For all the incredible benefits water brings to our lives, it can also be a highly destructive force of nature. It can cause devastating damage to a home that results in thousands of dollars in repair costs, with the average insurance claim for water damage being around $7,000.
Water intrusion affects homes and other structures on multiple levels. Water creeping into homes:
- Causes warped flooring.
- Damages roofs.
- Stains and weakens walls.
- Causes pain to buckle.
- Leaves musty and stale odors.
- Can lead to the development of toxic mold.
Perhaps worst of all, water damage not found and addressed immediately can eventually weaken a home’s foundation. Even what seems like a small amount of water can do enormous harm. Just an inch or two of water is all it takes to require repair and restoration services.
Regardless of the source, the easiest and best way to avoid serious property and personal health damages due to water damage is to address the cause of the water intrusion as quickly as possible and dry out any wet materials.
Here are the top three ways water can damage your home and what you can do about preventing it or dealing with it once it happens.
Rain and Other Severe Weather
Rain, thunderstorms, and hurricanes are no strangers to Central Florida. When they happen, the bulk amount of water they leave behind can pose a significant risk to your home.
Heavy downpours and high winds have been known to partially or completely destroy roofs. Water is then able to flow straight into your house. Flash-flooding is also a significant problem in flood-prone areas.
Other ways water makes its way into your home include:
- Water seeping through attics, crawlspaces, and foundations.
- Leaks through walls around windows and doors.
- Roof drainage problems.
- Plumbing leaks and drainage backups.
Regular preventative maintenance goes a long way to preventing and reducing water intrusion problems, but some catastrophic water damage is unavoidable. If you wait to address water intrusion in your Central Florida home, the problem will only get worse. The sooner you repair storm-damaged components like wood, roofing, and other building materials, the more likely you’ll avoid expensive repair and replacement costs down the road.
What do air leaks have to do with water damage? Believe it or not, random air leaks are the second leading cause of water and moisture damage in homes and other buildings. Attic hatches, for instance, are notorious air leakage pathways.
When humid air over time deposits moisture on cold surfaces, an incredible amount of damage can occur. Because air leakage water damage seldom reveals itself like rain and other bulk water damage does, it can cause slow-growing problems behind the surface that you don’t notice until the issue is a serious one.
Air leakage can literally rot your harm. Uncontrolled airflow through gaps, cracks, and holes carries moisture into framing cavities where mold and rot multiply. It can also account for a considerable portion of your home’s increased energy use and can cause indoor air quality problems. Stopping air leaks reduces water damage to building components. It also prevents small air leaks from turning into bigger issues that can contribute to bulk water leaks from rain, hurricanes, and flooding.
This is an unfamiliar subject to most people. Vapor diffusion is when water vapor molecules move through porous materials like wood, drywall, and insulation due to vapor pressure differences. There are two ways vapor diffusion can ruin a home:
- When home cladding like stucco, masonry, or fiber cement gets rain saturated, the sun eventually drives the stored moisture toward your home’s interior, where inside vapor barriers like wallpaper can make the problem worse.
- During cooler temperatures, the combination of a colder exterior and interior humidity can cause moisture damage.
Because it’s a less well-known issue, a vapor diffusion problem is often mistaken for one of the other two water damage methods. The best way to determine if your Central Florida home has a vapor diffusion problem is to talk with a local water damage repair and restoration professional like Central Florida Restoration Solutions.
Top Signs of Water Damage in Your Home
If you’re concerned about whether your home has been damaged by water intrusion, there are several things you can look for before calling in a professional.
Start with the exterior of your home as it will make it easier to narrow down what external sources may be causing water to enter your home. Look for the following signs.
- Does your home sit on the highest point of the property? Does the ground around it slope away from the house? If not, water damage to the foundation might occur as water collects on the sides of your home and seeps in. Keep in mind that water can enter a foundation or crawl space even after standing water evaporates. That’s because there are still high moisture levels remaining in the soil. Regular professional inspections can ensure your Central Florida home’s foundation is in good shape and that any issues that could lead to water damage are addressed.
- Take a walk around the exterior of your home. Check that the gutters and downspouts that carry water away from the house are free of holes or damages and securely attached to the house. Clogged gutters and drains can cause water to leak into your home, where it can cause damage that requires extensive repairs.
