Inspecting A Home For Water Damage
A home is not only a dwelling but also an investment, for both the buyer and the seller. Therefore, no matter if you are a buyer or a seller, it is pertinent to know and recognize water damage and its various signs.
Other than aesthetically spoiling your house due to mold and fungi, water can also permanently damage any structure such as doors, windows, and paneling. Water damage is mostly caused by floods, leaks, ice dams, overflowing water reservoirs, and broken appliances.
Although water damage can be everywhere in a house, certain high-risk areas are more prone to water damage. Water damage is one of the most costly restorations and maintenance issues to deal with.
This puts the owners in loss due to increased maintenance costs, yet a decreased property value. In addition to this, the quality of the indoor air also spoils. The longer it is left unchecked, the more damage it causes, and the more areas it strikes.
One way to make sure this problem doesn’t get out of hand is to deal with these issues as you find them. Try getting rid of any moisture or water, pinpoint the exact location, and make the necessary repairs at once.
Although this isn’t always a very straightforward procedure all the time, it is crucial to track it down. The water usually goes around and along with the components of the structure.
Due to this, the signs of the leak may appear in one place, whereas the origin of the leak may be somewhere else. During such a scenario, getting help from a professional plumber is always recommended for proper tracking and repair.
The primary purpose of a house inspection is that it brings peace of mind to the owner, that every angle and aspect of the house is looked at with accuracy and detail.
A proper inspection by a professional is the best way to go, and an adequate report highlighting the areas of concern as well as unmaintained areas will be highlighted.
After a flood, a water damage inspection is essential to judge the level of the damage to your home. This isn’t only important to you as the homeowner but also to their insurance company.
Therefore, when floods cause extensive damage, the owner needs to employ the services of a professional water damage inspector to help and testify in the claims.
This is because water damage by flooding is one of the most significant insurance claims cases, and can be very helpful in repairs if facts and inspections are done correctly by someone who is trained to assess the extent of required repairs accurately.
Other issues that commonly lead to water damage are faulty plumbing, roofing leaks, inadequate irrigation, and rainwater management. They give rise to a myriad of repair, remodeling, and reconstruction efforts, as well as resources.
One of the most significant issues, when a buyer buys a house, is actually water disbursement. This is because such a problem in any home means that there is potential to damage the foundation of the house.
Houses near water bodies face similar problems, and smart construction plays a huge role in saving the home from water damage. External water damage is relatively easy to make out and can be done visually. But the water damage to inner walls is much trickier and can be much more challenging to detect.
While buying a house, a professional should accompany you and even use professional equipment such as infrared cameras and the like to inspect water beneath the surface of a home.
Such areas also include spouts and gutters that they must function correctly. Otherwise, it makes water the biggest enemy of your home.
Not all cases of water damage are detectable to the naked eye.
This is one of the primary reasons why most experts advise property owners as well as potential buyers to seek either professional help.
A professional will determine whether their home has been water damaged or have some proper guidance as to how one can check for damage on their own.
For people who are deciding to purchase, some key points and information can be very beneficial when looking for a potential dwelling.
In a broader sense, there are two kinds of inspections that are usually done. One is structural water damage, and the other one is interior water damage inspection.
In structural water damage, an examination is started on the outside and eventually proceeds to the inside. Any kind of damage, or potential damage site, that will allow water to enter the structure in any way, or lead in any moisture, such as holes or cracks.
It is always imperative to have a photo and video record for any insurance claims, repair loans, etc. and as well as future records.
The second type is the interior water damage inspection. When it comes to the interior of the home, it’s better to start the inspections from the top of the house and make way to the bottom.
Starting from the top means starting from the attic, where it is checked for wet ceilings, cracked floor, damp insulation, and faulty ductwork.
The next step is to check the rooms throughout, such as for damaged drywall and ceilings, stained wood, warped and termite-infested wood, bubbly or cracked windows, and doors that get stuck while closing.
Similarly, in the bathroom and kitchen, all fixtures like bathtubs, toilets, sinks, and tiles are thoroughly checked. Moreover, in the basement, any pooling water, cracked walls, peeling floors, as well as moldy and staining carpets, are also inspected.
Additionally, the inspector will also check the chimney for cracks or other damage and ensure the gutters are in good condition. For exterior walls, they will inspect for collapses, broken windows, and signs of exterior leakings, such as water entry through the foundation.
The walls are the place where it is easiest to check any signs of water damage is the walls as well as the ceilings. Similarly, the same check can also be performed around windows as well as door frames.
Furthermore, dark spots, peeling paint, and stains should be kept in check as they are easily the signs of a leaky pipe or a faulty drain inside the wall.
Look for swollen walls as well. Touch these spots to make sure they are water damaged. Such places are usually soft to touch. Also, cracks in drywalls are a substantial tell-tale sign of water damage.
Checking the flooring as well as the subfloor, is a sure-fire way to catch any damage due to water.
Any kind of buckling or warping on the floors is also a sign of severe water damage. Any light or dark stains, especially on wooden flooring, are warning signs of water damage.
Even a general smell of dampness in carpets or rugs is a foolproof indicator of water damage.
When a house has been hit by water damage, there are usually two things that happen. In hot, humid places, wooden furniture, door frames, and window sills are hit by an infestation of termites, since termites thrive in damp conditions.
If not a termite infestation, the wooden items around the house, especially furniture that has been put against walls, start to blacken and decolorize. Both of these are sure-fire signs of water damage around the house, especially in walls.
Unexpected Water Bills
Any sudden, as well as significant changes in the water bill, is a sure red flag for water damage and water leaks, especially if the way the water is being used has not changed much on the property.
