September 24, 2009

The Damage That Can Be Caused By Damp

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One of the most common issues that homeowners face is water damage to their homes. No matter how water tight and new your home may be, water issues can always arise. The lake or river next to your house could overflow. Rising neighbourhood groundwater could cause flash flooding. Faulty plumbing, power outage, poor insulation, cracked gutters… there a hundred billion reasons that your home could and will suffer from the results of too much water or moisture. Snow, rain, earthquake-we are all subject to Mother Nature and her wrath, and it all seems to be getting worse as the environment shifts to accommodate the burden of too many people with too much demand.

So, what are the common damages that are associated with too much water, both in your home’s interior as well as exterior surfaces? Though the possible types of water damage that could be inflicted upon your home are practically limitless and range from minimal to profound, some are more common than others. Below we discuss the most common kinds of home water damage, and also address how to fix them to ensure you enjoy your home dry and safe for years to come.

Mouldy Basement- One of the biggest issues that can arise due to water damage is from mould. One of the most common areas for mold to appear is your basement. This is due to the fact that it is partially if not completely underground-and therefore, more susceptible to flooding from groundwater and nearby lakes, streams, and rivers. No matter the history of the home, some homes will just always be prone to mould and high moisture air in their basements. This is due-more often than not- to region, topography, and other locational factors.

Solution: Many homeowners facing this kind of water damage can remedy the water damage issue by making the basement drier. A good way to do so is to use a dehumidifier or two and leave running in order to take the excess moisture out of the air. If you find this does not cut down on your mould and mildew issue, you may consider changing the water drainage system around your house (i.e. digging a trench, etc) to pull rainwater and melting snow away from your house’s foundation more effectively. More often than not, this will require a contractor or specialist trained in water damage and basement waterproofing.

Rotting Foundation Sill- Though closely connected to the basement’s mould and mildew water damage issues, a rotting foundation sill is much more serious and expensive to fix. Typically, if you find that your foundation sill is starting to rot or is demonstratively retaining water, the problem originated with an overly wet basement (probably prone to flooding). A wet basement will eventually start attacking the wood sill that separates the house from the foundation. The sill is significant because without a properly constructed and well-maintained one, your house’s whole structure is weak and prone to shifting and eventual collapse.

Solution: If you have noticed that part of your sill has started to degrade, then it may be that you will only require some new wood and someone to lift up the house to install it. If more than one area of the sill has begun to rot, you have a very expensive and time consuming job on your hands. While sometimes there is no avoiding a sill becoming severely rotted, in many cases it is. Ensure that when you start seeing the signs, i.e. a wet basement, regular flooding, and mold growing on walls and items; that you look into addressing the wet issue before it becomes a much bigger problem.

Roof Eaves and Trim- Another common result of degraded construction and/or Mother Nature’s wrath is rotting of your roof eaves, trim, or construction. You will be able to easily detect a rotted eave or trim just by a quick survey. It will look wet and splintered, and signals that either your gutter system or roof construction is not draining water correctly. Instead, it is holding rainwater and snow until it pools and starts to rot and damage your roof’s edges. Left untreated, the rot could easily spread and wear away the rest of your roof as well as start leaking into the interior of your home-getting your ceilings and floors wet and subject to further rot.

Solution: If your roof eaves, trim, and/or the general roof construction has started to rot, you will want to replace any rotted areas with new wood, any broken gutter parts with new, and insulate where needed. In many cases, the casual handyman can handle this repair with relative minimal cost, but if either the water damage has ruined your entire gutter system or started to tear up your roof, you could be in for a more specialised, high expense renovation.

Rotting Windows-Windows subject to rot and leakage are another concern of many homeowners. You may notice that water is leaking in through the sides of your window or producing a mist on the inside of the window pane itself. In the first case, it may mean that your window has not been installed correctly. In the second case, the window itself is not insulating correctly, and you will need to replace it altogether to stop the condensation and window decay it will eventually lead to.

Solution: If your window has not been installed correctly, you will have to remove it and “pitch” it (install at proper angle to the frame) at the specified angle afforded windows. If your window problem is a condensation issue, you will have to replace it altogether.

While water damage issues are varied and countless, these are the most expensive and most popularly-experienced ones amongst homeowners. Remember, that these water damage issues extend from new construction homes to historic homes, and should not be overlooked in either case. Water damage is caused by either poorly constructed homes and/or a well constructed home that has been subjected to an enormous amount of water in a short or long period of time; so ensure to keep regular maintenance on your home’s interior and exterior. Doing so, will save you tons of money, work, and headache in the long run.

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