You may think a water leak or a busted pipe would be easy to detect and definitely something you'd notice right away. The truth is, sometimes the signs of water damage are hidden - behind your walls, under your floor boards, or even on the exterior of your house. Whether the situation happened an hour ago or a month ago, there are a number of ways to remedy the problem with water damage repair and restoration. First and foremost is finding the source.
What to Look For
Water damage can take on different colors, textures, and even smells, depending on the type of location of the damage. For instance, ceiling water damage is usually easier to spot than water damage in a basement because you will see stains and discoloration on a ceiling, but may not know that a musty odor can be a sign that there is a problem on the lower level of your home. Learn these telltale signs so that you can identify an existing problem and be prepared to spot it in the future.
The most obvious sign that you've got water damage on your hands (or that it will become a bigger problem) is areas of standing or pooling water. These can result from old or malfunctioning appliances including washers, water heaters and toilets. A puddle could also occur from a leaking roof, or from drainage pipes if the water is on the outside of your home.
With ceiling water damage, look for water spots and stains. The area may appear wet or dry and can be a yellow, brown or copper color. Walls may also have bubbling, cracking or peeling paint or wallpaper in addition to staining.
changes in texture
While flooring can also show discoloration like ceilings and walls do, the main sign of water damage in floors is detected by changes in texture. This is a result of water seeping into the floor boards and areas underneath them. Some common texture variations include:
Odors caused by mold and mildew could implicate a water damage problem. The smell may come from basements, walls, or other areas where water has been accumulating for a while. Certain drywall materials can act like a sponge and become full of moisture because there is low air circulation. This is the perfect condition for mold to develop, which will eventually result in visual discoloration (usually black spots) and a detectable odor.
Water damage can occur in any part of your home; however, there are some areas that are more high-risk than others. Make a checklist and inspect each area in your home to know where and what to look for when it comes to identifying water damage.
Ceiling water damage can come from a few sources. If the room is on the top story of a home, it could be from a leaky roof caused by rain or melting ice/snow in the winter months. If there is a bathroom above the ceiling with wall damage, it could be from a burst pipe or cracks in the floorboards.
One of the easiest ways to spot water damage is water stains on walls (and ceilings). Make sure to also check around door and window frames. An unusual stain could be a sign of a leaky pipe or drain inside the wall.
There are many things that can cause water damage to floors - overflowing sinks/bathtubs, flooding from faulty appliances and bad pipes. Hiring a water damage restoration company is the best way to pinpoint the exact cause of flooring water damage.
The exterior of your home can also experience water damage. If there isn't proper drainage in the yard or if the gutter spouts don't carry runoff water far away from the house (or if the gutters leak), water can pool next to the house and if left untreated, cause even more damage to your home's structure.
Stains, mold and wet or swollen installation are signs of a leak in the attic. If your roof has cracked, curled, or missing shingles, damaged flashing or signs of wind/rain damage, it could be vulnerable to leaks, which could result in water damage. Weather in colder climates can cause ice dams to develop on the roof, which can leak into the attic when snow and ice melts. Pay attention to possible problem areas including around roof vents and chimneys, the flashing (where the roof connects with the walls) and the valleys (where two roof planes connect) to help prevent water damage.
Check behind refrigerators, washers/dryers, hot water heaters and toilets/sinks for any sign of pooling or leaking water. An appliance or bathroom component (toilet/sink/shower) will most likely cause water damage because of a faulty piece of equipment that isn't easily seen. For example, a cracked hose or loose connection means that these parts may fail soon and could cause leaking in your home - which could lead to water damage.
What to Do If You Find It
If your home has water damage or even if you suspect that you may have a problem, there are professional water damage restoration companies that can help you. First, if you can, locate the problem area. Next, take any necessary steps to prevent any further damage. You may need to soak up standing water on the floor with towels or shut off your home's water supply.
Then, call your home insurance company to report the damage and contact a licensed professional to begin the cleanup process. You'll receive an assessment from the water damage restoration company and can determine your next steps.
How To: Remove Moss from the Roof
A layer of green moss might look cozy and rustic atop your house, but it can drastically shorten your roof's lifespan. Follow these three straightforward steps to clean off moss—and keep it from coming back.
By Bob Vila
A green, moss-covered roof may make you think you’ve wandered into a fairy tale, complete with a quaint little woodcutter’s cottage. But, in the real world, moss is much less a fantasy than it is a nightmare. Left untreated, the clumpy greenery can cause virtually any roofing material to degrade—most commonly wood and asphalt, but also metal, clay, and concrete—and thus drastically shorten its lifespan. Moss starts as a thin green layer on and between shingles, but then it proceeds to lift those shingles up as it grows, allowing water to seep underneath. Hello, wood rot and leaks. Fortunately, removing moss is a fairly simple task that you can perform on a seasonal or as-needed basis to keep your roof weathertight and great-looking.
TOOLS AND MATERIALS
– Extension ladder adder
– Safety glasses
– Rubber gloves
– Safety rope
– Garden hose (with spray nozzle)
– Longhandled softbristle scrub brush
– Commercial cleanser (or DIY solution below)
– Pump spray bottle
– Plastic sheeting
Carefully place a ladder near the area of moss growth, and don slip-resistant shoes, old clothes, rubber gloves, and eye protection. (You may also want to secure yourself with a safety rope.) Hose off the area with plain water, spraying at a downward angle. Then, use a long-handled soft-bristle scrub brush to remove the moss from the roof, scrubbing from the top down to avoid lifting shingles. As you continue, rub gently—don’t scrape, scour, or pound on the roof—and work in one small section at a time to avoid ripping, cracking, or breaking the shingles.
Note: Don’t use a pressure washer on the roof. The high-powered water jets can damage shingles and remove the shingle granules that protect the roof.
If your moss problem requires more than just a simple scrub, there are a wide variety of commercial cleaning solutions as well as DIY options that will get the job done. Just wait for the next cloudy day before you head out to the roof with your cleanser of choice—you don’t want the solution to evaporate too quickly. Keep in mind that both commercial and homemade spray cleansers can damage sensitive plants and discolor siding, decks, or pathways, so you may want to spread plastic sheeting below your work area before you get started.
Some popular cleansers include Wet & Forget (view on Amazon), a spray-on product for removing moss, mold, and mildew; Bayer 2-in-1 Moss and Algae Killer (view on Amazon), a potassium soap of fatty acids and inert ingredients that you mix with water and then spray on; and Moss B Ware (view on Amazon), a zinc sulfate monohydrate powder that can be applied dry or mixed with water.
Whichever you choose, follow the manufacturer’s directions for application; some cleansers should be rinsed off after use, while others specify to be left on.
You also can make your own moss remover in a large spray bottle with one of these four DIY recipes:
• 8 ounces Dawn Ultra dish soap + 2 gallons of water
• 1 pound powdered oxygen bleach + 2 gallons of water
• 1½ to 3½ cups chlorine bleach + 2 gallons of water
• 1½ to 3½ cups white distilled vinegar + 2 gallons of water
For any of these homemade options, you’ll want to wet down the roof with plain water first, then apply the cleanser and let it sit for 20 to 45 minutes. Lightly scrub with a soft-bristle brush, then rinse with water.
Prevent a moss problem from returning by installing strips of zinc- or copper-coated sheet metal just below the top ridge on both sides of the roof. Copper is more toxic to moss and algae, but zinc is much less expensive. You can purchase sheet metal in rolls and cut it into two- to four-inch strips. Attach the strips to the roof using roofing nails or screws with a rubber washer. You also should consider pruning any tree limbs that overhang the roof—natural sunlight is a powerful moss preventive.