There are two types of water damage that can happen in a home: those that are clearly visible and those that are hidden. Visible water damage is anything that happens on the surface and can be easily detected and remedied. Hidden water damage can go on for weeks or even months without being detected, creating all kinds of problems. Water damage can be the result of anything from a leaky pipe to cracks in the foundation of a home. While most water damage problems are immediately visible, the ones that can stay hidden that create the most issues. These hidden water damage incidents are often the most difficult and expensive to fix. The best way to avoid this kind of damage is scheduling preventative inspections of your home.
Looking for water damage can be challenging for the untrained eye, but once you know what to look for, detecting water damage becomes much easier. The first place to begin checking for water damage is actually the outside of a structure. Property owners should check to see that their gutters are properly maintained and draining water as they are supposed to. Gutters should drain water away from a structure, and rain water should run away from a home. If water is puddling against, or draining towards a home, property owners should consider re-grading their property. Water that seeps under a foundation can cause cracking of the foundation and mold growth. This kind of damage is extremely expensive to repair, so it’s less expensive to do regular preventative maintenance.
Property owners should also take the time to familiarize themselves with their water meter and their monthly bills. If a property owner notices a sudden spike in in their water usage, there is a good chance they have a leak somewhere. If a property owner suspects that they have a leak, they can do a preliminary test to check their suspicions. All they have to do is turn off their water supply and check their meter a few hours apart. If the meter changes, then they will know they have a leak. If a property owner is uncomfortable with this process, or they already determined that there is a leak, a leak detection specialist should be contacted as soon as possible. The longer water is allowed to leak, the more damage it can cause.
The condition of wood and laminate floors can be reliable early indicators of water damage. Discoloration, softness or buckling are all sign of water damage, and should be addressed immediately. Windows and doors often develop weak seals, and should be examined every few months. Resealing a window is far less expensive than remediating water damage.
Carefully monitoring your water bills and keeping an eye out for potentially damaging situations could save you thousands in the long run. This early detection will also help to save you the headache of water damage remediation and the potential health risks it can cause.
Water damage can not only destroy a home — it can also destroy priceless memories. Photos and books are often lost in water damage incidents, and homeowners are left asking if there is anything they can do. The key to saving these items is to act quickly. Photos and books not quickly attended to can become damaged beyond repair. It is recommended that action be taken within 48 hours to prevent mold growth. Professional restoration is always the best option for treating these items, but sometimes it isn’t readily available. Property owners who’ve experienced water damage are often dealing with multiple issues, and may not have the time to give immediate attention to their damaged photos and books. While there is no perfect way to restore these items, there are things property owners can do to help preserve them.
The first thing to do is remove the items from the water and rinse them with clean water. At this point, photos and books can be treated differently. Books should be placed in a ziploc bag, that is not vacuum sealed, in the freezer. The freezer will pull the water out of the book through hydration. This process could take weeks, but it can save your damaged book.
Photos are more difficult to salvage, especially when they are older or are damaged in frames. Photos that are not quickly attended to can become bonded together and difficult to pull apart. If this is the case, homeowners can try to use warm water to dislodge the photos from one another. It is also recommended that homeowners take new photos of any damaged photos that still appear clear, in case they continue to deteriorate in quality. Once photos have been cleaned, they should be placed in plastic bags with waxed paper between them and placed in a freezer. The freezing process will help to remove moisture from them so they can be later laid out to dry completely. If a homeowner does not have access to a freezer, photos should be laid out on a flat surface to dry. Fans and dehumidifiers can be used to aid this process, and they will help to lower the risk of mold growth. Photos should not be dried in the sun because that can deteriorate photo quality rapidly. Some homeowners also place small weights on the corners of photos to help reduce curling in photos.
There’s no guarantee that the damage can be undone, but these steps can help you salvage irreplaceable family photos and books.
While some water damage incidents can be handled by property owners, many require the expertise of a professional. There are no set rules to go by in deciding when to hire a specialist, but there are some simple procedures that should be followed if a property owner is going to attempt water damage remediation on his or her own.
