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What COAs should know about water intrusion (part 1): What to watch for

One of the most common construction issues that Florida condo associations face is water intrusion. Left unchecked, leaks can cause extensive damage, and the repairs can be costly.

Warning signs of water

The first step in dealing with these issues is to identify them as soon as possible. Sometimes, leaks are obvious. Water might be visibly seeping from ceilings or windows after a heavy rain.

Other times, however, it's subtler. Groundwater seepage might not come to light until it has already weakened the entire foundation.

That's why condo associations (and their managers and maintenance workers) should know what to watch out for. If you notice any of these warning signs, it's time to investigate:

  • Cracks in the exterior - could indicate foundation problems due to inadequate drainage
  • Water stains - they might appear on the ceiling, walls or exterior
  • Sagging or cracked ceilings - good indicators of a roof leak
  • Warped walls - the drywall may have gotten wet
  • Deteriorating floorboards - could be from water behind the walls or under the flooring
  • Blistering or flaking paint - especially in bathrooms or ceilings
  • Rotting wood - a sign of a serious problem
  • A persistent musty odor - may be the result of stagnant water or lingering dampness
  • Visible mold - typically black patches behind the walls or in bathrooms
  • Chronic headaches or respiratory problems among residents - could be symptoms of harmful mold growth

What causes these issues?

A well-built, well-maintained condo community should not have problems with water intrusion. When issues arise, it's often due to construction defects. Stay tuned for part two of this series, where we'll explore the various types of defects that can contribute to water problems.

In the meantime, if you need guidance on potential defects, be sure to speak with a knowledgeable Florida attorney.

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