Water Interrupted

CASE STUDY – from the files of Integral…………

It should be noted that an inspection is a visual assessment of the condition of the building at the time of inspection. The inspection and inspection report are offered as an opinion only.


Although every reasonable effort is made to discover and correctly interpret indications of previous or ongoing defects that may be present, it must be understood that no guarantee is implied nor responsibility assumed by the inspector or inspection company, for the actual condition of the building or property being examined.


Additional information as to inspection standards is included at the end of the report. Normal wear and tear is conducive with age and type of occupancy which may or may not be extensively detailed by the inspector in this report unless warranted.




Building inspections are conducted in accordance with accepted industry standards. An inspection is presumed to be of value to the prospective purchaser in that it is a cursory overview by an inspector of the condition of the building and most of its component systems.  The building inspection is described as a non-destructive, visual examination and is not technically exhaustive. This means that the inspector has not been authorized to dismantle or damage any part of the property or building components and that specialized instruments or equipment are not used to collect data or make observations.


This type of examination must not be confused with the type of analysis that one could reasonably expect from a technician or engineer who may specialize in a particular area or discipline.  The specialist will have much more extensive training and experience in his or her specific discipline and will often be certified as an engineer or other comparable designation. Another key consideration pertains to the amount of time available for inspection.  A standard, professional building inspection takes approximately two to four hours to complete.  The specialist analysis of a given building component such as structural stability for example, will often be developed from information gathered over extended periods of time, often weeks or even months of inquiry.  Where the building inspector may have a general knowledge of the basic principles in a number of fields, he will usually be able to make only topical observations.


It is not to be expected that a building inspection will generate the comprehensive, thorough analysis that examination by a specialist or engineer can offer. The following limitations therefore necessarily apply to all building inspections conducted in accordance with the recognized industry standards referred to above.


Items specifically excluded by these standards from a typical building inspection are underground or otherwise concealed pipes and cables; electrical lines and circuits; swimming pools, spas, water conditioning and well systems; fire or lawn sprinkler systems; on site waste disposal systems; telephone, cable T.V. security and timing systems or household appliances. Environmental concerns such as hazardous substances or gasses, including but not limited to carcinogens, fungi, molds, mildews, radon gas, methane gas, formaldehyde or asbestos are also not addressed.


Structural components that are concealed in any way by earth, finished surfaces, furniture or other personal possessions are also not addressed. Conditions existing in crawl spaces that have a height of less than three feet of headroom or where entry is believed to be hazardous to the inspector, or if the presence of any personal possessions will obstruct access or inhibit visibility will not be assessed.




It is very common for the building envelope to be breached by water but it usually results in a simple repair. The resulting damage can be more extensive and the signs can be:


Missing Shingles Missing or Loose Flashing
Discoloration of Stucco Discoloration of Siding
Curling of Deck Coating Wet and Stained Ceilings
Wet and Stained Walls Puddles on Floors
Wet and Stained Carpets Cracking to Ceilings, Walls and Floors
Settlement to Doors and Windows


The cause can be any of the following:


Explosion Fire Fallen Object
Impact Vandalism Hail
Wind Freezing Wear & Tear
Poor Design Settlement Vibration
Faulty Workmanship


In each case where water damage has occurred throughout the building we research and survey the following more serious water problems for:

Building Abstract & History Age of Building Maintenance of Building
Roofing Material Roof Drainage Chaise Construction
Flashing and Caps Overhangs Soffits and Fascia
Down Spouts Ventilation Siding or Stucco
Windows and Doors Balcony Design Deck Coating
Sidewalks and Driveways Foundations Weeping Tiles
Trees and Shrubs


Our objective is to find the point of entry and correct the cause before repairing the damage. Once this has been accomplished then exploratory demolition and removal of materials may be necessary to determine the exact extent of the damage. It is very common for new building contractors or agencies to remove and replace beyond what is necessary to repair the damage. It is very expensive to rectify water damage but the repair costs can be controlled. With major damage, exploratory demolition should be completed to determine the extent and amount of damage involved.


The majority of water damage is caused by entry from the outside. The areas that we inspect while completing exploratory demolition to find the cause are:


FOUNDATION: Weeping Tile – Services Entry – Waterproofing
FRAMING: Insulation – Rough In – Vapor Barrier – Door/Windows
EXTERIOR: Insulation – Flashing/Vents – Skylights – Roof Finish – Wall Finish – Gutter/Pipes – Painting/Caulking





There are two construction styles of open balconies found in the Lower Mainland that are  designed to control the flow and direction of rain water.


Free Flow which allows the water to run off freely to any open side. In this case the water runs off towards the front


Controlled Flow which controls the run off to manmade drains in floor or port holes (in this case).


Controlled Flow balconies allow water to accumulate with high volumes of water puddling on the deck surface awaiting run off. If the port holes are clogged with debris or the volume of water is dense enough then the puddles will become ponds and can rise in depth in inches.


If the water rises high enough it can deteriorate and penetrate the deck caulking running in behind the moisture barrier and breaching the building envelope. One of the weakest points is where there is an entry door or patio door sill that is either at deck level or has only a single bottom framing plate beneath it.


It is also quite common to find that deck covering was installed incorrectly and not up the walls high enough or installed after the siding or stucco was installed. The covering is then caulked at the joint where it meets the siding or stucco.



We recommend that any retrofit of the balcony construction should have the following procedures followed:


1. All doors should be double plated.
2. Deck coating should be installed before the siding is attached.
3. Rain shield should run up the wall at least 2 feet after the vinyl deck coating is

installed but before the siding or stucco is applied.

4. Both the vinyl deck coating and the rain shield should be wrapped over the bottom double plate before the entry door or patio door is installed.
5. A batten should be installed at the run off edge of the deck to allow the water to

clear the wall.

6. The deck should be floated to ascertain correct run off of water from walls or if the

joists are exposed then sister declining sleepers to floor joists





Gutters and down spouts are critical to preserving the integrity of the building envelope. They are a controlled method to transport rain water from the roof, down the exterior wall and either into a storm sewer system or a wash away. If they do not function correctly then the breech of the building envelope is inevitable and results in water damage.


Gutters have a life expectancy of anywhere between 10 and 30 years which depend on the following:


·         materials used
·         workmanship
·         building design
·         application


Gutters should be regularly cleaned and checked for damage, wear and tear, etc. – once in the late fall and once in the late spring.


Shingles should overlap about half way into the gutters which is a correct application.


Upper roofs that drain onto lower roofs without any control can and does shorten the life expectancy of the roof cover as well as cause a breach of the building envelope.


The lower gutters are the same size as the upper gutters and are too small to cope with the volume of water and  are too small for an overlap of an interlocking shingle.


All downspouts onto lower roofs should be extended across the lower roof to control flow of water from upper roofs which will extend the life expectancy of shingles.