Turn off your electricity. This is particularly important in flooding situations, where the risk of electrocution is significantly increased. Water damage incidents that occur near electrical outlets may also require that the electricity to the property be shut off. It is important not to be standing in water when shutting off the breaker because this greatly increases the risk of electrical shock.
Remove furniture. Materials in furniture vary in their resiliency to water, but they are all susceptible to damage. The sooner furniture and other items are removed from a flooded area, the greater the chance they will be salvageable. Many types of wood are very resilient to water damage, but materials such as particle board can sustain permanent damage very quickly.
Drain water. The longer that water is allowed to sit in a property, the more damage it will do. Water pumps can be bought at most local hardware stores, and have the ability to drain properties in a reasonable amount of time. It is recommended that you get more than one, because these pumps are not nearly as efficient as industrial-grade pumps used by professionals. It’s also important to drain water far enough away from your home so that it will not find its way back in.
Dry the property. This is the most difficult part of DIY water damage restoration, and is where the specialists add the most value. Not properly drying your property could lead to mold and mildew growth, which poses health risks and is expensive to repair. Fans should be brought in to help the drying process, and carpets and pads should be pulled up. Oftentimes, a carpet can feel completely dry, but the pad underneath is still holding moisture. Accurately determining when a property is completely dry is difficult. When trying DIY water damage remediation, overestimating the drying time and the effort required is always in the best interest of the property owner. Underestimating this time could lead to a greater cost than hiring a water damage remediation company at the outset.
Dehumidify. Property owners should constantly be running a dehumidifier during the entire drying process. This machine will help to pull moisture from the environment, helping to lower the risk of mold and mildew growth. Dehumidifiers need to be emptied regularly, and some even come with built-in hoses that drain themselves. Once a dehumidifier fills its holding tank, it can no longer can aid in the drying process.
Treat for mold and mildew. Mold and mildew are often the biggest threats to a property owner during a water damage incident. Property owners should use anti-mold treatment when remediating their properties, and they should also consider having mold testing done by a specialist when the project is completed. Water damage remediation experts have special tools that can detect mold and mildew growth not visible to the eye. These specialists can also help to detect potential problems areas within or around a property.
Water damage remediation is a difficult and extensive process, especially if property owners are attempting to do it themselves. The steps above are just a few of the actions a property owner should take when attempting DIY water damage remediation. It is important to remember that saving money on DIY water damage remediation now could end up costing significantly more in the long run.
It’s rare that property owners need the the services of a water damage remediation company, but when they do, their choice of company can help avoid major problems. Phone books and online searching will show you a varied listing of handymen and general contractors, but few have the experience and training to properly handle serious water damage. While handling a water damage incident may seem fairly straightforward, long-term problems can arise if proper procedures are not followed. Mold and mildew can begin growing in as little as 24 to 48 hours, creating potential health hazards for any occupants. Structural damage and other losses may also occur from incomplete or ineffective drying techniques. Selecting the wrong or least expensive contractor could result in any or all of these issues.
There are two main characteristics property owners should use to evaluate potential water damage remediation companies:
Company specialization — If a contractor specializes only in water damage incidents, they will have a greater understanding of the situation and the potential problems that may exist. Property owners should also check to see if a contractor has any certifications in water damage remediation. The most popular and specialized certification is one done by the IICRC. This certification shows that a contractor is trained specifically for water damage remediation and that they have access to the latest techniques and technologies.
Customer testimonials — Always check a contractor’s online reviews. Online review sites help protect consumers from contractors who are unqualified, unprofessional, or perform low-quality work. These review sites can also help consumers find potential contractors they may not have known about. Taking the extra time to read these reviews could save money and headaches. Contractors can also be evaluated on the length of time they have been in business, considering that companies that have been in business the longest probably have the most experience and are more likely to do high-quality work.
While no contractor evaluation can be perfect, these characteristics will help to narrow the field of potential contractors. Water damage remediation is a complex project, and leaving it to just any contractor could be a costly, damaging mistake.
