Procrastination and Water Leaks Don’t Mix

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It may be human nature to ignore problems and hope they go away. However, that’s not an intelligent course of action. We should never ignore warning lights, alarms, or pain. And, when a water blister forms on an enamel-painted ceiling, something terrible will happen.  

An apartment tenant observed a small water blister or water bubble begin to form on the bathroom ceiling on a Wednesday. He informed his landlord by voice message and an email with an attached photo. The landlord’s response was, “I’ll look into it.”

Thursday, the water bubble doubled in size. There had been no action from the landlord. A second urgent call was sent to the building owner. It went unheeded. The tenant waited for a response.

In the late afternoon on Friday, the water bubble broke, causing a portion of the water-saturated sheetrock and insulation from the ceiling to collapse onto the bathroom vanity and floor below. The landlord was now forced to act and was stuck paying emergency service fees to repair the damage.

 How Should This Issue Have Been Addressed?

The first step is to gather information to be able to make an evaluation and an educated plan. The tenant provided an excellent photo to the landlord. Visible water damage on a ceiling tells us the water source is from above. You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure that out. Unfortunately, the owner did not act. There was no educated plan.

In our example, the water source was a pin-hole leak in a clean water supply line leading to the toilet in the bathroom directly above. The Plumber made a small opening in the sheetrock to inspect the copper waterline, locate the leak and then do a solder repair. (melted metal to plug the hole.)

What Should the Educated Plan Have Been?

Action needed to occur on the first day or the morning of the second day at the latest. A plumber should have been dispatched to the above unit to locate and stop the leak, turn off the water, and make the repair. If done on the first day, there would have been less damage to repair.

The building owner would have avoided emergency service fees and significantly reduced the inconvenience and stress to the tenants in both units, especially to the tenant that became the victim of the collapsed section of the ceiling. There would have been less mess to clean up. An experienced professional would have coordinated the mitigation and repair process in an orderly process between both units during regular working hours:

  • Following the containment of the water leak, the damp sheetrock and insulation would be removed. Straight cuts to ensure quality replacement results
  • A canister vacuum would have been used to prevent insulation and other debris from falling over the tenants’ contents (containing mess instead of cleaning up the mess.)
  • The ceiling cavity would have been prepared for drying.
  • Final repairs at both units would be made to replace the sheetrock and to match the plaster texture and paint (fewer trip charges)

The Lesson of this Story is Simple.

Don’t procrastinate during the first sign of property damage. Property damage quickly goes from bad to worse. Worse = more mess, more stress, and more money.  

When ethical contractors recommend a course of action, their motivation is about something other than making more money. It’s about sharing an educated plan concerning the best approach for the circumstances. They have seen the results of too many poor decisions and procrastination. If you ever require information about a property repair problem, the Approved Contractors 123HELP APP will answer your questions and offer experienced advice through a phone conversation or during an onsite visit. Their goal is to do what’s right for you.