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How to Spot Signs of Water Damage When You Buy a Home

How to Spot Signs of Water Damage When You Buy a Home

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.

7 Common Water Damage Mistakes to Avoid

7 Common Water Damage Mistakes to Avoid

Seeing our house flooded can be devastating. People’s first instinct is to salvage anything they can, then start cleaning the house right away. Only after that will they consider calling an emergency mitigation company.

Although our first impulses make psychological sense, our first response should be to call a reputable and trusted restoration company: they will have the appropriate tools and expertise to mitigate the damage and complete the restoration work.

Throughout our extensive experience, we have spotted the seven most common mistakes people make when tackling flood damage on their own. These are honest and understandable mistakes; however, they can make flooding worse and create bigger problems down the road.

1.      Waiting Too Long

Water is pernicious. It seeps through floors, drywall, and walls, not to mention carpets, cupboards, and closets. The longer you wait, the more water will continue its destructive work and create further problems in the long run.

Sometimes homeowners attempt an initial cleanup on their own and postpone calling a restoration company while they consider whether they really need it or not.

Unfortunately, once water has leaked, it can cause dangerous mold and structural damage to the foundations of the house. Experienced crews can recognize the unseen damage and remedy it. The longer you wait, however, the worse—and costlier—the problem becomes.

2.      Failing to Address the Root Cause

You may think that a burst pipe was the cause of the flooding—and it may well be. However, the obvious problem often differs from the real one. 

A burst pipe may be the evident origin of the damage but there often is an underlying problem that needs fixing to make sure no more flooding occurs.

An experienced restoration company will establish what caused the problem in the first place and repair the true source of the problem.  

3.      Using the Wrong Equipment

Buckets, brushes, mops, and towels are excellent cleaning tools for everyday cleaning and tidying. Unfortunately, a flood is an exceptional circumstance requiring extraordinary equipment and tools.

Restoration companies have professional tools that pump water, dehumidify, and deodorize large areas. They can do this in a minimal amount of time to limit the water damage. And they know how to reduce the damage.

Sometimes homeowners make things worse by starting the cleanup with everyday equipment. They end up pushing the water deeper into carpets and floors and onto corners, thus worsening the damage and creating breeding grounds for potentially dangerous mold.

4.      Ignoring Hidden Water Damage

Interior water spots on ceiling | Valley Restoration and Construction

A flooded house requires a thorough inspection to estimate the real damage. Sometimes, damage is hidden and will only show up in small stains or mold.

In a sense, cleaning up a flood is the easy part. Evaluating the hidden damage, however, requires expert knowledge and equipment. Restoration companies have special tools that show whether there is residual humidity in walls and floors.

Experts will also check the structural foundation of the house to make sure that it hasn’t sustained any permanent damage. And they will disinfect to make sure no mold develops in areas that were flooded.

5.      Salvaging or Throwing Away Personal Belongings

People’s first instinct is to salvage any items they can from the flood. It is an understandable and very human instinct. However, people sometimes forget that flood water is often contaminated with bacteria. Personal belongings need to be disinfected properly before they can be used again.

Another common mistake concerns the opposite attitude: people discard belongings which they perceive to be beyond repair. However, a professional with the right equipment can work miracles in restoring water-damaged belongings to their previous glory.

A professional restoration expert will evaluate whether an item can be restored and will have the suitable tools to fix it. Even items that look unsalvageable may be easily fixed with the right tools.

Flood house interior | Valley Restoration and Construction

6.      Neglecting Safety Precautions

Hidden damage can extend to several issues: broken pipes, dirty water filled with bacteria, unstable flooring, potential electrical shocks, broken glass and debris floating in the water, and even broken gas lines. All these are safety hazards that experts know how to deal with. Homeowners sometimes fail to notice these dangers in their attempt to save their belongings.

Similarly, most homeowners forget to wear helmets and the proper safety gear when they are inspecting or repairing their house. This can lead to personal harm and worse problems than those caused by the flooding.

7.      Improperly Documenting the Damage

Thanks to the tools, equipment, and machinery available to an experienced restoration crew, documenting water damage is thorough and comprehensive. This is particularly helpful and necessary for your insurance company.

Your insurance policy will cover all the flood damage. But you need to provide them with documentation about the real damage.

If you only document part of the water damage because you are unaware of deeper problems, your insurance policy will not pay for any residual damage that has not been recorded. You may well end up covering the cost yourself.