Roof leaks are no joking matter in a residence. Depending on the part of the country you’re in, adverse weather may or may not be a factor when it comes to water damage in your home during the wetter seasons of the year. But no matter where you may live, proper preparation and maintenance are the keys to minimizing or completely preventing damage from occurring.
This is important because old roofs that get damaged by heavy rains or storms are typically not covered under homeowner’s insurance, even if the water damage portion may be. Making sure that your roof is in great condition can save you, the homeowner, weeks of time and thousands of dollars in the long term. Additionally, roof leaks can also cause mold if the moisture is left sitting around for even a short amount of time. Smaller leaks, or ones that are in less obvious spots, may not be immediately noticed, and mold damage that develops from continuous leaks over time are usually not covered by insurance.
The age of the roof is usually one of the first considerations when damage occurs. For a lot of policies, reimbursements depreciate past a certain age, and for older homes the roof itself may no longer even be covered. Your first reaction may be to check the roof and decide if you want to replace it – but this is usually not the best choice to make, even if your home is pretty old. Roof replacement is costly and time-consuming, and oftentimes an inspection and selective repairs will be sufficient to make the difference.
There are actually many factors that determine how susceptible a roof can be to being damaged.
At the very basic level, the shape of a roof and its positioning are vital towards its longevity. Flat roofs may be attractive but definitely cause more problems than pitched ones, so if you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, snow or hail, this is pretty much a no-go. On the other hand, if you’re in a part of the country where the weather is generally mild or predictable, this may not be such a bad idea.
Other factors include the way the house is facing and the materials used. The side that’s facing the sun most of the day must be stronger than the other so that things don’t break down prematurely. High-quality roofing materials are also preferable. Depending on how you got your home, these sort of considerations may or may not be ones you can do something about, but they can be things to keep in mind should you decide to hire an inspector.
Once the design has been finalized, the actual method of construction becomes crucial in having a strong, long-lasting roof. The materials used go beyond just the shingles that line the roof; the insulation, flashing, and more can all contribute to cheap construction work that becomes a huge, expensive mess later on. If you’re in a position to build your own home, then you probably don’t need us to tell you to look out for the roof – but if you’re buying a home, particularly if it’s as-is, make sure you go through all the inspections before signing any paperwork.
Segments of poorly-constructed roofs can usually be renovated at a fraction of the cost of replacement, provided that the design is sound to begin with.
3. Wear and Tear
Just like anything else, the roof is susceptible to wear and tear from exposure to the elements, moreso than many other parts of your home. Again, a lot of this depends on where you live. For example, if you’re in Arizona, damage from hail is pretty much not going to happen so it can be safely ruled out when picking materials for construction, but the extreme heat necessitates specific types of material such as concrete tile. In other parts of the country, the lack of that heat means the advantages may not outweigh the additional costs involved in preparing a home for a tile roof. Also, while the tile itself is typically more durable than traditional shingles, the materials used beneath are not and require regular replacement every so often.
The specific nature of your roof and the steps required to properly maintain it thus depend not only on your actual location but the numerous decisions that went into the building process. If you’ve been in the house for a while and are not sure if the roof needs any type of work done – step outside and take a look, or check around the house for leaks! Any immediately obvious visual cues should be enough reason to call a roof inspector and have them check everything out before disaster strikes.
With just a little time and money to address various parts of your roof, you can make sure to avoid all the trouble of a leak and having a major water damage scenario on your hands.
This article was provided by Superior Restoration, a Temecula water damage company serving the Inland Empire. Superior provides emergency response for all disasters 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Water damage creates a variety of issues for property owners and often leaves them searching for answers. Questions about the extent of the water damage, the risks it poses, and whether they should consult a professional are among the most common. While no two incidents are exactly the same, many water-damaged properties shared similar characteristics. The following helps answer some of the most common questions.
Q: How long will it take to dry?
A: This depends on the property itself. The location, source of the water, and the type of construction all affect drying rates. Dryness has to be closely monitored and your own initial assessment can be misleading. While your carpet may feel dry, the padding and flooring underneath could still be holding moisture. While every property is different, most can be dried in three to five days.
