Defects in Building Leakage - Causes of Water Leak in Building

Dnyan Deshmukh

Staff member
Defects in Building Leakage - Causes of Water Leak in Building
Here Are Some Common Location of Leakage or Seepage and its Possible Causes

Water leakage or water seepage is one of the major causes of common building defects. If water leakage can be prevented, almost
80% building defects can be eliminated. The locations and causes of water leakage in building is given in the below chart.

Underside of roofs (such as flat roof, podium roofs) and bottom of light wells

Possible Causes
1. Damage or deterioration of waterproofing layer.
2. Leakage at access doors or top hatch doors.
3. Deterioration of corrugated steel roofing materials and joints.
4. Defective enclosure for water tanks.

Ceiling with internal areas above

Possible Causes
1. Leakage from bathroom or kitchen above usually caused by seepage from fitments, bathtubs, shower trays, buried pipes or drains due to improper Construction of joints, installation of sealants or occurrence of cracks.
2. Waterproof cement rendering underneath floor tiles for the floor above not installed/specified or such waterproofing features damaged by installation of Sockets or conduits.
3. Mal-function of waterproofing in nearby external features such as balconies or external walls above.


Possible Causes
1. Water penetration through external wall defects such as cracks, joints, honeycombs, spilling, weak points, holes, punctures, leftovers of debris, and Movement of external
wall components.
2. Water penetration through defective external wall finishes such as loosened mosaic tiles, cracked ceramic tiles & paint surface; through poor cladding or curtain walls constructions or weaknesses in water-resisting components.
3. Water leakage through partition walls between units of pre-fabricated elements or between buildings.


Possible Causes
1. Defective bathroom fitments such as bathtubs, shower trays or hand wash basins, or the improper installation of pipe work or necessary sealants.
2. Temporary floods and overview
3. Seepage from defective pipe-works or sanitary fitments.


Possible Causes
1. Improper fillings around frames.
2. Deformation of frame, defective gasket, sealant or putty for window glass setting or frames.
3. Air conditioning box or platform tilting inwards.
4. Insufficient sealant around air conditioning units.


Possible Causes
1. Inadequate or damaged waterproofing tanking.
2. Deterioration of water stops at construction/ movement joints.

Buried or underground drains or pipes

Possible Causes
1. Seepage through defective joints or pipes caused by poor installation or differential movements / settlements, movement of building structures or ground or water table.
2. Corrosion of pipes at junctions with floors or walls.
3. Invasion of water into conduits and distribute throughout the network.
4. Blockage leading to excessive pressure built up.
5. Attack by rodents or roots of plants.

Exposed (or in pipe ducts) supply pipes or drains

Possible Causes
1. Inadequacy in design of drains such as insufficient diameter of drains, bends being too sharp.
2. Blockage of drains by rubbish/sand collected in the system especially in bends or traps.
3. Insufficient number or deterioration of brackets leading to hammering and breakage of supply pipes.
4. Blockage of open joints such as hoppers of down pipes by plants or rubbish.
5.Unauthorized additions overloading the drainage system.

Dnyan Deshmukh

Staff member
But what is the solution to fix the leak, either from roof or wall behind which no space is available to fix from outside.?
In order to do that, you need to do grouting from passive site i.e. from face where you see water is leaking throught.

Such grouting is called negative grouting.

The type of compound to be used for stopping leakage purely depends on the flow of water through crack or damp patch.


Very informative article but it will be much better if remedies of respective details will be mentioned along with methodology and material required.