Water damage can have wide ranging effects on a home, ultimately damaging its resale value and making it a less desirable place to live. Unfortunately, there are a wide variety of ways that a home can receive serious water damage and not all of them are immediately apparent. Damage from a serious weather event or a flooded basement may be obvious, but what about a burst pipe or an overflowing bathtub or sink? Even worse, water damage may go unnoticed for long periods of time if a pipe below a sink or behind a wall is leaking. There may be no indication that anything is wrong until serious damage has already been done.
Because there are so many potential sources and types of water damage, understanding the specific damage that your house has suffered is important. Professional water damage restoration services will help you with this evaluation, but this short guide will provide you with several important questions you should be able to answer about your particular situation.
How Long was Water or Moisture Present?
The length of time that an area remained wet is extremely important in determining the extent of the damage. Long-term moisture encourages mold growth, which can very rapidly spread to other parts of the house. This can be especially true if damp conditions exist elsewhere in the home, as mold spores can easily spread from room to room and will grow readily when they encounter the humid conditions they require.
Because of how devastating long term water damage can be, it is important to take steps to address obvious leaks as quickly as possible. Dry out areas even before calling a restoration service to minimize the extent and cost of clean-up services and repairs.
How Dirty was the Water?
The type of damage that your home will have sustained from a burst cold water pipe is much different from water damage incurred as a result of a leaky toilet stack. As a general rule, damage caused by clean sources of water is much cheaper to clean-up than damage caused by dirtier water. Any sewage damage is particularly costly to repair since it poses a very real human health hazard. Never walk through or into any leaking water unless you are reasonably sure that you know the source.
How Contained was the Water?
Water in a flooded basement is relatively easily contained since there is nowhere for the water to seep down into. It may be difficult to locate and dry out all of the crevices that moisture may have reached, but you can be reasonably sure that the damage will be limited to the basement. On the other hand, a leaking second story tub can cause damage to the floor of the bathroom, the ceiling below it, and even the room below that. When evaluating damage from a leak or other water source, try to determine how far the water could have potentially spread through your house.