Water damage is the negative impact on a building element caused by prolonged exposure to water. Water damage mainly causes the weakening of a building’s structural elements or in the worst case, failure in a building.
Water damage is one of the most common problems faced by homeowners. Whether it’s from a leaky roof, a faulty plumbing system, or heavy rains, water can cause extensive damage to your home if not addressed immediately. Water compromises the strength of construction materials and thus damages them and makes them perform at less than their potential. For instance, a wall that has been continuously exposed to water becomes cold, damp, and soft. Such a wall loses its load-bearing strength and makes it underperform as a structural member.
Water damage to wood also makes it damp. This not only makes the wood soft and weak but also attracts micro-organisms that are further detrimental to the wood. Fungi growth for instance greatly reduces the strength of wood as a building material. Moreover, water damage can also cause health hazards to a building’s users.
Water damage is a common issue in many households. While it may be caused by a number of factors, such as weather or faulty plumbing, it is important to identify and address the problem as soon as possible to avoid further damage. There are a few key places to look for water damage in your home:
1) External walls; These walls are often times exposed to weather elements, especially rain. They are usually painted and plastered so that they are impervious to water damage. However, extensive exposure to rain at times causes damage to the walls. A poorly constructed foundation can sometimes also be the cause of dampness and eventual water damage to a wall. Water damage on a wall can be identified by either dark stains on the wall or peeling paint.
2) Roof; If there’s any part of a building most exposed to the weather elements, it’s the roof. Every time it rains, the roof is exposed to a lot of water which increases its chances of water damage. However, the roof is designed to be resilient to prolonged exposure to rain by painting, and galvanizing iron sheets. However, with time, roofs are likely to wear out and give in to water damage. Water damage on a roof can be identified by rust on a metallic roof cover.
3) Gutters and downspouts; These are installed in order to channel rainwater from the roof to a collection point for reuse. However, with time and higher volumes of water, these also begin to get damaged after prolonged use. Water damage to gutters and downspouts can be identified by cracks and breakage on the equipment.
4) ceilings; Water damage to a ceiling is mainly caused by a leakage in the roof cover. Such leakage makes water trickle down from the roof to the ceiling thus making it damp and damaging it. ceilings are often made of soft board which becomes damp and eventually rots when exposed to water. Water damage to a ceiling can be identified by a patch of dampness on the ceiling.
5) Attic; Since the attic is immediately under the roof, it is also vulnerable to water damage, especially where there is a leaking roof. Signs of damage in this case include dampness on the floor or the walls of the attic.
6) Laundry area; This is one of the high-risk areas when it comes to water damage because of continuous exposure to water. A laundry area is often designed to be resistant to water damage by finishing the interior walls using tiles. However, sometimes tiles crack and water sips through damaging the floor or walls. Common signs to look out for in the laundry area are dampness in the walls and floor
7) Kitchen and bathroom sink cabinets; These cabinets are often wooden which makes them sensitive and vulnerable to water damage. They are often located near sinks and are for storing things like cups, plates, and other kitchen utensils in kitchen cabinets, then toothpaste, soap, and medicines in bathroom cabinets. They are areas to look out for water damage.
8) Bathroom walls; These are one of the most high-risk places. This is because water from taps and showers always splashes on the walls. This is countered by tiling the walls. However, they still need to be checked for water damage.
9) Basements; These become susceptible to water damage when a building has poor plumbing or drainage. In case of a burst pipe or leaking fittings, water can easily trickle down to the basement and cause damage. This can cause damage to the basement walls, floor, and ceiling.
10) Windows; Since they are exposed to rain, windows are also at risk of water damage. This can be through the rusting of metal frames or dampness at the hinges of the window.
11) Doors; External doors are the most high risk when it comes to water damage. This is because they are exposed to rain. Wooden doors are the most vulnerable. Water damage causes wood growth and fungi growth.
12) Foundation; The foundation faces water damage risks where a building has poor drainage. Runoff water from the roof or nearby areas can cause water damage to a foundation especially when it stagnates. Water damage can also be caused where a building is constructed in an area with a high water table
Warning signs of water damage: The easiest way to detect water damage is visual. Signs of water damage include; molds, cracks in walls, warping floors or doors, staining on walls or ceilings, and peeling paint or wallpaper among others.
In conclusion, it is important to be on the lookout for water damage in your home. By checking these 12 places, you can help prevent further damage and costly repairs. Pay close attention to areas in your home that are prone to moisture and humidity, such as the kitchen and bathroom. Be sure to check for any signs of leaks, water stains, or mold growth. If you suspect that there may be water damage in your home, be sure to contact a professional for further assistance.