A reputable and professional restoration company will provide you with an exhaustive list of the flood damage. With that in hand, you will get compensation from your insurance company and your house will be fixed and safe for you and your family to live in—at no extra cost to you.

A Restoration Company Offers Peace of Mind   

Water flooding and water damage can cause a lot of stress. A restoration company will help you deal with this terrible situation in many ways:

  • They have the experience and the expert crews to come in and start the mitigation and restoration processes.
  • They have the appropriate tools to fix problems.
  • They know how to investigate floods and discover the underlying problems.
  • They will not ignore hidden damages.
  • They will make sure that your house is clean, disinfected, deodorized, and safe.
  • They will fix items you may consider unsalvageable. 

It is essential to call a restoration company the moment you discover water damage to make sure the problem is dealt with immediately.

We are here to respond to your call on a 24/7 basis. Our experienced teams will mitigate the water damage and restore your home to make it safe and habitable again. Contact us now online or call us on 970-964-4437 because we are always ready for an emergency!

How to Minimize Water Damage in Your Home

How to Minimize Water Damage in Your Home

What can water damage do to a house?

Burst pipes, floods, or leaks can cause serious water damage in your home.

Once water damage has taken place, homeowners should call their insurance company and a mitigation and restoration company to assess the damage and start the repair process.

However, there are several things that a homeowner can do—or refrain from doing—to minimize water damage and limit further deterioration while they wait.

Here are some steps you can take to limit the extent of the damage to your home and your belongings.

Determine what has caused the water damage

There are many reasons for water damage in a home: a blocked sink, a washing machine hose that has become loose or is too brittle, rainwater coming into the house, an overflowing sewage system, or even blocked drains causing flooding in the house.

Your first step depends on the cause of the water damage. Sewage water and gray water are filled with germs and harmful bacteria. Vacate the premises immediately, without lingering or salvaging your belongings! The best thing to do is to call your insurance company, and a reputable mitigation and restoration company to start the reparation process. 

Water damage from a washing machine, a water heater, or a blocked sink is safe. Homeowners can take the following initial steps to limit the damage.

Turn off the water main

Once you have determined the source of the water damage, the best thing to do is to turn off the water main valve, to stop more water flooding your home. It’s good to know beforehand where the main water shutoff is located in your house so that you don’t need to look for it in a state of panic.

Turn off power to avoid electric shocks

If possible, turn off the power to avoid electric shocks. Make sure you are not standing in water when you do this. If the whole area is flooded, it’s best to leave this to an electrician to avoid danger to yourself.

Do not plug or unplug appliances

Fire damage | Valley Restoration and Construction

socket and wire in fire and smoke, fire

Sometimes, our first instinct is to start water mitigation on our own. However, water damage is usually extensive and requires professional care. You cannot be certain about the extent of the damage in your internal electrical system.

Do not try to fix things by plugging any tools, pumps, or your vacuum cleaner to remove water. A vacuum cleaner will probably not be adequate to suck that much water and you could end up making things much worse by causing a short circuit or even a fire.

Similarly, do not unplug any appliance and do not use electric appliances before an electrician has checked and confirmed that your electricity grid is safe.

How do you control water leaks?

If you have a leak that can be temporarily constrained, put a bucket under the leak until the restoration company arrives at your home. If the leak is damaging pieces of light furniture that can be safely moved, move them to limit the damage.

You can also move any fragile and water-sensitive items out of the reach of water, for example by placing them onto shelves. Always make sure you are safe and do not risk falling or slipping.

Can you live in a house with water damage?

With the panic and stress we often feel during a calamity, we may misjudge a situation and make hasty decisions. Do not throw out any carpets, furniture, or belongings that you think are beyond repair.

Reputable and professional mitigation and restoration companies have specialized equipment and tools to save your home and belongings.

As a professional and experienced restoration company, we aim at salvaging and bringing back to life as many items as we can during our work. Many homeowners are amazed at how much of their precious belonging we have saved, cleaned, and repaired. Our cleaning equipment and specialized tools are much more powerful than common household appliances.

Trust us to bring your home and its contents back to their previous state!

Choose a professional mitigation and restoration company

Water damage can be dangerous to the structural integrity of a house. It is also a traumatic experience for homeowners. Hiring a restoration company is the best step to take to secure your home and save your belongings.

We are here to respond to your call on a 24/7 basis. Our experienced teams will mitigate the water damage and restore your home to make it safe and habitable again. Contact us now online or call us on 970-964-4437 to learn more!