We Know: All About Water Damage

How does water damage occur?

The intrusion of water or moisture on material over a period of time will cause water damage. Water damage can occur as a result of a burst pipe, a leaking roof, or a malfunctioning pipe while you're away on vacation. Natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires can also result in substantial water damage.

Any type of standing moisture is capable of causing immediate water damage.

How do I know if I have water damage?

Your eyes and nose will tell you whether you have water damage. Among some of the tell tale signs are:

  • Rotting wood
    • Wood becomes warped and curls.
    • Hardwood floors may be discolored or buckling.
  • Growth of bacteria, mold, or fungus
    • Rotten smell or mustiness.
    • Glue that is broken down by moisture may cause a sweet smell.
    • Bulging or mushy surfaces may indicate the presence of mold.
  • Rusting of structural elements such as steel
  • Anything built with plywood or Formica de-laminates
  • Presence of water spots on the walls or in the ceilings
  • Sagging ceiling
  • Missing or bent shingles and clogged gutters

What do I do if I have water damage?

Assess your home for water damage. Check your house to see if it is structurally sound. If you notice any bulging or sagging in the ceiling, there may be a possibility that the ceiling could cave in. Hardwood floors may buckle if enough water has been absorbed.

Next, call your insurance company to report the water damage. Questions insurance companies will most likely ask include:

  • How did the water damage occur?
  • Is the damage covered by the policy?
  • Did the damage occur during the period the policy covers.
  • Have I reported the damage within a reasonable time?

The insurance company will send a representative to the premises within 24 hours. The representative will provide an estimate of the damage and notify you as to whether or not your coverage will be covered or denied.

After you've assessed the damage to your home and called your insurance company, your next step is to get the water out.

  • Wear protective gear when handling contaminated waters to prevent the possibilities of infection.
  • Toss any water-logged applications.
  • Turn off your electricity.
  • Dry out your home as much as possible.
  • Clean air to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
    • Open windows
    • Turn on fans or air conditioning
    • Use a dehumidifier.
  • Secure other items to avoid getting those items wet.
  • Take photographs of the damage.

Water damage should be assessed within 24 hours. Allowing moisture to seep into the surfaces leads to mold which can cause chronic illnesses, asthma, and eczema.

What will I most likely need to replace?

What you replace depends on the degree of water damage. Big-ticket items that will require replacing include:

  • Drywall
    • Drywall absorbs water. If there is more than 6 inches of standing water, the entire walls needs replacing.
  • Insulation
  • Floors other than ceramic tile
  • Carpet

Some family heirlooms, textiles, and other items may be capable of being salvaged. The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers tips for salvaging these items. If mold and mildew begins to form, these items will need to be replaced as well.

How can I get help on restoring my home?

Call an expert to repair your home. The American Homeowners Association maintains a list of reputable contractors in your area.

How can I prevent water damage in the future?

Make regular inspections of your home to check potential trouble spots.

  • Kitchen
    • Check the hoses and pipes of the dishwasher, refrigerator, and sink to make sure there aren't any leaks.
  • Bathroom
    • Check caulking around the sinks, tubs, and toilets.
    • Make sure the toilets aren't clogged.
  • Laundry room
    • Inspect washing machine hoses for cracking, fraying, or bulging. Replace the hose if you find any problems.
    • Wet spots around the water heater may indicate a problem. Try placing a drain pan under the water heater.
    • Change filters on the air conditioning regularly, and get a contractor to make regular inspections.
  • Roof
    • Keep debris out of gutters, downspouts, roots, and valleys.
    • Ventilate the roof to reduce moisture and heat build-up in the attic.
    • Use a preservative to prevent weathering and damage to the roof.
  • Other spots - You'll want to fill in low spots so water drains away from your home's foundation.

Privacy Policy | Terms of Use © ineed2know.org

Sponsored by