Last Updated on December 25, 2020 by Monica Geller
//This blog is updated in 2021//
Everything you need to know
Image courtesy of TVBS
Are you facing water leakage from the ceiling? Is your basement getting flooded because of continuous water seepage after an unforeseen natural calamity? Well, water seepage is a common problem faced by several households. It can lead to a wide range of problems such as the growth of mold, dampness of the walls, soggy rugs and carpets, and so on.
In this detailed guide (2020 Ver.), we’ll discuss water leakage and various factors associated with it such as its causes, ways to diagnose it, measures to control, and a lot more. Keep reading for a lot of valuable information that is coming your way.
What is water seepage meaning?
The gradual movement of water through minor spaces and openings in or out of a wall is known as water seepage. However, the cause and source of the movement remain unknown.
Water seepage can be one of the most challenging problems to deal with and is commonly observed in buildings, especially old houses that are not properly constructed or are not satisfactorily maintained.
What are the types of water leaks and their possible causes and signs?
Here’s a list of 8 common types of water seepage scenarios in a household, along with their possible causes and signs to watch out for.
There are mainly seven types of water leakages that can wreak havoc in your house. These include:
- Water coming in from the window
- Water coming in through a foundation/wall
- Water seeping through the foundation slab/basement
- Water leak in house ceiling
- Water leak in the kitchen sink
- Water leak in the bathroom
- Air conditioner dripping water
- Water leakage from the roof
Let’s study each of them in a little detail!
Water coming in from the window
Interior Designer: Wu Tsung-Hsien
A leaking window is a common sight in old houses. Varying weather conditions, windows that are not fitted properly, or damaged window frames can lead to window leak or condensation. Even newly installed windows can be at a risk of water leakage. Windows that are exposed to rains and strong winds are highly vulnerable to water leakage during rain storms, typhoons, etc.
The water leakage is generally observed around openable sashes, window jambs, and window heads. Make sure you check to test the window fixtures before the builder hands over the house to you. Here’s a list of common causes that can lead to water seepage from the windows:
- Rusted steel windows.
- Improperly assembled, designed, or distorted window frames, especially in the case of aluminum windows.
- Gaps between the window frame and concrete structure that have not been filled properly.
- Poorly planned window heads, lintels, and overhangs.
- Air conditioners that have not been installed properly.
- Air conditioning boxes that are tilting towards the inside of the house
To find out the reason behind a leaky window, it is critical to first assess where the window is leaking from. However, it is not an easy task to identify the source of a window leakage.
How to check for early signs of water damage – Signs of leaky windows
Here are 4 signs of a leaky window:
- Leakage in the bottom casing of the window.
- Leakage from the top of the jamb.
- Leakage between the top of the jamb and your window frame.
- Mysterious water droplets on your window glass.
Water coming in through a foundation/wall
It is not at all easy to tackle a water leakage behind the wall, water leaking under baseboard or water coming in through foundation. And, the worse thing is that it is not easy to identify a water leakage through the wall unless there’s some amount of damage that is clearly visible on the wall.
Water leak in wall repair cost or basement wall water damage repair cost is another thing to worry about. So, it’s always a sensible idea to look out for signs of water leak behind the wall, water leak between slab and wall, and water ingress through brickwork and stop water coming through the walls as soon as you spot it.
The common reasons behind water leakage from the external walls of the house or water seepage in walls are leakage in external wall pipes or rain. Internal walls connected to the kitchen or bathroom are also vulnerable to water seepage. Dampness in the interior walls is mostly due to defective hot water pipes that expand and contract. Here’s a list of common causes that can lead to water seepage from the internal and external walls of the house:
- Improper workmanship during the fixing of tiles.
- Defects in external walls such as indents or voids, damaged concrete, honeycombing.
- Degeneration of external wall finishing such as cracks in ceramic tiles, improperly fixed mosaic tiles, and defects in the paint surfaces.
- Missing or low-quality waterproof membranes surrounding shower trays.
How to find where the leak is coming from – Signs of a leaky wall
Here are 5 signs of a leaky window:
- Stuffy odor from the walls
- The growth of mold on walls that retain excess moisture
- Peeling wallpaper or paint from the wall
- A stain on the wall
- Warping of the wall
Water seeping through the foundation slab/basement
A cracked foundation can be a typical problem for most of the households. It is crucial to take care of your basement, but we mostly tend to ignore this dingy area of our house. If you neglect basement problems, they can affect your home and ultimately result in costly repairs. Foundation seepage or water seepage from floor is definitely something to worry about.
Some of the main causes of water coming through the foundation wall or water seeping through the foundation slab are:
- Heavy rainfall and standing water around the foundation.
- A missing sump pump.
- Broken pipes.
- Cracks in walls, windows, stairways.
- Defective damp-proof layers and waterproofing tanks.
