What are the most common issues that happen to multi-unit dwellings? As experts in remediating and repairing building envelopes in condo units around Calgary, we can tell you what to be aware of.
Whether you are looking to buy a multi-unit asset for rental income, you are the property manager for a building, or you own a unit in a condo complex, you should proactively ensure your building is safe from the following concerns. If left unattended, these areas can worsen and result in risky or unhealthy conditions for the building and those living there.
- Water damage to the building envelope
Hands down, water damage is the top concern we help people with. Water wreaks havoc on buildings and should always be top of mind in any multi-unit dwelling.
Where does the water come from? Everywhere! We have dealt with everything from water that was dripping down from one unit’s bathroom into another unit’s bedroom, to large scale leaks in the building envelope due to ground settling. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on water damage to a building’s structure, known as the building envelope.
The ideal state of a building is to be waterproof so therefore any area of construction where 2 building elements come together, there is a chance for water to come in. Be aware of all areas of your property where cracks or openings can exist. Consider windows and the casings around them, basement foundations, roof and attic areas, holes or cracks in walls, entry points for pipes, skylights, doors and garage entry ways, and even empty nail holes from construction. Water and moisture can enter a building from even the tiniest space.
What’s the big deal with water damage? One of the worst-case scenarios is mold. Talking about mold is another article on it’s own, but trust us, you want to avoid mold issues! It can literally damage your building resulting in dangerous air quality conditions and large repair bills.
If you are lucky enough not to get mold as a result of water damage, your building can still suffer from finish material problems like warped floors, peeling paint, windows that don’t close tightly, discolouration, sagging walls, droopy ceilings, stained wood and so much more.
- Roof damage or deterioration
The roof on any building will break down over time and it’s essential that you keep an eye out for potential damage. A weak spot in your roof, will allow water to seep in, which will seep into your building and cause damage. Pay close attention to areas near chimneys, skylights, vents, etc.
- Window impairment
Look for damage or water leaks around the edges and below windows or patio doors. Failures can happen inside the window pane, alongside where the window adjoins to the building, imperfect exterior window casings and more.
- Deck weakening
How can a deck cause damage to a building’s envelope? More easily than you might expect. Over time, even the most well built decks can suffer from settling and weakening of materials. You should look for wood rotting underneath, settling or dropping slightly at the connection point to the building and changes to the side of the building in and around where the decks is connected. Once a deck starts to settle or rot, it needs to be repaired to avoid bigger issues in the future.
- Ground water / basement leaks
Springtime in Calgary is the best time of year because the snow finally melts! With the melting snow, comes rain. With melting snow and rainfall, comes a rising water table. There are several neighborhoods in and around Calgary with water tables that are naturally high and once spring hits, their water tables become a problem! Water will seep in if it finds damage in your foundation walls, openings between your basement footing and basement foundation, or any crack that is big or small. Always inspect the basement of a property for potential leaks, mold or water issues.
Why do buildings in Calgary suffer more damage to building envelope than other cities?
Due to our weather in Calgary, it is common for many buildings to encounter issues with their building envelope components. This is partially because our harsh weather and big fluctuations in temperature can exacerbate any water issues that are already in your building. Everyone loves a chinook in the middle of winter, but your building won’t love it if there is a tiny amount of water or moisture in areas where there shouldn’t be any water. For example, even a tiny crack where a window is inserted, can allow small amounts of water in and then when that small amount of water freezes and thaws, it expands and contracts resulting in damage to the building area around it. Over time, this small area can grow in size, allowing more moisture to come in the next time. As well, once moisture is in an area, it creates the perfect environment for mold to begin to grow.
How can you keep your building safe and in good condition for the future?
Be proactive. You have just read the top 5 areas where building issues can happen. Have your building inspected by a professional once a year. That person or company can advise you on the condition of these key areas such as your roof, windows and decks.
Also, don’t ignore the signs. If you or someone suspects water is coming into your building, get it looked at sooner rather than later. Usually dealing with a problem earlier, is going to cost you less and result in less disruption to your property.
Contact us today with any questions you may have about your building and how to keep it safe and healthy. We are always willing to help you out with any questions.