage Through Slabs, Roofs, Terraces:

01. From terrace and even intermediate slabs incl balconies, open terraces,

02. From sunken slabs of toilets, ducts

03. From ducts, shafts chowks etc

04. From cracks at column supports.

05. Leaks through ineffectively sealed expansion joints, construction joints and other active cracks.

06. Leakage due to cracks:

Water follows the line of least resistance for entering into any material. Cracks in concrete or masonry walls provide paths of least resistance for the water to penetrate.

  • Cracks formed in the RCC slab, beam, walls incl masonry walls incl cracks in facades, terraces, roofs and sunken floors
  • From Cracks at locations where vegetation growth has taken place
  • From Cracks at lintels, sill level where lintels and sills have not been done and which leads to cracks
  • Cracks between joints two different materials or where two different material meets
  • From Spalled and cracked concrete due to corrosion in the RCC element
  • From cracks in slab due to subsequent installation of heavy structures, antennas, solar heaters, a/c plants and any cracks due to hammering, hitting, dismantling forces

07. From water storage tanks or around areas where the water storage tank has been installed on the terrace.

08. From roof slabs near areas where rain water down take pipes starts or khurras have been provided. Khurras are other potential leaking points.

09. From parapet walls, from slab immediately below parapet walls

(II) Leakage Through Walls:

01. Damp walls on ground floor at lower heights just near the ground particularly where no DPC/coping or plinth protection has been provided

02. Damp walls due to poor masonry and plaster

03. From the joints between Chhaja/ weather shed and walls either from top, sides or bottom of chhaja / weather shed

04. From isolated patches in external brick walls due to holes in masonry made for Scaffolding or due to breakage of walls for Installation of Air Conditioners:

05. From junction of window frames with walls or sills around jambs, soffits, below jamb stones

06. From joints between RCC beam bottoms and top of masonry walls

07. From walls or beams/ columns/ slabs where Cut out in the structure has been made for the branch pipe puncturing the particular element

08. Parapet wall not in good condition particularly without coping or without appropriate vatta

09. Junction of door frame and floor on account of eventual rotting of door frame.

(III) Leakages and Seepages in Wet Areas are Normally Caused due to Following:

Normally the leakage is trough wet areas in the building. In a good number of buildings one could point out the location of kitchens or toilets/baths even without going into the buildings. When proper attention is not paid at planning stage and care is not exercised during execution stage; problems of leakage/seepage get built in. These are further aggravated by lack of awareness or attention required for proper use, maintenance and upkeep of these areas. Common sources are:

01. Depressed / sunken reinforced concrete slab to accommodate the pan and trap.

02. Joints of rainwater, soil and sanitary pipelines and in particular of the pipes which have been encased in masonry or concrete and which are difficult to attend to.

03. From pipelines for water supply, sewerage or rain water down take lines:

  • The joint between flushing cistern and flushing pipe.
  • Junction of the flushing pipe with the WC pan.
  • Junction of WC and traps with the branch pipe and the connecting pipelines including lines running from the floor traps to the sanitary pipe
  • Joints of water supply lines, water supply fittings, malfunctioning cocks, taps, valves, fixtures, etc.
  • Joints between flooring tiles.
  • Locations near overflow pipe of overhead water tanks
  • Floor trap junction or improperly fixed floor trap.
  • Faulty pipe joints incl concealed piping and fittings.
  • Cold joints of construction in both underground as well as overhead water tanks.
  • Floor and walls where shower splashes water.
  • Area surrounding the kitchen sinks.
  • Junction joint between kitchen platform and the wall.
  • At the junction of the water tank wall and the various pipe fittings in the tank walls.
  • Under the water tank on account of usage of scour valve.
  • The poor jointing of water closets, urinals and other sanitary ware.
  •  Area surrounding the kitchen sinks.
  • Junction joint between kitchen platform and the wall.
  • At the junction of the water tank wall and the various pipe fittings in the tank walls.
  • Under the water tank on account of usage of scour valve.
  • The poor jointing of water closets, urinals and other sanitary ware.
(IV) Leakage of Water from Water Storage Tanks:

01. From joints particularly cold joints of construction of RCC or masonry water tanks, incl its joint with pipe lines

02. Near over flow lines

03. Around the water tank where the over flow water gets stagnated

04. Malfunctioning Ball valve in overflow tanks

05. All the causes narrated above needs preventive maintenance and if neglected will invite water from one or other way.It is therefore our common observation that most of the building elements are provided in the structure without the required detailing and thought for weather protection. Observations and results are imminent in their manifestation. One does not monitor the structures which one creates with love and passion.

06. One has to rightly relate the source with the cause. Once done you will be able to adopt right remedy in terms of right water proofing technology and of course right material.

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