How freezing water affects your building

Winter weather can create a wide range of challenges for commercial building maintenance, whether the water in question is falling from the sky in some frozen form or coming from a frozen pipe in your building. Here are a couple of ways freezing water can impact your building and how to prevent them.

Weathering of exterior surfaces from freezing and thawing

Any exterior surface of your building can be subject to damage from freezing and thawing. Exterior building materials are porous, which means water can seep into the surface and into cracks that occur over time. As the water freezes, it expands and puts additional stress on the material, whether it’s concrete or limestone or stucco.

Even just one winter of freezing and thawing temperatures can damage the exterior of your building. However, there are a number of products available to help waterproof the exterior surface and prevent moisture from seeping in and freezing. The specific type of waterproofing or sealer needed will vary based on the materials and age of your building, so work with a qualified professional to evaluate your building and make recommendations.

Frozen pipes and related leaks

When water freezes in a pipe, it exerts thousands of pounds of pressure per square inch, which quickly results in a pipe that bursts. And when that happens, it can release hundreds of thousands of gallons of water and cause thousands of dollars in damage to your building interior and exterior.

Pipes most at risk for freezing are those in unheated parts of a building, in the outside walls of the structure, or any that run outside the building. During winter, additional maintenance checks of all pipes are a good idea to spot any signs of problems before they begin.

Look for patches of ice where no other ice has formed, which could indicate an underground water leak. Also inspect any exterior faucets or exposed pipes for signs of freezing. If there are exposed pipes, consider adding insulation to prevent them from freezing and damaging your building.

By regularly inspecting your building and dealing with any minor issues, you can prevent significant damage from freezing water.

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