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Most Common Signs of Water Damage In Homes and What You Can Do

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Water is a highly destructive substance.  Water damage is the cause of canyons and gorges, erosion of coastlines, deterioration of everything from oil platforms to automobiles. With pressure, water can crack apart stones that were created billions of years ago or dissolve marble statues that were carved in the Renaissance. Water is also one of the most important ingredients for the recipe of life, and is one of the main reasons human civilization has advanced as far as it has. Over 50% of the world’s population lives within less than two miles of a body of freshwater. Whether it is a river, coastline, lake, or stream, people need water and will find themselves close to it. So, it stands to reason that people and water will eventually find each other in catastrophe. Either through major flooding, or something as simple as a leaky pipe.

When things go bad with water, you have to find the source and fix it or else you are going to have problems. Water can break down the infrastructure of your house or business. It can propagate mold, warp trusses and studs, and even crack foundations over time. It may be destructive, but that doesn’t mean we are in a losing battle. The key to winning is early detection and remediation.

Most Common Areas Water Damage Is Found in Homes

It’s a good thing that water damage is not without its obvious signs. Here are a few areas to check for if you suspect water damage in your home.

  • Ceilings: Either leaky roofs or water lines running through the upper levels of your home can create water spots in the ceiling. These areas may begin as amorphous, discolored areas in ceiling tiles or seeping through the paint. You might even hear the telltale sound of dripping after heavy rainfall, or if someone has recently used an upstairs bath or shower.
  • Door casings: Water tends to follow the path of least resistance to its lowest point, with gravity pulling it along the way. That is why door casings are common indications of water damage, since the shape of the doorframe will often catch and divert water along its shape, like a trough.
  • Wallpaper/walls: Wallpaper is a good indication of a leak because it will often bubble out or peel away from the walls when it becomes damp. It may even blister out, holding a quantity of water inside, which you can even poke with something sharp and drain out.  Walls might show signs of water damage by buckling out or sagging, as the materials inside become saturated with moisture and begin to distend and warp. Once again, walls are a pathway that water will travel along on its journey of the highest point in the home to the lowest.
  • Trim/Baseboards: Being the lowest point of the wall, trim and baseboards will often swell and warp, sometimes taking on a squishy texture as they become saturated. Trim and baseboards are the part of the walls exposed to water the most during flooding and often take the longest to dry out.
  • Flooring: Plywood subflooring and even hardwood flooring can indicate a leak. Either through warping, nails that suddenly squeak when you walk across an area, or even by discoloration, floors are at the low point of every room and will often be a place where water pools from higher levels. Wet carpet is perhaps the most obvious indication of flooding.
  • Foundation spalling: Concrete flaking and crumbling away on the interior side of your basement walls might be a sign of water seeping into the area, especially after a flood. Water stains that resemble a bathtub ring might also be an indication of regular flooding and submersion of your basement.

Commons Signs 

Here are some of the more common areas and their telltale signs that there is water damage:

  • At First Sight: Areas that are discolored, stained, or feature a bathtub ring-like appearance.
  • Odor: The most common signs of water damage are  or even carry a musty or mildew smell. The odor can be attributed to mold and other organisms which have set up camp in the wood, fabric, and even wallpaper itself. 
  • Floors, walls, and baseboards:  Flaking paint, blistering, and warping.
  • Wood or drywall: May become soft and deteriorate. Damaged wood may even sag or warp. Drywall will crumble or pucker out in places.
  • Insects: Flies, gnats, and even water-loving bugs will often take residence in decaying organic material due to water damage.
  • Showers and bathrooms: The most common places to see water damage, especially if there is poor ventilation and drainage. Look for areas in vinyl flooring which show gaps between fixtures such as toilets and vanities. 
  • Black mold: Often seen on the surfaces of tile and fixtures. Black mold could be an indication of water damage as well. You might even experience headaches, nosebleeds, difficulty in breathing, or skin irritation such as hives with large concentrations of mold spores.

What Should You Do?

It is best to catch water damage early, since extensive damage can result in needing to remove damaged material and renovate your home. At the very least, flooding, leaks, and damage from continual water damage needs to be addressed. Caught at an early stage, you can clean and dry out the area, using a cleaning solution that kills mold, and discard any items that are damaged or impossible to clean up. Make sure the area remains dry and repeat cleanings if possible. Hiring a professional, such as Strongwater Restoration gives you more options as far as damage control, proper remediation, and getting the job done as quickly and safely as possible.

Contact us if you suspect water damage in your home. Cleanup can be costly and time consuming if done incorrectly. Our staff of trained professionals has tackled everything from post-flood remediation, black mold cleanup, and even catastrophic flooding caused by broken sewer and water lines. We have the equipment and know-how to get the job done right the first time.

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