- Substandard quality damp-proofing and waterproofing materials.
- Degeneration of water blocks at the movement joints.
- Overflow due to blocked drains or heavy rainfall.
Water seepage detection – Signs of a leaky foundation slab/basement
Here are 8 signs of a leaky foundation slab/basement:
- Efflorescence due to leaching of lime.
- The growth of mold.
- Stains or dampness on ceilings and walls.
- Stained or damp carpets, rugs, etc.
- Rust stains on carpets and walls due to corroded metal objects.
- Bugs or insects in standing water or behind furniture.
- Dampness and cracks in the floor.
- The warped or stained floor.
Water leak in house ceiling
Interior Designer: Tam Simon
Rainwater can penetrate the roof of your house causing water leaking in the house ceiling. Water trickles or pours downward and ultimately arrives at the uppermost covering of the ceiling material, which is typically plaster or drywall.
Water seepage through the slabs of the floor can damage the floor ceilings below. This can also lead to feuds with the other occupants. Here’s a list of common causes that can lead to water leakage from the ceilings and floors:
- Cracks of bathtubs, drains, water closets, water pipes, etc.
- Degeneration of waterproofing in external walls, balconies, etc.
- Flooding due to sudden pipe bursts, blocked drain pipes, overflow of bathtubs, etc.
- Cracks in bathrooms, kitchens, and toilets.
- Substandard quality of water tanking systems in the bathrooms, toilets, kitchens, etc.
- Structural issues.
- Excess humidity or condensation.
- Water ponding on the floor or surface above the ceiling.
- Broken pipes and fixtures.
How to find the leak in the ceiling – Signs of a leaky ceiling
Here are 7 signs of a leaky ceiling:
- Discoloration of the ceiling leads to brown or black spots.
- Excess moisture on the walls in the room.
- Moisture buildup on the floor above the ceiling.
- Protuberances in the ceiling.
- Tiny perforation in the ceiling.
- Mold from the water leak in the ceiling.
- Water leaking from ceiling apartment.
- Water leaking from the ceiling light.
How to fix a leaking ceiling in an apartment?
Once you identify the issue, you can get in touch with ceiling repair contractors and inquire about the ceiling leak repair cost or water damaged ceiling repair cost for further action.
Water leak in the kitchen sink
Kitchen sink leaking underneath or kitchen sink leaking from the faucet can lead to a lot of damage, but they’re generally pretty easy to spot and fix. The water that is degrading the cabinet or the ground may be spreading from the drainpipes, the supply lines or even the tap itself. The source usually is visible as soon as you crawl under your sink with a torch.
Some of the main causes of water leakage under the sink are:
- A leaking faucet.
- Broken drain pipes.
- Clogged drain pipes.
- Signs of leakage underneath a sink
- Here are 4 signs of leakage underneath your sink:
- The growth of mold on the walls underneath or around the sink.
- Peeling wall paint near the sink.
- Moisture buildup on the walls near the sink.
- Water ponding underneath the sink.
Water leakage in the bathroom
Interior Designer: Angheluta Andra
It is not easy to detect a leakage in the bathroom. The bathroom is a moist area. Wet feet trace moisture from the bath or a shower and with running water in from taps and fixtures, minor spills and spatters follow. So, leaking water often goes unnoticed. But, leaking water can run throughout the day and cause damage unless discovered and fixed. It can lead to the water leak in the ceiling below bathroom or leak in the ceiling from the upstairs shower.
Some of the main causes of water leakage in the bathroom are:
- Upstairs shower leaking through the ceiling.
- Broken pipes or fixtures.
- Leaking shower screen.
- Water leak behind the shower wall.
Signs of water leakage in the bathroom
Here are 6 signs of leakage in your bathroom:
- The growth of mildew and mold due to excess moisture.
- Loose floor tiles or damaged flooring.
- Peeling wallpaper or paint.
- Rust-colored or brown stains on bathroom ceilings.
- Musty odor.
- Blisters or bulges on the wall.
Air conditioner dripping water
Image courtesy of epochtimes
An air conditioner dripping water, air conditioner leaking water inside the house or an ac unit leaking water in the attic can be a cause of major concern. Approximately 90% of air conditioner service calls are related to water leakage from the air conditioner. Even though these leakages are small, they can escalate into larger problems if not treated on time.
Some of the main causes of air conditioner dripping water are:
- Clogged filter.
- Damage in the overflow pan.
- Blocked condensate line.
- Disconnected drain line.
- Malfunctioning of the condensate pump.
- Damaged or dirty air conditioner coils.
- Frozen evaporator coil.
- Leaking refrigerant.
- Rusted drain pan.
- Clogged condensate drain.
- Signs of water leakage from the air conditioner
- Water ponding in the area underneath the air conditioner.
- The growth of mold on the walls around the air conditioner.
