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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Inspecting your home for water damage

Water damage is one of the most common and costly repairs for homeowners to deal with, leading to increased maintenance costs, decreased property value, and a decline in indoor air quality. It can strike indoors as well as outdoors, and the longer you leave it the more expensive it will be to fix. Water damage needs to be taken care of as soon as possible to avoid the occurrence of mildew or mold, which are not only unsightly but have been known to cause considerable health hazards. This article provides information on identifying and eliminating excess moisture that could potentially lead to water damage in the home.

THE BATHROOM

The first place to inspect is the bathroom. Bathrooms have a number of areas where water commonly causes problems, but you have to look carefully. The most common areas are tiled shower stalls and tub enclosures. Moisture behind tiles, unless severe, is not usually visible. Ceramic tiles are quite waterproof, so the problem area is the grout between the tiles. If you look closely and see hairline cracks in the grout it’s a sure indication that water has migrated behind the tiles. In this case you will need to replace the existing grout as soon as possible to prevent further damage. A professional home inspector will use a moisture meter to ascertain moisture levels behind the tiles.

SINKS & TOILETS

In kitchens most water issues are found under the sink. Besides the sink, there are drainage pipes, sink traps, and dishwashers where water or moisture can fast become a problem. You also need to check the water shut-off valves and waste disposal units. Sinks are easy to inspect as you can look beneath them to determine if the trap or water supply lines are intact. Look for rusted supply tubes and leaking water shut-off valves and drains. Dripping or leaking toilets can be difficult to diagnose since the symptoms are usually not visible. As such, a home inspector’s moisture meter can identify moisture under the flooring and prompt recommendations for repair before the flooring starts to deteriorate.

INSPECTING THE ROOF

A roof usually lasts about 15 years. Improper drainage systems and roof sloping reduce roof life and become a primary source of moisture intrusion. Missing, worn or broken roofing materials may allow water to penetrate and deteriorate the roof structure. Leaks are also common around vents for exhaust or plumbing or rooftop air-conditioning units. Inspect your roof periodically, especially after a storm. Ceiling stains are invariably signs of a water leak in the room above, so start there.

AIRBORNE MOISTURE

Keep air inside the home circulating with vents and fans to avoid the build-up of condensation. Use exhaust fans in the bathroom when showering. Dry your laundry outside or make sure your dryer is vented to the outside. Condensation around old or draughty windows can cause mold, so fix or replace these windows. An added bonus to new draught-proof windows is that you will save money on your utility bills.

RISING DAMP

Water in the basement is usually caused by improper grading and is a sign you have a drainage problem. The ground may slope towards the house, water from the roof may not drain properly into the downspouts, and the downspouts may not point away from the home. These issues can cause runoff against the foundation, eventually causing cracks in the concrete. Signs of this water leakage into the home are water marks on baseboards, rust, stains or mold. Fix or replace leaking, dripping, or draughty fixtures as necessary.

REGULAR MAINTENANCE

Water damage and the resulting mold can make your home unfit for sale. In addition, these conditions can make your home life uncomfortable at best, and uninhabitable at worst. As part of your regular home maintenance checklist, do a periodic check of all rooms so that repairs can be done before significant and costly moisture damage occurs. Proactively, booking a home inspection can forestall these issues from happening in the first place, or prevent you from buying a home with current water damage or a high potential for future water damage. Re-actively, booking a home inspection can provide you with fast and efficient means to fix the water damage and advice on how to prevent it from reoccurring in the future.

Inspect it All Home Inspections provides a quality home inspection that meets the InterNachi standards, and one that will exceed your expectations as a valued client. We provide flexible scheduling that will allow you to participate in the home inspection, and an inspection report that is clear, concise, and gives you a comprehensive understanding of your home. Contact us today for great quality, professional home inspection services.


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