Rainwater has this singular , consuming obsession to penetrated every minute crack and crevice available within its reach. It would not be half as bad if it stopped there. No way. It insists on combining or reacting chemically with every material, it comes into contact with, becoming acidic or alkaline in nature, and uses this very acquired corrosive attribute, to eat its way further into the cracks.

Sooner than suspected, it creates channels where none existed and now proclaims its triumph, by causing an unsightly damp patch in your bathroom or heartlessly invades an embarrassingly conspicuous spot in your living room, for all to see comment on, much to your chagrin.

That is not the end of the story either. If left unattended, it will weaken everything it comes into contact with, causing paints to blister and peel off, plaster to loosen and fall away and whole structures to weaken and collapse.

This dreadful and menacing course of evens can be prevented or checked by practical, effective, timely maintenance. This can be categorised into three main areas of care.

A) THE ROOF /TERRACE OF THE BUILDING The roof/terrace overhead is the prime origin of many a leakage story. This tragic tale would never have seen the light of day if the roof/terrace was inspected, well before the monsoons for any cracks, broken flooring, peeled off plaster, deterioration of the waterproofing/ tar coating, unwanted dumped debris, improper slopes etc., and prompt remedial action was taken.

Sealing of Cracks Agencies in Pune such as Jaison Engineers, Arkey Engineers, Razdan Trading undertake the job of sealing cracks and waterproofing terraces. Use their services if the situation so demands. If the waterproofing is done with tar/bitumen, it normally carries a 10-year guarantee from the date of completion. It is a specialist’s job, and so best attended to by one.

Removal of dumped material you’ll be amazed at the type and quantity of debris and waste material that can collect on the terrace with time. This accumulation often obstructs free flow of water into the Rain-Water pipes and causes puddles to form, which in turn, encourages seeping and leakage. Don’t invite trouble. Get the terrace cleared of debris and henceforth ensure regular cleaning of the terrace.

When installing AC outdoor units, antenna supports on terrace slab, ensure proper waterproofing is done around the foundation bolts.

Check for loose mountings Inspect hoardings, aerials and any other installations that could come loose with strong winds and cause damage to life and property.

Clear the drainage system Free the entire drainage system of the terrace of any obstructing waste, right from the entry of water at the bell mouth to the down-take pipe and its discharge outlet at ground level.

This can be accomplished by using long, slender bamboo poles to clear any blockage. Tapping the pipes with a wooden mallet may, surprisingly, yield the same results sometimes.

B) THE VICINITY OF THE BUILDING Proper drainage of rainwater will avoid it from collecting in the vicinity of the building and flooding the garages, lift shaft, meter room etc.

Clear side drains of any obstructions to enable quick and easy drainage of surface water. Replace broken cast iron grating with new ones for safety.

Bunding at appropriate places could prove useful to divert the flow of storm water away from the building.

If any repair or construction work is undertaken in the adjoining area/ compound of the building, slope the area away from the building to facilitate proper drainage of surface water to check the formation of puddles.

C) THE INTERIOR OF THE BUILDING You can take a number of useful precautions to prevent rainwater from percolating into the walls and floors of your household and the neighbourhoods.

First and foremost, check the balcony spouts for any clogging. Dust, dirt and soil washed out from flower-pots tends to collect in them over a period of time. Clear them with a suitable, flexible rod. This will assist quick drainage of rainwater from the balcony, preventing it from seeping into the floor and earning you the acrimony of the neighbours staying below.

Another good idea is to get the society to extend all balcony spouts with a length of plastic tubing fitted over the existing one. This will enable the water from the balconies to fall directly to the ground below, without splashing and spoiling the exterior walls of the building.

Fix all damaged/ broken window panels and ensure that all accessories like stoppers, peg stays, hinges etc. are functional. No use having a window that wont stay open or shut as desired, nor serve as any protection against the elements.

M-Seal/ Mastic/ Putty / Rubber sealant come in very handy to plug any gaps between the walls and the window frames, otherwise resulting in wet patches on the inner walls. n Holes in the bottom channel of your sliding window frames should be clear to direct the flow of rainwater outwards.

A small ‘Tullu’ pump, ready to operate in case of an emergency when sub-soil water rises above the basement floor level will prove to be a wise and farsighted investment.

Remember, rainwater is not the sole cause of leakages. Leakages can also occur due to the forgetfulness of some occupants to turn off all taps when they are away, leading to the overflow of water from kitchen sinks, wash basins, bath/ toilets into the adjoining rooms. This not only damages the house concerned but is very unfair to the neighbours staying below as water collected may seep into the flooring and cause leakages to occur in flats that are on a lower level. The idea is to love the neighbours, not flood them!

So the next time when your family is going on a picnic or along vacation, remember to turn off all the taps, switch off the mains and secure all balcony windows/ doors before leaving.

Your neighbours in turn, will love you for your thoughtfulness.

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