There may be no physical signs of water damage, and in this case, the increase in water bills is a sure-fire way to know there is a water leak somewhere.
Along with the damage as well as aesthetically spoiling the outlook of a structure, mold also grows in ducts and attics due to water damage.
Now, these are the areas that usually don’t have easy access or aren’t readily visible to the naked eye. Here, you must use your sense of smell for a musty odor.
In addition to water damage, this can also cause serious health issues. For smaller areas, use commercial cleaners and soaps, for non-porous surfaces.
After dealing with the mold, you have to indicate and find the proper point of water damage and deal with it quickly to avoid further growth of mold in the future.
Inspect all the piping in the house, such as the laundry, basement, lawns, bathrooms, as well as the kitchen for corrosion near the connections.
Also, check-in and around the pipes for stains and bubbly walls. A similar inspection can be done around the caulking for water damage. The loose or missing caulking is a sign of water damage. Missing grouts points to the same.
The most common problem in most houses is the leakage in the basement. Basement leakage causes extensive damage to most structural components such as the boards, walls, flooring as well as the furniture.
It also gives rise to mildew as well as odor, which is not only unpleasant and unseemly but also a significant health hazard. Inspecting the basement for stains, rust, dampness, odors, and molds is a way to check for water damage.
Roofs and Gutters
There should be a professional inspection of the flows as well as the roof at least once in three years. Also, you need to check for water damage from the ground for broken and missing shingles or damaged flashing.
A roof that isn’t maintained correctly can be a significant cause of leaks and also cause more damage to the house in addition to water damage.
Roofs that do not have drip edges or drip caps, it is advisable to have it added. This will keep the water away from the decks and flow directly into a gutter.
Additionally, keeping gutters and drains well organized, clean, and clear, is also a way to prevent the water from seeping into your roofs and foundations, as well as the basements.
Also, make sure to position gutters in such a way that they downspout the rainwater directly away from your home. It’s always a good idea to keep the gutters and drains slightly lower than the ground foundations.
This way, the water flows directly into the drain, and there is less chance of accumulation. Similarly, having drain covers with small holes is always better so that any extra water can quickly drain out rather than stay put.
The attic is usually a magnet for water damage. Here too, check for stains, mold, and other signs of leaks.
Special attention must be paid to the points where two roof planes come together as well as the flashing on the locations where the roofs meet the walls and similarly the flashing around the chimneys.
Also, inspect the insulation to make sure that it is well maintained and in good condition, as is dry. Avoid having ice dams on roofs if you reside in a frigid temperature zone.
This is because an ice dam can cause water to leak into the roof after It starts melting. The attic is usually the first victim to get affected by ice dams since it is the first place of the house.
If left unattended, the entire attic may get damaged, and especially if your attic has wooden shingles and boards, there is even the danger of collapse.
Inspect the exterior of your home. The best way to prevent it is to caulk the gaps in the entry and exit points of ventilation. Any cracked or spoilt mortar joints should also be repaired at once.
Also, make sure that any roots from trees, bushes, and shrubs should not be very near to the foundation of the house, and cause water to get into the foundation. Some shrubbery may need to be removed due to this problem.
Similarly, these roots can also block drains and damage pipes hence causing leaks near sewers and drains in the home. Always keep greenbelts and shrubbery in a place that water is directly taken away from the house, and not towards it.
Damaged and missing flashing, cracked and curled shingles, puddles around the house, leaky gutters are also a sign of a problem.
Always prefer to keep the house at the highest possible point in the property, with a possible slope away from the house. Decolorized skirting boards inside or outside a home are also a sure-fire way of increased moisture levels.
This kind of moisture level typically indicates that damp is rising from the earth below. Avoid planting grass right around the house, as grass tends to keep the ground damp and can cause moisture damage to the exterior, and seep into the surface of the house as well.
So now that we have pinpointed our water damage in the house, then it turns to prevent the water damage. Therefore, there is a need to inspect attic ventilation, and insulation closes the gaps that allow warm and moist air into the attics.
This usually occurs around the access doors and light fixtures. Warm air collection in the attic leads to the formations of ice dams, which cause water to leak into the roof once they start melting. This can cause water damage.
Any sump pumps around the house should be inspected several times in a year. Always keep an eye on the pressure gauge, since very high pressure, greater than 70 pounds per square inch (psi), can cause bursting of pipes as well as leaks.
Always keep inspecting the tiles and grouts around showers and tubs and never delay any necessary repairs. Always keep exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens to draw out any additional moisture and condensation. And know how to operate the water shut off valve so that in any emergencies, water can be turned off quickly.
Water damage is a nuisance that can wreak havoc with your property. It is often a sleeper problem, meaning that it mostly manifests only when things have gotten out of hand, and damage has been done.
Due to this, it is imperative always to be vigilant about the water damage signs. Always inspect the home according to the said tips above.
Moreover, always remember to keep a water damage rule in your insurance policy since usually, water damage by floods is covered, and the rest of the water damage is not.
Whether you are constructing a new home, you are a potential buyer, always keep an eye on the ground level of the house, as well as the kind of elevation your structure will have. This helps in managing and keeping away water during heavy rains and floods.
Water damage can create significant destruction and loss to a residence or business. A home or business can encounter flooding in a matter of seconds, causing damage to a building’s structure and its contents.
Yet you can rest assured that Black Tie Carpet Care, Conroe’s carpet cleaning experts, will be there to help you pick up the pieces and restore your residence or business after disaster strikes.