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Tuesday 24 September 2019

Water Damage and Your High Rise

Posted by at 9:00 AM

You might be aware that water damage can cause serious damage to your home. If you’ve been reading our blog, we’ve been posting a lot of material on how to remediate small amounts of water damage (and what bigger amounts of water damage can do). But, we’d like to direct your attention to another topic: high rises. They’re made of the same materials as single-story homes and can suffer the same problems, of course.

You might be wondering how big a problem water damage could be to a high rise. After all, after you’re off the first floor, it’d take a tsunami to reach the top floor, wouldn’t it? Not necessarily. The bottom floor of the high rise is always at risk, but even on the top floors there are major issues.


Aside from the issue of ground-level flooding (which we’ve written about before), there’s a number of other causes of water infiltration into your high rise. One of the biggest ones that most people don’t think of is a water tank rupture. Many high rises have water tanks on the roof so that flow and pressure is uninterrupted. Rather than relying on water pressure alone, the engineers use gravity to pull the pressure into the system rather than using other water to push it through the pipes. This is a great system, otherwise top-floor showers would be more like top-floor dribbles.

There’s a huge risk here, however. The tank is not impervious to damage, and if that tank gets damaged, that means that the water can potentially infiltrate into the high rise, especially if the building uses newer, internal tanks. If they rupture, that means water everywhere—not good!

HVAC systems can cause issues too. In buildings that use water chillers (such as hotels), those lines with cold water are just as susceptible to damage and failure as other types of water lines, and can create the same problems. If one of those lines ruptures, that can create issues for not only the room it’s cooling but for any rooms and walls below it. That means that a water chiller can create major issues for you—so be aware of what’s going on!

Speaking of ruptures, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention plumbing breaks. If any line, sewage or drinking water, breaks in one of the upper floors, any part of the high rise beneath it can sustain severe water damage and contamination. Those breaks can cause just as much of a headache in a high rise as it can in a residential situation.


It’s not just flooding that can cause issues. The façade of most high rises is just as susceptible to the elements—especially in Florida where stucco is a popular medium for the façade. Rainwater can hit the façade at a fairly rapid pace and, if the water has any place to get inside the structure, can cause serious damage to both the form and functional structures of the building.

Also, most high rises have flat roofs, which mean that without drainage that they’ll collect water. Some buildings have holes along the side of the roof deck, which water will pour out of. Not many will, mainly because doing so can allow the foundation or walls to get too wet, leading to other problems. Others have gutters or other drainage systems that will move the water to where it’s safe. If this clogs or otherwise breaks, the water can infiltrate and create major issues, just like a water pipe burst.

And, of course, there are hurricanes and freak accidents which can affect high rises more than residential homes due to their surface area. Debris and flooding are big risks, as is water infiltration because the water is being blown harder in one of these freak storms.

If you or your high rise are suffering problems with water of any kind (not just the ones listed here), be sure to give us a call. We can provide you with an end-to-end solution, from the plumbing to any resulting water damage. Call us for a quote!