- Are there missing or cracked roof shingles? Leaking roofs and missing or broken flashing frequently leads to leakage in a home’s attic and lead to ceiling water damage. What might seem like a minor cosmetic issue in reality can become a prime entry point for water into your home.
- Finally, inspect all your home’s exterior door and window frames. Do you notice any separations? Are there “soft spots,” a frequent sign of window leaks? Even a small window or door separation can lead to increased humidity in your house, and that can lead to a serious mold problem. By regularly checking each window and door frame, you’re more likely to catch problematic areas before bigger issues occur.
Now it’s time to check for water damage signs inside your home. Look for:
- Water rings on walls and ceilings that indicate a possible piping leak. Water rings are usually easier to spot, but keep a careful eye out for smaller water stains which are also common. Periodic inspections of your home, particularly after rainstorms, are a good idea, as is regularly taking a look at areas close to plumbing. If you suspect a leak but don’t see water rings or stains, listen at night, when ambient noise is minimal, for water leaks within the walls.
- Can you feel soft or sagging spots as you walk across the floor? This often happens near tubs, showers, sinks, washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, and water heaters. Water can significantly damage floors, including cracking, warping, and splitting wood, tile, and laminate flooring. Cracked and warped flooring is generally pretty easy to spot, but there are other signs your home has a serious water leak. Look in the corners of rooms or other areas that are as heavily trafficked every day. Be sure to regularly inspect these areas and keep an eye out for wet patches in rooms with carpeting, as minor water damage is often difficult to notice here, especially on darker materials.
- Check inside sink cabinets for water stains or puddles, discoloration, or warping, all signs of leaking pipes. If the interior of the cabinet is damp to the tough or you see mold growth, it’s a sure sign there’s a leak nearby. The issue should be checked and fixed as soon as possible to avoid more serious damages later on.
- Have you recently had repairs done on walls, ceilings, windows, or doors? Were there any patch jobs done, or are there areas with heavier paint? “Quick fixes” like this often attempt to mask water damage.
- Take a look at your water heater and the area around it. If the heater has any rust, it can indicate a current or previous leak. Water spots on the floor might indicate a slow leak that can lead to future water damage.
- Your nose knows! If you smell mildew or must, the odds are good there’s been some type of water intrusion that’s led to a mold issue. Mold remediation services can quickly and efficiently address the problem.
Finally, you want to do thorough inspections in the areas of your home most susceptible to water damage: the attic, walk-out basement, or crawlspace.
- Homes with older or poorly-maintained roofs are more likely to experience water damage than those regularly looked after. Rainstorms and hurricanes can lead to an incredible amount of water entering your home through a leaky roof. As you search for signs of water damage in the attic, pay particular attention to areas around roof vents, where walls meet the roof, and near any chimneys. If visible, check the floor insulation to ensure it’s dry and free from mold.
- Most newer Central Florida homes don’t have basements, but some have what’s known as walk-out basements, and others have crawl spaces. Both are possible sites where water can enter the home and do its damage. During heavy storms, water can accumulate around the base of your home and gradually enter your home. Unsealed crawl spaces can also cause moisture and air quality problems. Burst pipes may cause water issues in a crawl space as well. Perhaps the biggest risk that comes with water-damaged crawlspaces is mold. A professional inspection of these often hard-to-reach spaces can be a smart investment in protecting your home.
Central Florida’s Most Trusted Water Damage Repair Professionals
Everyone homeowner wants to know their property is strong, secure, and free of water damage. Central Florida Restoration Solutions are the water damage, mold damage, fire damage, and smoke damage experts you can trust.
If you discover water damage in your Central Florida home, or suspect you have a water leak, you can rely on our water damage remediation team to locate and assess the damage and then devise an action plan to fully remediate any damage, restoring your home to its beautiful original condition. With more than 20 years of experience in helping Florida homeowners with water, mold, fire, and smoke damage, we’re well-equipped to remove any signs of water damage, no matter where it’s hiding.
When you understand the sources of water damage and take steps to address them before a loss, you can be rewarded with big dividends that help you avoid costly repairs. Contact CFRS today for the remediation support you need to keep your home and family safe from the dangerous effects of water damage.