The Water Way Finding Water Leaks Before It's Too Late

 As we city dwellers go about our busy lives, we often forget about the plain  facts of life here on this spinning globe: gravity creates an unceasing tension  in the materials we assemble into buildings and other structures. Whether or  not we are paying attention, all of matter is reacting to gravity’s pull, and those forces can result in small tears or holes in facades, roofs  and other parts of a building—a fact that’s never too far from Wayne Bellet’s mind.  

 “Nobody wants to appreciate that the earth is moving. And when you have a plane  change on a roof, that causes stress on the spot where the two planes meet,” says Bellet, owner of Manhattan-based Bellet Construction.  

 Over time, such stresses can result in a hole in a roof, oftentimes where planes  intersect, such as where flashing surrounds a chimney. Even if it’s just a pinhole leak to start, if it is left undetected for very long, that  dripping water can cause serious damage to a building and even adversely affect  its structural integrity.  

 Water leaks are the bane of many apartment owners and many building  superintendents. But unlike a drippy faucet or a drafty window, which often can  be simply fixed, water leaks sometimes can be very difficult to find and  remedy. Many different technologies exist to help find the source and the  extent of leaks and other technologies can help minimize the damage these leaks  cause. Knowing what makes leaks happen, the ways that they are found, and how  they’re repaired is essential for anyone living in a multi-family building. Because  after all, such a leak might happen in nearly anyone’s apartment and still affect everyone in the building because of a costly fix  that all will have to pay for.  

 Spotting Problems

 A longstanding leak might signal the need for a major building improvement  project, but it might also require a less invasive solution, such as a spot  replacement of just part of a roof. Knowing what solution to use is the  contractor’s bailiwick, but understanding something about the fixes for water leaks, and  the best practices for finding the source of the leaks, is the responsibility  of each building resident.  


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