What is Water Damage?

Jim Bauer Insurance Restoration

Water removal can be expensive, but the cost of not doing it can be much higher. The risk goes deeper than just a few unsightly stains. If you see surface signs of water damage, the chances are that it’s worse the deeper you get into the unseen structure of the house. What is water damage?

So, what’s your best bet? Knowing how to recognize the early signs of water damage and acting quickly to take care of it. Here’s what you need to know about water damage.

What is Water Damage?

Damage from water isn’t always as straightforward as you might think. Sure, if your pipes burst, basement floods or your roof develops a leak, you know you’re at risk for some problems. But water damage can also manifest as an overflowed bathtub you thought you cleaned up or a quietly leaking pipe that took weeks or months to cause enough damage to bring it to your attention.Frozen Garden Hose and water pipe connection - What is Water Damage

The problems with water often come not with the initial leak or flooding, but later on. If the moisture isn’t completely removed, it can get into the carpet, the drywall and even the wooden “bones” of the house. Besides the apparent softening and warping that water causes, it also attracts unwanted growth which can cause many health problems for you and your family. Getting rid of water damage may require replacing the affected materials, depending on how long they were wet and how deep the damage goes.

Do I Have Water Damage?

In a worst-case scenario, you might come home to a foot of water in your basement, but identifying the damage isn’t always that easy. If a leaky roof or a plumbing problem dripped quietly for a while without your knowledge, how do you recognize the resulting damage? Or if you cleaned up the water and now suspect it wasn’t well enough, how do you know?

If you cleaned up a substantial amount of water and now suspect some damage, it’s best to call in the professionals asap. Professionals have tools that can confirm whether or where you still have hidden moisture in your home. But if you’re not sure, here are a few signs that you may have water damage.

  • Unsightly brownish stains on the ceiling and walls
  • Bubbling, swelling and other changes in texture on the walls and trim
  • Peeling paint as the paint loses adhesion
  • Sagging walls and ceiling
  • Warped floors
  • Unpleasant Odors

What Do I Do Now?

Whether you discovered standing water in your basement or you’re now noticing signs of hidden damage within your walls, the sooner you act, the better. Professional water removal and damage control involve not only removing visible water but also using sophisticated equipment to detect where the moisture is still lurking within the walls. This moisture must then be removed to avoid hidden damage from spreading. Professionals use state-of-the-art drying systems to rid your home of any moisture they find. Only then can the damage be assessed and any necessary remediation started.

The Importance of Fast Action

Your home is one of the biggest investments you will make in your life. To protect its value, it’s important to keep up with home maintenance. Make sure to act quickly to prevent more serious problems from arising. Remember, in the case of water damage, time is money. The sooner the moisture is removed, the less damage you’ll be facing and the lower the cost of repairs!

Inspecting Your Home

Don’t wait until there’s a disaster to make home improvements. Inspecting your home regularly can prevent major problems.

What’s the 411 on Water Damage Restoration?

Water damage can happen for many reasons—from a storm to a burst pipe. Water damage restoration can be a daunting process, especially if you’re standing knee-deep in water in your basement. If you understand the process, however, it can be less stressful. Here are a few tips for dealing with one of life’s “little” emergencies.

What Will My Insurance Cover?

Insurance coverage for water damage varies. If your water-related emergency is due to sudden and unforeseen circumstances such as a burst pipe, it probably will be covered. If, however, the damage is due to a poorly maintained drainage system or a roof that should have been replaced years ago, you may be out of luck.

The Claims Process

The language you use when making your claim is important. The word “flood,” in particular, carries specific nuances in the insurance world. If you live on a hill, your insurance may not cover flooding. A flood occurs, for example, when a river runs over its banks. Telling your insurance agent that you have a flood could unnecessarily hold up the claims process.

