When considering a home to buy or rent, or when selling a home, it's important to know the signs of water damage or potential water damage. Water damage from a flood, fire or leak can cause structural problems and lead to the development of mold which presents a health risk to the home's occupants. Continue reading for tips from ServiceMaster Restore professionals on determining if a home has suffered water damage.
START OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOME
When looking for home water damage there are a variety of steps to take. Beginning outside will make it easier to narrow down the cause of home water damage from external sources. Make sure to look out for the following:
- Check to see if the home or structure sits on the highest point of the property, with the ground sloping away from the house. If it doesn’t, water damage to the foundation may occur as water accumulates on the sides of your home and seeps in. Regular inspections by a professional will ensure that your foundation is in good shape and that any issues are addressed.
- Walk around the exterior of the house. Check for downspouts that divert water away from the house and gutters that are intact and properly attached. A minor leak, a clog, or a needed repair could lead to costly damage to your property.
- Look for missing or cracked shingles on your roof. A leaking roof or missing/broken flashing can lead to leakage in the attic, which may lead to ceiling water damage. This roof damage may seem like a minor cosmetic issue, but when storms hit it may become a prime entryway for water into your home.
- Look at all the exterior window or door frames. Is there any separation? Are there soft spots which may indicate window leaks? A small separation could lead to humidity in your house, which may lead to mold. Taking the proper precautions to check each window or door frame regularly will allow you to catch trouble areas before bigger problems evolve.
CHECKING FOR WATER DAMAGE SIGNS INSIDE YOUR HOME
Inside the home, look for the following for signs of water damage:
- Water rings on the ceiling or walls pointing to a leak in the pipes. While rings may be easier to notice, keep an eye out for smaller water stains on the ceiling or walls which are also common. Regularly go through your home and make a note of areas that are close to plumbing. If you're unable to see any water rings or stains but suspect a leak, listen for water leaks within the walls at night when the ambient noise is at its lowest.
- Soft or sagging spots on the floor, especially near the tub, shower, sinks. The spots may also be caused by leaking appliances in need of repair such as dishwashers, washing machines or a water heater.
- Cracked or warped tile, laminate or wood flooring. Water damage happens to all types of flooring and can lead to warping, splitting, or cracking as the water seeps in. While cracked or warped flooring may be easy to notice, you may not notice wet flooring, especially if it's in the corners of the room or in areas of your home that you don't frequent. Go out of your way to regularly inspect these areas and look out for any wet patches in rooms with carpeting, since minor water damage is often difficult to notice there.
- Look in the cabinet under the sink for watermarks, warping and discoloration that may indicate leaking pipes. Damp cabinets or mold are sure signs that there is a leaking pipe nearby. Call a professional as soon as possible to get the issue fixed. This small repair cost may save you larger costs and trouble down the line.
- Pay attention to any apparently new repairs to ceilings, walls and windows. Are there patch jobs? Does there appear to be areas with heavier paint? These "quick fixes" may be hiding water damage spots.
- Check for rust on the hot water heater. These can indicate a previous or current leak and any leak can mean water damage.
- Trust your sense of smell. If there is a mildew or musty smell, it's likely there was water damage and now there may be a potential mold issue that will require mold remediation.
CHECK YOUR ATTIC FOR DAMAGE
The attic is one of the areas in your home that is more likely to have water damage. An older or poorly-maintained roof may lead to damage, which can then lead to leaks during severe weather such as storms. Snow or ice during winter can also accumulate and lead to further damage as it melts. Search for signs of water damage in the attic area, particularly around and near the chimney and roof vents where the roof planes join together and where the roof and the walls meet. If possible, check the insulation, it should be dry and free from mold.
WATER DAMAGE IN THE BASEMENT
Basement water damage happens to many homes and is among the most common problems for homeowners, whether it's from a leaking water heater, a foundation leak or flood damage from a washing machine overflow.
During heavy storms the water may accumulate around your home, causing gradual water damage in your basement. The damage may also be caused by a sudden burst pipe inside or outside of your home, leading to a flooded basement that requires repair. Regularly inspect your appliances, the plumbing, and the connections to ensure that there is no repair needed.
Water damage in the basement can destroy flooring, drywall, furniture and storage items. If the water damage isn't remediated properly, mold is more likely to develop, and a musty odor will permeate the space. Use the checklist above to review your basement, paying close attention to the walls for signs of water stains that could point to an area that is leaking and requires professional help to address.
TRUST THE HOME WATER DAMAGE EXPERTS
If you do discover water damage in your home, rely on the professional water damage remediation teams from ServiceMaster Restore. Our experts are able to assess the damage, create an action plan and fully remediate the damage, restoring your space back to its original condition.