Water seepage! If there is one constant I had to deal with in every flats I lived in since moving to India, that would be this one.
Simply put you can’t avoid it, you can move to a nice modern higher end building and you will still end up or having to deal with a fresh leak or see traces left by old ones behind. Old or new the building WILL leak, some more badly or frequently than other, but this is the one thing you can’t really escape, which is rather funny because for a country where rain only comes during one specific season, constructions seem far more affected than the ones in Switzerland were rain is an all year occurrence thing, and while in Switzerland it’s older buildings that tend to suffer from that ill, it’s the exact opposite in India, the older the building I lived in was the less leaks I had to deal with, move into a fancy less than 5 years old apartment building and you are sure to be dealing with big ones. The reason being that developers in their quest to make a quick buck are just about ready to cut cost and everything down to the quality of the materials used to build the whole thing.
The current building in which we are staying is 10 years old, so not super old, but still built at a time were developers had humans in mind when they built apartment buildings, which is why our place is significantly bigger than what is being build now.
The problem is that 10 years of age is enough for a building to start showing signs of ageing. And normally that is when the society cooperative should kick in and maintain the property, which has been done to some fair extent recently with the management commissioning a big external walls fixing and repainting. Our building looks all new and spiffy with it’s new colours on, the problem is that the plumbing inside the walls is still the original and pretty much left alone.
When we visited the flat last December, one of the bedroom had signs of an old long ago dried out leak, so did the utility area, but as I said these are just so common in house in India that we didn’t let it stop us from liking the place (it was the nicest of all the places we visited anyway).
Fast forward to 3 weeks ago when I posted this on a wall in my living room :
The picture is not really doing it justice, sorry about that. But that leak is on a tiny narrow wall by the side of the balcony door. My first thought was that the AC pipes were leaking, but we haven’t even used that AC once, and the leak appears only on that side of the wall and not the other, the other puzzling factor is that this is a wall where no water pipes are encased in, yet the wall is massively damp to the touch suggesting a steady flow of water seeping in, and until recently it was gaining abut an inch a day. For days we asked neighbours if they changed plumbing in their homes or noticed the seepage in their flat, we are on the 3rd floor and nobody above have noticed a leak in their own flats in the same place, however they all reported crazy leaks in the past few weeks in their bathrooms or some bedrooms, so turns out we aren’t the only one plagued by leaks we can’t even figure out the source of.
We approached the society manager with the problem, he whined that he was fed up hearing the same type of complaints from everybody in the building and refused to investigate. So pissed off I did try to trace the leak, more or less unsuccessfully I must admit, my only leads were a few sudden big bulging blisters in the external wall paint job completed a few months ago. So much so that it could be totally possible that a draining pipe is faulty somewhere and the water has been leaking in a crack where nobody can see it for months, and thanks to the waterproof paint the water stayed trapped inside the wall forced to find it’s way through every possible creases and crack and seeped out where it could, anywhere it could.
Acrylic paint suddenly blistering away from the wall it was supposed to adhere to only means one thing: water got in. So if water piled up there and could not escape that meant it had to slowly build up and escape somewhere else: my living room wall. So I took a nice pointy knife and cut all the blisters I could reach on the external wall, immediately getting heaps of water out. The instant result? The leak inside my wall stopped growing an inch a day, on day 3 it started slowly drying out at the bottom, and I now have hopes that most of it will be gone within a few weeks since the burst blisters also just stopped dripping 2 days ago.
meanwhile my landlord got informed of the leak and sent the pictures I took of the extent of the leak, and announced to us at the start of the week that he complained to the society cooperative, whether his voice was louder than the others or not I have no idea, right now I am still keeping an eye on that seepage which hasn’t started to grow mold, thankfully, but is starting to look like a “Grow your own crystals” experiment.
Less damp is definitely an improvement in my book, even if the process from less damp to completely dry could take weeks. No one has offered to have a look at the problem or taken care to speed up the drying out process, making me far from feeling guilty from peeling away acrylic paint blisters off a newly repainted wall. If the society management wants to ignore resident’s reports and complaints then they should not even think of coming to complain about what residents are forced to do to protect their belongings and their health.
This has been the one thing that has been keeping me somewhat alert during this heat…now if you excuse me, back to just lying down and waiting for the monsoon to strike (hopefully leaving my wall alone)