Q: Does opening the windows help the drying process?
A: Opening the windows can sometimes help, but is not always recommended. Exterior weather conditions are the main determinant of whether or not it is beneficial, and it is often dependent upon the levels of humidity. When in doubt, windows should be left closed.
Q: My attic insulation seems wet. Can I dry it or does it have to be replaced?
A: Most attic insulation is ineffective after becoming wet, and should be replaced. It is very difficult to dry out insulation, and it will hold moisture for a very long time. Fixing any leaks and replacing the insulation is the recommended course of action.
Q: My wood floors are wet — what should I do?
A: Wood floors are difficult to dry without professional equipment, and can begin buckling if they are not properly treated. Wood floors can also warp if drying is not done efficiently. Carefully placed dryers and dehumidifiers can help wood return to its original shape, but nothing is guaranteed. Wood floors can also take significantly longer to dry, sometimes as long as a couple of weeks. Only after the drying process is finished will you be able to determine whether or not your floors will have to be replaced.
Q: How can I salvage my photos if I can’t deal with them immediately?
A: If drying your photos out immediately is not an option, you may be able to freeze them to help prevent further damage. Lightly shake them dry and then put them in freezer bags in your freezer. This is not the optimal way to preserve pictures, but is preferable to throwing them away. Consulting a professional conservator is the only way to increase the likelihood that your photos can be preserved.
Q: Should I turn up the heat to help things dry out?
A: No. Changing the settings or shutting off your system could inhibit the drying process. Only with professional consultation should the system temperature be adjusted.
Q: Do I need to move out of my property during the drying process?
A: The main concern is safety. Depending on the type of water damage, moving out may be the best option. Insurance and water damage remediation companies will be able to advise property owners on a case-by-case basis. The decision is usually that of the homeowners, but there will probably be noisy equipment running constantly and it may not be the best environment for you and your family.
Q: Can my furniture be salvaged?
A: The type of furniture and extent of the water damage will determine if the furniture is salvageable. Completely drying furniture is necessary to assess the extent of the damage, and whether or not it will be salvageable.
Q: Is that smell mold?
A: Many odors may surface during the drying process. The drying materials and increased humidity can create a variety of smells during the drying process. Some property owners become worried because they think it is the smell of mold, but those odors are completely normal. As the property continues to dry, and humidity levels drop back down to normal levels, the odors will dissipate.
Water damage is a threat to all home or property owners, and understanding it is absolutely key to managing its damaging effects. While many property owners may feel safe sitting well above or outside of flood zones, the majority of water damage comes from within the home. A leaky pipe or appliance can cause just as much damage as a mild flood over time. The difficult part about water damage is that it is sometimes difficult to accurately determine the extent of the damage, and many people have never dealt with water damage before. Many property owners are unsure if they can handle the situation themselves, or if they should call a professional. They are also unsure if the water damage is posing a threat to their health, or their family and friends health. The answer to all of these questions is maybe. Every water damage incident is different, and properly analyzing it is key. There are a few tips property owners can use to help determine what the best plan of action for them will be.
The first thing a property owner should do in a water damage situation is determine the type of water that is causing the damage. There are 3 types of water that cause property damage.
Clean water. This is the least dangerous of the three types of water. It usually comes from a leaking sink or faucet and poses no threat to humans. This is a very common type of water damage, and in small levels, may be handled by the property owner without assistance.
Grey water. This water could be dangerous to humans, and may contain small microorganisms. This water should be treated carefully, and usually comes from a damaged or overflowing toilet. Grey water flooding could also come from broken or damaged sump pump.
Black water. This is the worst type of water for water damage. Black water contains bacteria and other harmful things. Property owners who experience black water damage should seek a water damage remediation professional. This type of water damage is usually caused by a sewage issue or the contamination of standing water. Black water poses a definite threat to humans, and should be treated with extreme caution.
