Where To Look for Water Damage in Your Home

Where To Look for Water Damage in Your Home

It doesn’t take a flood to cause incredible water damage in your home. Just a bit of moisture can devastate wood, concrete, insulation, and more. The sooner you find and repair water damage, the more damage you’ll prevent. Industry experts estimate the average American family can waste 180 gallons of water per weak from household leaks. That’s no small amount of water! If your home suffers water damage, remediation and restoration services from Central Florida Restoration Solutions can get your home back to normal in record time.

How Moisture Affects Your Home

When a home floods, it’s easy to see how water damage can occur. But building materials and any level of water simply don’t mix. Any amount of moisture can degrade, rot, or cause mold to form on wood studs, insulation, drywall, and subflooring. If your Central Florida home has a small, persistent leak, significant structural damage can occur before it’s detected.

Fortunately, if you know what to look for, there are plenty of signs you might have water damage issues in your home. One of the earliest indicators is a musty smell or humid climate inside your house. Other signs vary according to where the moisture seeps in. No matter how it enters your home, given enough time, water can cause substantial damage to your home’s infrastructure.

Read on to learn about the likely spots where water damage could be hiding in your Central Florida home. We’ll start with general damage to look for and then move into telltale signs in specific rooms and areas.

Wall Space Around Doors and Windows

Older or incorrectly sealed window and door frames are convenient entry points for water. It seeps between a window’s jamb and sash or through the wall studs around the frame. The material eventually rots, allowing even more moisture to enter the surrounding walls and foundation. That can lead to expensive repairs.

Behind Drywall

Whether it’s from extensive rains or a burst pipe, when water reaches higher than your home’s flooring level, check inside and outside walls for water damage. Water penetrating into drywall often seeps into insulation and harms electrical outlets. In most cases, the drywall—at least that along the lower section of the wall—should be replaced. Even with quick water removal, water penetration can cause mold to start growing within the stud spaces quickly.

To confirm water damage has occurred, look for things like wet or dark spots along the walls and ceilings. These watermarks are often a sign of a much more extensive problem than you can see. Drywall and paint that peel, bubble, or crumble are also signs of water damage behind a wall or above a ceiling.

Under Sinks

Most homes have multiple sinks in the house. Bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements, and garages are the most common places you’ll find them. A slow drip from a drain or water line beneath any one of your home’s sinks can go unnoticed for days, weeks, or even months. A musty smell is usually the first sign something’s not right, but many people shrug it off as a normal smell in areas where water is used.

Plus, the area under most sinks is dark. That makes it difficult to see water spots or mold. Use a flashlight to periodically check under all your home’s sinks to ensure a slow drip isn’t causing rot or mold growth.

HVAC Units

AC units remove moisture from your home’s air as they cool it. The condensed water collects in a shallow pan, and the moisture exits your home through a small line. Over time that line or tube can become clogged or work its way loose. The accumulated water in the drip can then spill out and drain into the wall space below. The result is often mold growth inside the HVAC unit and rotting wood studs and sheathing.

If your home has window air conditioners, be sure to check for signs of water damage on the windowsills and surrounding frame, too.

Room by Room Water Damage

Now let’s do a visual inspection of each room’s unique spaces where water damage might occur.

Water Damage in the Kitchen

The biggest threat by far from water intrusion in the kitchen is from the pipes under the sink. Warping, cracks, and rot of the cabinet materials indicate a leak that needs to be fixed asap. Sitting water is also a prime environment for mold growth. If you notice water dripping under the sink, even if it’s only once in a while, you should talk to the pros about any necessary piping and water damage repairs.

Another place where leaks can develop is beneath the dishwasher. A fairly common problem is leaks developing in the joints of the water supply line that runs from the dishwasher to the drain line. Because you can’t see under the dishwasher, a slow leak can over time do severe damage, particularly to the subfloor. While many people only discover this damage when replacing the dishwasher, you can sometimes feel a “softening” of the floor in front of the machine, which could indicate water is seeping into the surrounding areas.

Finally, you should periodically check kitchen windows for moisture damage. Cooking, steaming, and washing dishes can all cause a kitchen’s temperature to fluctuate quickly. The resulting condensation that builds up on windows and other surfaces might deteriorate those surfaces.

Water Damage in Bathrooms

Bathrooms are major potential danger spots for moisture and water damage. Along with the pipes under the sink, the water lines running in the walls can also leak. Fortunately, modern plumbing techniques have made these types of leaks less likely, but wherever there’s a plumbing connection, there’s a chance for a leak to occur. Signs to look for include pooling beside a plumbing fixture and the floor becoming “spongy” due to a rotting subfloor.

