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Question DetailsAsked on 8/16/2016

I have water coming into my pantry when it rains with no identifiable source. What type of expert should I call?

The water seems to appear from under the baseboards, but I've been told it could be a roof leak running down the inside of the wall. The pantry is on the front corner of my townhome, so one wall to the outside and one up against a neighbor (who isn't having the water issue). I replaced a shingled roof that covers part of the pantry, but not the flat roof that covers the other part. I had insurance come out to test the walls, but they were out a week or more after it rained and found only the bottom half of the wall wet, so they are calling it ground water. I've had drainage experts come out and tell me there's no way it's ground water from the slope of the land away from the home. I have drains built into the ground at that corner of the house that seem to be working fine from what the drainage experts could tell. I just don't know where to go next. I'm not sure what type of contactor or "expert" to call that can find an unidentifiable water source like this.

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1 Answer


1) if wet all the time, then a pipe or hot water/steam heating system pipe or radiator leak - is there a pipe leading down that area or embedded heating system in the floor there ? IF you don't know, try running water in nearby sinks and washer and such and listed at wall for sound of water in the pipes - if an overlying story check those too, and listed both for running water in pipes in wall and for water gurgling down drain pipes.

2) if occurs only after rains, then leaky roof, water coming in through a flaw in the siding or water barrier under the siding, a leak at an overhead door or window, a roof leak, gutter backing up and flooding wall (if not on an overhang and nor due to water from gutter overflowing into soffit area and running over that to wall), or water is getting in on top of the slab - possibly from ponding outside in the rain or from splash from overflowing (or no) gutter over that area, or because the siding or water barrier does not overlap down over the edgeof the slab so the runoff is hitting the top of the slab and coming in on top of the slab to the flooring.

If 1), Plumbing would be your Search the List category to get it located and repaired.

if 2), then unless you are into climbing up into the attic and checking for roof leaks either in attic (check for wet wood or insulation and for wetness or water staining on underside of roof sheathing, or water running down the bottom of the rafters) or coming down into the wall or siding during/immediately after rain, then I would say a thermal infrared scan would be your best bet. Many Insulation and Energy Auditor contractors and some Home Inspectors have them - you can also rent for about $75/day at a tool rental place, Home Depot, some auto parts stores (some places like Home Depot rent for half days also). Most newer iPhones and iPads have built-in provision to re-tune the camera to emphasize the longer wavelengths (near infrared) and can pick up wet areas in walls - other smart devices commonly have a cheap false color IR App available to do that in their App store. Not as good as a true IR camera but you could give it a try to see if it works - commonly does detect wet areas OK, especially in insulated walls.

You could try using a hose spray, slowly (over period of say 10 minutes) working from bottom of siding slowly up to roof while checking with IR device for in-wall leak evidence - or wait till it rains and check it then.

Or you do it the age-old way - drill small holes in the wall and use finger or moisture probe to check for wetness inside, working from known wet point at bottom on up till you find the highest wet point - then tear into drywall there to find the exact source at that point. Course, you have some drywall patching and repainting to do after that.

For a contractor, a contractor with an IR camera, or a good old-time Handyman could try to track the wetness (during or immediately after a time when the water appears). Handyman might or might not be qualified to repair it when found, but could usually do the drywall repairs and repainting.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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