Prevent Water Damage in Key Areas of Business and Commercial Structures

San Diego’s winter months bring the rainy season, along with a real potential flooded roadways, homes, and businesses. However, your business is at risk for water damage year-round from sources other than a weather event. Here’s how to prevent water damage from the following key areas most prone to water leaks in many business and commercial structures.


Many commercial buildings boast one or more balconies. While they provide architectural interest and beauty to a structure, balconies unfortunately can be a big source of leaks. Southern California earthquakes, lack of drainage, and poor construction can cause rainwater to infiltrate a building via a balcony and cause water damage.

Water damage doesn’t only show up as visible stains on walls and ceilings. Sometimes weak balcony posts and railings and missing or cracked grout indicate water damage has already begun.

Seek repair from a skilled water damage contractor. A properly water-proofed balcony is able to better resist the gradual penetration of rainwater. Membranes tailored to the building’s unique design stop the flow of water via tiny cracks. The right drainage techniques ensure water goes where it should, rather than pooling between membrane and tiles.


Often a roof is a prime culprit for water leaks. The tightness of a roof relies on the joint performance of key roofing materials like shingles and the waterproof under layer. However, water enters a building via other means closely associated with a roof. Often loose, older, or missing protective flashing around skylights, chimneys, pipes, and HVAC vents lets water in. Clogged gutters and weak spots on flat roofs force water to pool in one area and eventually enter a building.

Common signs of a leaky roof include rusty or discolored stains on walls and ceiling, water spots, peeling paint, and stained fascia and soffits. Other signs can be more subtle in nature, but your nose will notify you of musty smells and changes in indoor air quality. Finally, lessening of a building’s energy efficiency means wet insulation could be to blame.

Building owners can prevent water damage from a leaky roof by sticking to a regular maintenance plan that keeps gutters clean and performs visual inspections of shingles, flashing, and other areas water may gain entry. Business tenants should report signs of possible water damage immediately to the landlord.

Fire Sprinkler Systems

Fire sprinkler systems provide an additional layer of protection against fire, but they can be a huge liability if something goes wrong. Metal pipes within walls and ceilings can develop pinhole leaks when corrosion grows unchecked. Prolonged leaks threaten the entire system and drastically reduce water flow.

Slow leaks cause water damage over time, but consider the immediate damage after many gallons of water are unleashed at once. Certain fire sprinklers are capable of releasing 8 to 24 gallons of water each minute. Sprinkler heads are designed to discharge water in heat buildup, but sometimes fire is not the only cause of water release.  Proximity to heat from uninsulated water pipes and air ducts, commercial cooking equipment, fireplaces, hot water heaters, and even electrical lights generate heat that can set off a sprinkler head.

To avoid devastating water damage after only a few minutes of unintentional flow, regularly calibrate the thermal settings of your system to better detect fire.  Consider covers or guards to protect delicate sprinkler heads from accidental strikes or bumps. Some turn to nitrogen rather than air to pressurize dry system pipes to avoid the corrosive effects of oxygen combined with water and metal.

Water damage can be expensive, reduces property values, and is a health and safety hazard. Apex Contracting and Restoration works to help restore your business in the event of water damage. Contact us to find out more about renovating building structures prone to water leaks to prevent future damage.

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