- Ducted air conditioner leaking water.
- Water leakage from ceiling air conditioner.
Water leakage from the roof
In most of the cases, water leakage is associated with water-transportation services installed on the roof and rain. The most common culprits of water seepage on the roofs are:
- Improper design with insufficient outlets and falls leading to ponding.
- A poor construction such as the uneven thickness of the water membrane, faulty laps of the pane roofing the sheaths, inappropriate preservation of the roofing materials, sharp curvatures at the angles, etc.
- Unnecessary movements of structure joints.
- Inadequate shielding of the waterproofing coating against sunbeams.
- Fissures along the parapet walls that destroy the waterproofing layer.
- Low-quality waterproofing mechanism installed on the roof.
- Degeneration of the waterproofing membrane because of aging.
- Overflowing or leakage of features such as hatch doors, roof gutters, etc.
Signs of water leakage from the roof
Here are 5 signs of water leakage from the roof:
- Water stains on the ceiling.
- Water dripping from the roof.
- The growth of mold on the ceiling.
- Missing shingles.
- A patchy roof.
How do rains and typhoons lead to water seepage?
Interior Designer: Napp Studio
Have a roof air vent leaking water? Or a wind-driven rain roof leak? Whether it is a wind driven roof leak or rainwater coming through the wall, water damage is one of the worse things that can happen to your house during heavy rainfall or a typhoon.
One of the easiest ways for water to make its way to your house is through the roofs or in the form of a leak in the ceiling when it rains. Yes, leaky roofs are the leading cause of water leakage due to heavy rains and typhoons. During extreme weather conditions you may get to see your vent pipe leaking water, water seepage in the basement when after rain, or leak in the wall when it rains.
Here are three reasons why the roof of your house leaks during natural calamities such as incessant rains, typhoons, and hurricanes:
Construction issues on the roof
There’s nothing like improper maintenance of the roof of your house. There can be several reasons why you may have a leak in the ceiling when it rains during extreme weather disturbances. These include:
- A crack in the flashing, i.e., the thin bits of metal installed underneath the shingles and roof joints to form a waterproofing system.
- Shattered shingles on the roof commonly caused due to heavy rainfall or strong winds.
- Improperly sealed roof valleys leading to water seepage from rainfall.
- Clogged downspouts and gutter that can lead to waterlogging on the roof.
Most of the times, the houses are not constructed properly, or design is not well-planned. So, in such cases, you have only two options – live with the rainwater coming through the wall or get it fixed.
Let’s talk about the roof design.
- Flat Roofs
Flat roofs are the major culprits during heavy rainfall. These roofs do not have proper drainage systems leading to water ponding which is highly likely to enter your house through cracks and fissures.
- Metal Roofs
If you have a metal roof, you’re calling trouble. Metal roofs can easily corrode during rainy weather. Wear and tear in metal roofs can cause rainwater leak into the house.
Well, chimneys are openings, so rainwater can easily leak into the house from these openings. Moreover, the exterior structure of the chimneys can also hold water, making the water leakage scenario worse during heavy rains and typhoons.
Skylights are a common design fault that can lead to water leakage during typhoons, hurricanes and rain storms. No matter how stunning they look, they bring with them a high chance of water leakage from the roof.
There are several environmental aspects that are responsible for water leakage during rains and typhoon. These include:
- A house located in a region that is highly prone to extreme weather.
- A house located in a densely wooded area – falling of tree branches or animals climbing your roof and damaging it.
- A house located in a region that is subjected to strong winds.
What to do during typhoon or heavy rainfall?
Precisely forestalling an approaching typhoon makes a lot of difference in making advance arrangements to save your house from water leakage. Wondering how to save your house from water leakage during a typhoon? Don’t worry, we’ve put together a list of measures that you can take to prevent your house from rainwater seeping in:
- Fix the water seepage temporarily with the help of roofing tar, shingle or a plywood patch.
- Remove any standing water on your roof.
- Install a makeshift bucket to catch the seeping water droplets.
- Remove any wires/insulations that are exposed to the leakage.
- Use a temporary roof cover or polythene plastic to protect your valuables and electronics form the rainwater leaking into the house.
How to prevent water seepage and fix it?
Image courtesy of TVBS
As it is rightly said, a stitch in time saves nine! So, don’t let the water seep in, take the necessary measures to prevent it or fix it as soon as you spot the water seepage.
The exteriors of your house face the wrath of heavy rainfall, typhoons, storms, etc. while the interiors face damage due to water leakage resulting from broken pipes, leaking fixtures, improper plumbing maintenance, use of substandard material during the construction, etc.
If not stopped, these issues can ruin the interiors and exteriors of your house. So, there is a need for preventive measures to avoid water seepage inside your house.
