Imagine the following situation: You just had major renovations completed on your house, including the roof, when suddenly problems begin. Repetitive water infiltration forces you to spend thousands of dollars and contractors take turns without solving the problem definitively. Every expected rain raises your anxiety level as you fear further damage. You do not know what to do or who to trust anymore. Read our article to know everything about the misfortune that one of our clients lived and see how major renovations became the source of many headaches.
Our client – let’s call her Ms. Rivers – added an extension to her house a few years back and the work was done by a contractor, whom we shall name Mr. Noproblemo. Shortly after the end of construction, she noticed an infiltration of water on the ceiling of the extension. She immediately calls Mr. Noproblemo who hastens to patch the roof and redo the damaged ceilings, while doing his best to sound reassuring. But less than a year later, the situation occurs again. This time, Mr. Noproblemo is harder to reach and the tension between the contractor and his client rises. He finally agreed to come back again to see the situation and completed other work on the roof and ceilings. A few months pass and the scenario reoccurs. Again. No longer trusting her contractor, Ms. Rivers decided to hire a new one, Mr. Doubletrouble, who performed work on the roof and repaired the drywall ceilings that were damaged by the rainwater. Ms. Rivers now hopes that the situation is settled for good.
Unfortunately, on a stormy and windy evening, as she’s getting ready to watch her favorite TV show, Ms. Rivers realizes the water infiltration is back… Desperate, she decides this time to call not a contractor but a building expert directly. While doing her research on the Internet, she lands on the Legault-Dubois website and notes that our offices are still open despite the late hour. Without hesitation she picks up her phone and gets in touch with us. After her ordeal, Ms. Rivers is understandably upset and very suspicious of anyone who offers to solve her problem. Customer service representative understands quite well the situation our client is confronted to and quickly offers her a visit from one of our water infiltration specialists.
A few days later, our expert is there to proceed with his investigation. His mandate: to identify the source of the water infiltration and determine the most effective and economical method to definitively fix the situation. But unfortunately, on the day of the investigation, the sun is shining bright and there is not a drop of rain on the horizon. So how could a specialist find the cause of infiltration on a sunny day if it only happens when there’s heavy rain and strong winds? This is where the combined power of a blower door test, thermography and water tests become very useful. What is a blower door test, you ask? Using a big fan, the specialist extract the air from inside the house to the outside, thus creating a vacuum effect forcing outside air and water to enter through all possible openings in the building envelope. Then, once the blower is running, the specialist uses a hose to recreate the rain falling on the house.
By following the path taken by the water with a thermal camera and practicing exploratory openings in strategic locations our expert managed to make his diagnosis: improper installation of the flashing at the junction between the brick wall of the house and the roof of the extension. The explanation: before the addition of the annex at the back of the house, the water that normally penetrated through the brick of the second floor wall ran to the bottom and came out through small openings named “weep holes” located just above the foundation. With the renovations, the first floor wall was removed to provide an open area with the extension. The water running through the second floor’s brick wall could no longer get out as it used to because the new living room is located just below. All the remedial work executed by the various contractors over the years never targeted this particular junction, which explains why the problem persisted.
In his report, our specialist explained how the necessary corrective work had to be carrying out to solve the observed water infiltration problem. He also offered Ms. Rivers to supervise the site during the work to ensure that everything was done correctly. As we are writing this, our intervention goes back more than a year and, last we heard, the problem was solved!
Finally, asking the professional opinion of a building expert before calling a contractor is usually the most advantageous solution because contractors sometimes limit their research to their particular area of expertise. The building expert on the other hand evaluates the building as a whole. It is pretty much the same thing as when you need a doctor. The general practitioner will examine all your symptoms and then refer you to the appropriate specialist to treat you. In other words, you will not get a plaster cast before you know if your arm is truly broken.
If you are dealing with a water infiltration or any other building problem yourself, contact our customer service: we are open to help you on weekdays until 8pm and on Saturdays until 4pm! Our representatives will be happy to guide you to the appropriate service to solve your problem once and for all.