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Are you ready to buy the house of your dreams? Before signing the contract, make sure the house doesn’t show signs of water damage.

Water can damage the structure of your home. Leaks and broken pipes may require expensive repairs, and water damage can cause the development of mold, which is dangerous for your health.

Before embarking on your life as a homeowner, it is good to take a detailed look into your prospective home for signs of past—or present—water damage. If you don’t know where to look and how to check, here is a brief guide to help you spot any signs of water damage.

Check the Land and Where the Home Stands

If you are buying a single-family home, check the land surrounding the house. Is the home situated at the highest point of the land or is it placed at the bottom, where all the water will gather?

Your prospective home should be located at the highest point to let water flow downhill without damaging the basement or the foundation of the house. This way, it will experience less humidity and have fewer opportunities for water damage and stagnant waters.

Check for Water Puddles and Look at the Gutters and Downspouts

While you are looking at the house from the outside, notice the state of the gutters and the downspouts. Are the gutters clean and well-maintained? Are they securely attached to the roof and walls?

Likewise, check the downspouts and where they direct the water. How are the drains? Do they lead the rainwater away from the house?

You want to ensure that the pipes, drains, and gutters divert all water away from the house to minimize damage and humidity.

Water puddles around the house are signs that water stagnates there. If water sits there, it can slowly enter your basement and damage the house’s foundations.

Are All Roof Shingles Intact?

Missing, cracked, or damaged roof shingles mean that water may seep into the attic and cause damage. Make sure the roof is well-insulated and that all shingles are intact. Otherwise, you will have to budget for roof repairs.

Do the Ceilings Have Water Stains or Rings?

Once inside the house, look up and check the ceilings. Do they have water stains? Water rings and stains are signs that moisture is trapped in the ceiling. They are usually more obvious at the corners of ceilings, so check carefully the ceiling’s full length.

Walls that have been water-damaged can also display water stains, so be sure to check those as well. If you spot any, ask the current owner whether it’s an ongoing water leakage or a past one. If it’s a past one, make sure it has been addressed properly.

Inspect All the Plumbing around the House

Water is distributed in your home through the plumbing system pipes. You may notice water damage and leakages along their path.

Check the pipes all around the house: in the cabinet under the sink, around the bathtub, and behind faucets. Look for watermarks, discolorations, mold, and any sign that water has damaged these areas. For instance, a wooden cabinet that has been water-damaged will show warping signs on the wood.

How Does the Floor Look?

A flood can seriously damage a wooden floor. Are there any soft spots on the floor? Is the floor warped or cracking? Do you see any discolorations? Are the floorboards uneven? If the floor is tiled, are there any loose tiles or tiles that seem to be elevated compared to the rest?

All of the above can be signs of water damage and should be further inspected.

Remember to lift any rugs and check the state of the floor underneath as well. Sometimes, rugs are placed strategically by house owners to hide previous water damage.

Smell Your Way Around the House

Some homeowners may fit a room with a carpet to hide water damage. While it may be easy to fool the eye, it will be much harder to hide the scent of mold. Your nose won’t lie to you. Smell your way around the house. Mold has a musky scent that we can all easily discern. Walk around the house, focusing on the bathroom and kitchen where most of the plumbing is found.

If you can smell mold, it means that humidity or water is trapped somewhere in the walls, floors, or ceilings.

Attics and Basements

Water usually enters a house from the roof or the ground. Attics and basements are the most exposed areas of a home and the places where moisture, leaks, and water damage will be most evident.

Take a look around the attic and the basement and notice any water damage. In the attic, water damage will be more obvious around the ceilings. In the basement, it will be more evident near the floor.

Note Any Icicles Hanging from the Roof

If the area where you are planning to buy a home has frequent and heavy snowfall, check for any icicles hanging from the roof. Although they are very beautiful to look at, they are also a sign of ice dams and suggest that the house, especially the attic, is poorly insulated.

Flaking Paint and Damp Walls

Paint sometimes peels away, giving you the perfect excuse to change the color of the room. If, however, you see paint flaking away in significant quantities, you could be facing water damage and humidity inside the wall.

Run your hand along the wall’s surface. Does it feel damp or loose to the touch? If so, humidity may be trapped somewhere behind the paint or wallpaper.

Check Metals and Water Heater

Metals rust in the presence of water and constant humidity. Check any metallic items, such as radiators or door handles, to see if they are rusty. Also check the water heater for signs of rust. If there has been a water leak from the hot water heater sometime in the past, the water will have corroded the metal, causing it to rust.

If You Find Water Damage, Call Valley Restoration and Construction

Valley Restoration and Construction are available 24/7 to mitigate, repair, and reconstruct your home. Should you need to restore your home after water damage, call 970-964-4437 or contact Valley Restoration and Construction online.