First things first – Identify the issue
- The first step in effectively dealing with water leakage is identifying it with the help of water leakage signs mentioned in the previous section of the guide for a variety of scenarios. Wondering how to tell if you have a leak in the wall or how to find a leak in the pipe underground or how to find a water leak in your yard – a water leak calculator, plumbing leak detection equipment or DIY underground water leak detector can help in identifying different types of water leaks in your house.
- The next step is to get to the root of the leakage.
- And, the last and the most important steps is to ensure that you get the issue fixed right away to prevent further damage.
How to control water leakage – Water seepage solutions
Whether it is a water leakage in your bathroom or a leaky roof, there are some basic things that you need to take care of. Immediate water leak fix or water leakage repair critical to saving your house from water damage. Let’s look at them:
- Schedule basic checks
It is a good idea to schedule a monthly sanity check for all the drains, pipes, fixtures, etc. in your house. If you find blockages during the check, fix them right away. If you notice cracks on the wall, fix them right away.
- Ensure proper drainage
Conduct a thorough inspection of the drainage system in your house. Whether it is the drainage system on the room or in the kitchen, make sure there’s no dampness or leakage.
- Fill up fissures and cracks
If you notice cracks on the walls, fill them up using mortar, a cohesive and dense material which is also waterproof. Basic wall cracks, damaged tiles, and damaged roofs can be fixed using mortar or white cement (putty).
- Use high-quality materials for construction
Avoid using cheap, low-quality materials and fixtures during the construction of your house. High-quality material will help you a great deal in the long run. If you try to save money now, you’ll end up shelling a lot of money on getting the water seepage fixed later on.
- Seek professional help
The first thing you need to do is locate the water leakage and take necessary measures to fix it. Experts know their field the best. So, don’t try to fix everything on your own. Hire experts such as home renovators, interior designers, and plumbers to plan the design and drainage system of your house. They will check different parts of your houses such as walls, ceilings, foundation slab, roof, etc. and provide the best solutions.
Is house damage caused by water covered by insurance?
When it comes to water damage covered by insurance scenarios, there are several questions that can rise. These include:
- My roof is leaking, it is covered by insurance?
- Water leak in an apartment, who is responsible?
- Is there any roof leaking after heaving insurance?
- Is there any leaking pipe in wall homeowners insurance?
Read on to find your answers!
If the damage is caused by carelessness, most likely it won’t be covered. Nearly all policies that cover your home have an exclusion that comes with them – if the damage is caused by negligence, then any claims will not be included. Even in the case of a typhoon or storm, if you leave your window open, the damage due to water will not be covered.
As a common rule of thumb, home insurance policies will cover the damage caused by a storm or typhoon. However, an essential thing to note here is that when people discuss home insurance, numerous types of cover can be coupled to form what many of us think of as “home insurance”.
There are two main types of home insurance covers:
- Property insurance – Composed to cover the physical elements of a house such as the walls, ceilings, roof, floors, etc. in the event of a loss. Majority of the banks will need this type of insurance to be secured if you have a mortgaged house.
- Homeowners insurance – Composed to cover the items/objects/valuables in a house such as jewelry, appliances, electronic items, etc.
However, the excellent news here is that all the types will cover typhoon damage.
How can I be sure if my policy covers the damage?
There are two ways to check if your policy covers the damage:
- Carefully inspect all the policy documents
The policy documents are mostly shared with you via email or post and contain detailed information about your home insurance policy (inclusions and exclusions). All home insurance companies explicitly state in the policy documents whether the policy covers damage by typhoon and storms. A quick way to check – jump straight away to the exclusions section and check. If it isn’t mentioned there, you can be sure that your policy cover damage by typhoon or storms.
- Get in touch with the insurance agent
Don’t want to waste time skimming through the documents? You can get in touch with your insurance agent and request for necessary information.
It is always a great idea to be ahead of the issues and fix them before they translate into bigger problems. With the help of all the valuable information we’ve provided in this detailed guide on water leakage, you can prevent water leakage scenarios in your house on a day to day basis. Whether the reasons behind the water seepage is a deadly typhoon or a minor leakage in your bathroom, it demands a quick fix. So, with a little work and alertness, you can protect your house from the potential damages due to water seepage.
Need help or some friendly advice for your redesign and renovation?
If you are looking to redesign or renovate any part of your home or office to incorporate pet friendly interior design, take a look at our FAQs and drop a line to the professionals here at archiparti via our contact form – we’re always happy to hear from you! As one of the top interior design firms in Hong Kong, we offer competitive interior design pricing packages and costs per square foot.
Be sure to check out our blog for our latest designer tips and tricks, current news and media coverage, as well as our most recent renovation article series! Also, be on the lookout for our upcoming guides covering more pet friendly interior design tips! For the visual learners out there, don’t forgot to take a look at the archiparti pet friendly interior design video for pets.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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