Water damage can be very expensive to repair and can lead to dangerous health hazards if the damaged property is not restored to its original condition. Typically when serious conversations with homeowners are discussed regarding water damage they revolve around issues like flooding and hurricanes.
While hurricanes and flooding do deserve attention, they are not the only source of water damage to a home. If you are looking for a home for future purchase, recently purchased your home, or want to know if the home you have owned for a long time is a victim of water damage, there are several indicators to look for.
Examining your home for significant historical damage can be difficult in some ways because a previous home owner may have taken steps to remove the evidence on a superficial scale. If there has been water damage on a large scale the most obvious replacements are going to be a replacement of carpet and freshly painted walls. The problem is that these two repairs, in and of themselves, are not indicative of water damage. There are a lot of rental agencies and homeowners who replace these items or do these repairs in the normal course of business. Any real examination is going to require intense scrutiny unless the cover up was poorly executed.
Assessing the foundation of your home for flooding can be done in a few different ways. One trail of evidence that may be a good indicator is a review of the public records at the permit office in the city headquarters. Contact the agency and see if there were any permits pulled for work on your home after the initial building permit for construction. If there are numerous permits, they can be examined for repairs consistent with flood damage repairs.
Any permits will also identify the company that performed the repairs providing a contact for researching the repairs further. The official public records at the courthouse also provide a database for any Notice of Commencements that were recorded for construction on your home. While normal thinking would imply that if there is a permit there is also a Notice of Commencement, this is not always the case. Builders make mistakes while others just disobey the rules. Beyond the public records search, your home can tell the tale of flooding.
When there is true flooding in your home that leads to extensive water damage, the top soil around the footers of your home may reveal the truth. As the water flows through flooded areas, it erodes the top layer of soil away at the base of your homes foundation. If you see an unusual mix of gravel all around your home where the dirt has washed away and the gutters appear to be working fine, then flooding may have victimized your property.
High lines of water marks more than a few inches above the ground or paint that looks like it is peeling may be further evidence. If everything on the outside of your home is in good order to match the inside of your home, there is one more place to look. By turning off the electric to your home and removing an electrical outlet from the interior wall, you can examine the supporting framework and the inside of the drywall.
When drywall gets wet, it watermarks and loses its staunch consistency. Press lightly at the base of the drywall below the electrical outlet;if the drywall gives too easily, there is a problem. If the interior of the drywall shows any presence of black mold then moisture of some kind has gotten into framework. Mold is very dangerous and should not be taken lightly. Call in a professional if any mold is discovered in your home.
Upper Level Water Damage
Flooding is not the only cause of water damage although some of the same techniques for discovery are applicable. A review of the public records at the courthouse and the permit office are useful tools for identifying any work done in your home. Other water damage may simply be a result of storm water that has found ways into your home.
If you have an attic to inspect, your ability to find water damage from a roof problem is much easier. By entering the crawl space of your attic with a flashlight, you can look for any watermarking in the drywall of the ceiling in the same manner that you checked the drywall behind the electrical outlet. Again, any black mold is a direct indicator of moisture build up. Stormwater or regular rain water can seep in through small crevices that may be difficult to isolate. If the wind blows the rain inside of the shingle underlayment or the rain pools in the convex corners of the roof, it can find a way into the interior of the home. Water is pervasive, corrosive, and potentially costly.
Water damage can take a variety of paths to the destruction of your home. While the damage can be fixed superficially, actually repairing water damage can be quite costly. The health and safety of your home’s occupants, your family members, depends on your ability to isolate problems associated with mold. Persistent moisture carries its respiratory risks and should not be ignored either. Consulting a professional or paying for a home inspection may be the best route to successfully identifying the real risks you face.
Professionals have tools that can detect black mold and reduce the risk that you have not looked in all of the right places or incorrectly dismissed a problem that is more serious than you realize. If you truly want to identify water damage or associated problems, it can be done. Regardless if you hire a professional or do it yourself, take the time at least to take a look at what hides behind your walls.
The writer, Ray Donato, is a home owner who strives to make sure his home is always in perfect shape, and is always wary of the dangers of water damage. To help keep his home from having to suffer such damage, he pays a visit to raleighwaterproofinginc.com. If you wish to learn more about Ray you can visit on Google+.