Beyond the Build

Continuing Education

Strong Willed Water

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it is that water has a mind of its own. Where there is a will, there is a way for it to penetrate the building envelope, the walls, windows/doors and roof.

Moisture intrusion and the resulting damage is best dealt with at the start, through well thought out design details–the devil is in the details. Installation, communications and diligent follow-up are also important. In short, “Inspect what you expect.”

Last week, Ben Hixon of Hixon Consultants came out to talk with our project leadership about water intrusion of the building envelope. A few simple takeaways:

  • Think like water. Water makes its own rules and does not care what we thought was the best way. Be sure to check the design documents, installation and manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that any water that does get in has a proper system in place to get the water back out of the building.
  • Finish each phase of roofing with a water tight condition including all necessary flashing. Improper flashing above windows and doors is one of the most common issues of water leakage. Often, the roof is completed but the metal and coping to occur later. This can cause horizontal rain to intrude under the roof membrane at parapets and can result in moisture damage to other work.
  • Use caution with single ply roofing systems. TPO and other single plys can be abraded easily. Be careful with construction traffic and discards on these roof systems after the membrane is laid.

For long term customer satisfaction (and hence retention) never discount the importance of waterproofing. Remember lesson #1, where there is a will there is a way.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.