Once a property owner determines the type of water causing its damage, they should begin analyzing the extent of water absorption that has taken place. Typically, the less water that has been absorbed, the less damage that has taken place. That is why it is so important to get the water removed as quickly as possible. The longer the water has to sit, the more it will just penetrate into its surroundings. If the water does evaporate very quickly, it may have soaked into carpets, kitchens, and walls. This makes water damage removal and remediation much more difficult. It also increases the threat of mold and mildew growth. In situations similar to these, contacting a water damage professional is in your best interest. They will be able to quickly and efficiently remove water from your property, as well as, testing for mold and mildew growth. Water damage professional deal with incidents like these on a weekly basis, and they know how to accurately assess the damage to your property.
Water damage can be a difficult situation to deal with, and it often leaves property owners with more questions than answers. When in doubt, a property owner should contact a professional. It is better to be safe than sorry, and not properly addressing an issue now could cost you thousands more down the road.
While most people think about water damage to homes from Hurricane Sandy, vehicles took an equally hard hit. Even though your vehicle may not have gotten washed down the street, it could still have water damage. If your area felt the impact of Hurricane Sandy, you may want to give it an examination before you decide to start it, or else it could heavily damage the vehicle. While it helps if you are a certified mechanic, there are some telltale signs anyone can look for.
If you can locate the air filter in your vehicle, check it for dampness. Many vehicles will have a box marked air filter and you will just have to open it up and pull it out. If it is wet, then you probably have some water damage and should consult a professional.
You can also check the seats and carpets of your vehicle. If they are wet your should seek professional help drying them. Simply opening your windows will not properly dry them, and could lead to mold and mildew growth. This failure to completely dry could also lead to rusting and other damaging effects.
Checking your oil will let you know if water has seeped into your oil pan. This is particularly bad, and you should NOT start your car if this is the case. You should have it towed to a repair shop and let them properly address the issue.
Look for mud, branches or water lines around the outside of your car. They are a direct indicator of how high the water may have risen, and will give you a better idea of what you are dealing with.
Checking the exterior lights of your car will also give you an indication of how high the water rose. If there is standing water in the headlights or tail lights you will know it got at least that high.
If water gets in your engine in can severely damage it. If you suspect any water damage you should have it towed to a shop to be more carefully analyzed. Water damage can also take effect days or even weeks after the incident. If water seeped into your brake lines it could cause your brakes to fail at any point after the incident. Make sure your mechanic does a thorough inspection of your vehicle, and you should be good to go. Water damage can be devastating, but handling it correctly can minimize it damaging effects.
Water is and intrusive and abusive damaging force. It attacks everything in its path and can leave your property in disarray. Reacting quickly to water damage can save many of these items before they are attacked by mold and mildew growth. Mold and mildew can begin growing in as little as 24 hours, so moving quickly is your best option for being able to salvage as much as possible. Some items, however, you will be better off simply replacing. Here are some of the most commonly damaged items, and the best ways of trying and salvage them.
Books and papers. If they are of little value, they are probably not worth your time trying to salvage. Photocopy important items in case the originals are beyond repair. Some have success with freezing documents in a frost-free freezer or meatlocker, but these results vary. It may be worth a try to save orginal documents, but you should always photocopy the originals first.
Carpets and padding. Must be dried within 24-48 hrs. These are highly susceptible to mold growth. Remove the water with a water extraction vacuum, and use a dehumidifier to help with the drying process. Fans can also be brought in to accelerate the drying process. Using a professional company for this part of the cleanup may be advantageous.
Ceiling tiles and insulation. These items should be replaced if they suffer water damage. They are both inexpensive, and they do not respond well to restoration techniques.
Concrete and cinder block surfaces. These surfaces should be handled the same as carpet.
Upholstered furniture. Should be treated the same as carpet. Furniture can be difficult to completely dry within 48hrs, and if you have a piece of furniture of significant value, you may want to seek help from a water damage remediation specialist.
Wallboard. Can be salvaged if there is no swelling or visible, structural damage. If there is visible damage, it should be replaced.
These are just some of the most commonly effected elements of a water damaged property. If your property has suffered extensive damage, consulting a water damage remediation specialists may be in your best interest.