Eliminate water problems in your home by knowing the warning signs of water intrusion, what…
If you live in North Carolina, we’re sure you are aware of the recent storm that pummeled our state. Thankfully, the local residents of Raleigh and the surrounding areas did not receive as much rain as other areas of our state did. However, it is still important to make sure that the continuous rain did not create any flooding and subsequent water damage within your home. Water damage, unfortunately, occurs more frequently than most individuals think. In fact, property damage resulting from water and leaks is the third most common cause of homeowner property loss. So, here’s a few signs that you have water damage in your home or basement and some tips on how to restore it.
Signs Your Home Has Water DamageWater damage can come in the form of various textures, colors, and smells. Sometimes it can be easy to spot, while other times it can go unnoticed. Obviously, some locations make it easier to notice than others. Water damage on the ceiling would be much easier to spot from the blatant discoloration than in your basement. That is why it’s important to consider all of the following aspects when examining your house for water damage.
Water AccumulationIf you have an accumulation of water in or around the exterior of your home, this is an obvious sign of water damage. Puddles of water could indicate flooding, malfunctioning appliances, a leaking roof, drainage pipe issues, and more.
DiscolorationAnother obvious sign of water damage is discoloration. With ceilings and walls especially, water damage generally results in discolored, wet, dark spots and stains. Often times, the damaged area looks yellow, brown, or copper in color and the paint or wallpaper on the wall may appear to be cracking, bubbling, or peeling.
OdorOdors that result from the formation of mold and mildew are also prime indicators of water damage. When water damage is not dealt with within a reasonable amount of time, usually mold will form. Mold not only eventually results in a distinct, detectable odor, but also visual discoloration. Areas with low air circulation where moisture from water is allowed to accumulate create the prime environment for mold to develop.
Changes in Your FlooringIt’s a little more difficult to spot water damage in flooring, since discoloration is a less common indicator than on ceilings and walls. However, any of the following changes in your flooring are indicators of water damage beneath your floorboards:
- Warping: Gaps between floorboards, curling at the edges of floorboards, bumps in flooring
- Sagging or Sinking: Soft spots in flooring that feel spongy in comparison to normal wood, areas in wood that seem to cave in
- Expansion: Wood or flooring appears expanded, as they absorb lots of water
How to Restore Your Home from Water DamageWhile serious cases of water damage require professional help, you can often handle minimal water damage from leaks and flooding yourself. Here’s some tips on how to restore your home from minimal water damage.
Dry Out the Affected AreaAfter identifying the problematic area, it’s important to thoroughly rid the area of all moisture before any further damage is caused. Do this by using several fans to circulate air within the affected area. For best results, use a large-capacity dehumidifier as well. If you don’t have one, don’t worry; many companies offer rentals. Thoroughly drying out the affected area is key to minimizing the damage, so make sure there is hardly any moisture left when you’re done.
Remove Mold and MildewIn the water damaged area, thoroughly inspect for mold and mildew. Be sure to wear a face mask while doing so. If you do find mold, be extremely carefully, since some forms of mold are toxic to humans. Small mold issues can be handled by cutting out the moldy material, securely bagging it, and immediately throwing it away. However, if the mold issue is worse than expected and serious, turn off all airflow to avoid spore contamination, evacuate the area, and immediately call a professional. For most mold cases, it is highly recommended to contact a professional for mold remediation since mold is damaging to both humans and any material it infests.
Remove Damaged Porous MaterialsPorous materials are items that act as a sponge when coming in contact with water. Examples of such materials are carpet, insulation, rugs, fabric, wood, and other similar items. If any of these items have been soaked in water, even partially, remove these items from the area and dispose of them. You can try thoroughly drying these items out, but it is best to simply be safe and dispose of them. The time in water may have caused mildew to form, and water typically permanently destroys porous items.
Disinfect All Remaining Items in the Affected AreaAfter the area is thoroughly dried out and damaged items have been removed, disinfect the entire affected area and all items within it. Use a bleach solution or any of the numerous homemade options available. This is an important step to take, as it eliminates any lingering bacteria or mold spores.
Replace Any Damaged MaterialsDamaged flooring or materials affected by mold or mildew problems inevitably need to be replaced. After removing the damaged materials, be sure to thoroughly clean underneath and remove all moisture before replacing them.
What if the Water Damage Is More Severe?If when inspecting the water damage within your home you discover that it may be more severe than expected, or the flooding is beyond what these suggested tips can repair, your best option is to seek help from a professional. The formation of mold can be extremely harmful and replacing damaged materials may require professional assistance if it is an important structural component of your home. A professional can ensure that no mold is left in the area, properly replace any damaged materials, identify and repair any leaks, and all other tasks necessary to completely solve the issue. Utilizing helpful disaster relief resources is also another wise option.
Helpful Links for Severe Flooding or Water Damage Caused by a Natural DisasterFor situations that are disasters or total losses, there are organizations that can provide recovery assistance.
- American Red Cross Disaster Relief
- American Red Cross Flood Relief
- Disaster Relief Resources
- FEMA Disaster Assistance