Water damage; two words that strike fear into the hearts of homeowners. Sometimes you see it, sometimes you don’t. In addition to the unattractive staining that’s common with visible water damage, materials that have been exposed to excessive moisture can also be magnets for other undesirable things – like mold. Yuck. Let’s look at how you can spot water damage in your home, and hopefully remedy it before it gets worse.
Common Signs of Water Damage
Pooling – Just like it sounds; if you find an area in your home where water is pooling, look around. Sometimes it’s coming from above, sometimes it’s seeping out from behind a wall. If you’re not sure if it’s a one-time spill or a leak, clean it up and watch the area closely to see if the pooling water returns. If you notice the pooling after it’s rained, make sure you pay attention after the next rain in case it’s an exterior leak and not interior (like a leaky pipe).
Staining – This is one of the most common ways that people figure out they have water damage because once it changes color (usually a rusty brown shade), it’s hard to miss. Especially if it’s on an unadorned and relatively flat surface, like your ceiling. Staining can also be found on walls, floors, and exterior siding. It just may be a little tougher to spot since it often follows corners and seams.
Texture changes – Usually if there’s enough damage to change the texture of a wall, there’s also staining. But not always. And sometimes people will paint over stains to try and hide the damage. If you find a wall in your home that looks a little different and you suspect water damage, give it a little poke. If it feels rubbery, springy, or squishy, it’s most likely water damaged.
Warping, buckling, sagging and expansion – After a while, even hidden water issues can become apparent once the fixtures in your home are affected. If you spot a warped wall that bows in and out, a piece of siding that’s buckling, or if you notice your floors are sagging in spots, you might have water damage. Water can cause wood and pressboard materials to expand as it soaks up the moisture. If it dries out, it can contract and cause cracks, splits, and buckling and a spongy feel.
Peeling paint – That peeling paint might not just be wear & tear. Saturated drywall expands and can cause the adhesion properties of paint to fail. If you find an area of your home where the paint comes off the wall easily or readily peels away, it may be because there’s moisture or water damage.
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