Poorly ventilated bathrooms are a breeding ground for mold growth and structural damage. Make sure to always use the fan when showering or bathing or open a window, so moisture has an escape route.

One final place to check for water damage in a bathroom is around the toilet. A “wobbly” toilet is often the first sign of a leak. The wax ring between the base of the toilet and the toilet flange to the drainpipe often leaks as it ages. You might notice some moisture or a little bit of water around the base of the toilet, but usually, it’s simply damp. But water can still be soaking into the subfloor, which causes the toilet to wobble as the support beneath it rots away.

If your tub and shower are anything other than a single molded unit, the caulk between them and the surround can fail, allowing water to leak in and damage the studs and framing materials. Keep a close eye on the caulk. If it’s yellow or is pulling away, have it removed and replaced with fresh caulk.

Water Damage in the Attic

You may rarely visit your home’s attic, but you should regularly inspect it for water damage, especially if your roof is older or damaged. Leaks from rain often appear near chimneys and roof vents, as well as where walls and the roof intersect. Exposed insulation that gets wet is a favorite spot for moisture to accumulate and mold to grow.

Water Damage in the Laundry Room

Behind and beneath the washing machine are where water damage typically occurs. The machine itself might leak or, more often, the hose couplings leak. Because the valves are often out of sight, a slow leak can go unnoticed for quite some time, damaging drywall and allowing mold to develop.

Water Damage to Walk-out Basements and Crawl Spaces

As mentioned, your home’s foundation is a common seepage point for water. Walk-out basements and crawl spaces should be checked for cracks or other signs of water intrusion. One of the biggest threats for walk-out basements is flooding, as they’re usually where the water heater and sub-pumps are located. The result is damage to drywall, appliances, flooring, and anything stored in the space.

Outdoor Water Damage

Your Central Florida home’s exterior can also suffer from and show signs of water damage. Warning signs differ from home to home, so it’s always a good idea to contact an expert if you suspect a water damage problem exists.

Foundation Water Damage

Foundation water damage can also be visible on its exterior. Cracks are a common sign of weakness, but also check for pooled water as this might indicate you need to regrade or install a new drainage system.

Roof Water Damage

Missing shingles and clogged gutters are two major culprits in a water-damaged roof. Missing shingles allow water to enter your home and damage support beams. Clogged and broken gutters cause exposure to the exterior envelope.

Exterior Siding Water Damage

Even though siding is designed and installed to protect your home from water damage, it comes in panels. That means possible gaps where water can seep in, particularly at house corners. Anywhere two siding panels meet, though, including around windows where they adjoin trim, can allow water to trickle beneath the siding. Often, the resulting damage is hidden until you replace the siding.

Exterior Windows and Doors Water Damage

Door thresholds are constantly exposed to water. Even though the wood beneath metal thresholds is often treated, it can lose its seal over time. You might not notice the damage until the threshold works its way loose because the wood underneath it has rotted and can no longer support it.

Exterior painted windowsills are a common spot for water damage, especially in older homes with sills that have been painted multiple times. Even a small trickle of water through cracks in the paint can cause rotting. An easy way to check for damage is to use a screwdriver to press firmly along the sill. The screwdriver tip will sink into the wood if there’s hidden damage.

Chimney Water Damage

If a chimney is not sealed correctly, water can seep in and damage your Central Florida home’s roof deck. An annual roof inspection, as well as checking for damage after a major storm, helps pinpoint chimney problems so you can repair them before you’re faced with replacing the entire roof.

Water Damage at Exterior Faucets

Exterior faucets are handy to have, but they’re also hot spots for hidden leaks. The tight area behind the faucet where it connects to a water pipe can make it difficult to ensure a secure connection. When leaks develop there, water often runs down the inside of the wall, where it can do significant damage to framing and sheathing.

Central Florida’s Most Trusted Water Damage Repair Professionals

Anywhere water accumulates in pools or puddles is a potential risk for water damage to your home. Sitting water erodes most building materials and the result can be major repairs if the damage isn’t caught early.

Once you know what to look for, protecting your Central Florida home from water damage becomes far easier. If you believe your home has a water problem, trust in your senses. If you think you hear dripping, or suddenly have a creaky floor, look to the professionals to help you discover if there are leaks slowly doing damage to your home’s structure. Other good signs are a rising water bill or damp and musty smells.

CFRS is Central Florida’s leading water damage remediation and restoration company. We’ll help you restore your home to normal as quickly as possible. Our skilled technicians will locate leaks, assess the damage, and devise a plan to remediate it. We also offer solutions for mold damage, fire damage, and smoke damage that you can trust.

For over 20 years, CFRS has helped Central Florida homes remove any signs of water damage, no matter where it’s hiding. Contact us today for the remediation and restoration services you need to keep your home and family safe from water damage.

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