Before contacting your agent or approaching a water damage restoration company, it’s important to document the damage. It may seem counterintuitive, but don’t touch anything. The claims adjuster will need to get a full picture of the situation. If you do have to move things to prevent further damage, document everything before you do. In fact, you should get pictures of everything, anyway, just to be safe.

The Water Damage Restoration ProcessDryers - What is Water Damage

Once you’ve been in contact with your insurance company and filed your claim, contact a water damage restoration company. The water damage restoration process may be complicated depending on the amount of damage, but it usually follows the same pattern.

  1. Emergency Contact: Have specific information ready such as contact and insurance information. Be ready to tell them what caused the damage so they can be prepared for any hazardous situations.
  2. Inspection and Assessment: The restoration company will come out and assess the damage to determine the best course of action.
  3. Water Removal: Standing water and likely any affected furnishings and household goods to prevent further damage and give them space to work.
  4. Drying: After standing water is removed, the area will still be quite damp and require time and more intensive methods for removing the remaining moisture.
  5. Cleaning and Repairing: The moisture is gone, now the real job of repairing and restoring your home can begin. Once complete, everything can be thoroughly cleaned.

Events leading to water damage may be stressful, but water damage restoration doesn’t have to be. Knowing what is required of you and what to expect during such a crisis can go a long way toward alleviating much of the stress from the water damage restoration process.

8 Places that Water Affects Your Home

Water is necessary to all life on earth, but this natural resource can cause severe damage to a house. Here is a look at eight places that water damage can affect your home and how you can prevent it.Trim - What is Water Damage

  1. Roof and Attic

The roof is designed to protect your home from the outside elements but cracked, or missing shingles can allow water into your home and attic. This access leads to severe complications such as unwanted growth, rot, and electrical shorts. Inspect your roof at least twice a year for signs of damage so you can address any problems immediately.

  1. Gutters

Gutters are designed to keep water from rolling straight off the roof and pooling near your house, which can lead to a flooded basement or damaged foundation. But when the gutters get clogged up with leaves, the rain can overflow just like a waterfall, making them practically useless. Clean them out every six months so your gutters can serve their purpose.

  1. Exterior Walls and Trim

If you notice chipped paint or cracks in your house’s siding, you may be at risk for water damage. Not only can this cause your exterior walls to rot, but it can also cause damage to your interior walls as well. Use exterior paint to seal any cracks and silicone caulking around any trim, and you can prevent the water from seeping in.

  1. Windows and Doors

Windows and doors are a possible entry point for water. If your windows and doors are not properly sealed, your risk of water damage is increased. If your caulk is cracked or loose, remove it and reapply a silicone caulk around all exterior and interior trim. Replace broken windows as soon as you notice them.

  1. Bathrooms

As a primary room where water is used, bathrooms are susceptible to water damage. Leaky faucets, drains, and pipes can lead to severe problems like interior water damage and even electrical shock. Check for leaks and tighten pipe connections several times per year. Also, whenever you take a shower, always leave a window open or run the exhaust fans so moisture can escape without trapping unwanted moisture.

  1. Laundry Room

The vibrations of the washing machine can loosen and destroy the water pipes connected to it. If they burst, you are left with water damage from a flood that is a big mess to clean up and can cause significant damage to your floors and possessions. Stainless steel washer hoses are more durable than other types, making them less susceptible to bursting.

RELATED: How to Prevent a Washing Machine Leak

  1. HVAC

Your heating and a/c unit is probably not the first place you would think to check for water damage. Unfortunately, this problem is more common than you might imagine. Hard water and mineral deposits build up inside and cause corrosion and rust, which eventually leads to leaking. Have your HVAC system checked annually.

  1. Sewer and Septic System

If your drains are emptying slowly or you see wet spots in your yard, check your sewer and septic system before it causes water damage to your home. Clean your drains using a septic snake as needed and have your septic tank emptied as necessary.

If, despite your best attempts to prevent it, you discover water damage in your home, do not hesitate. Quick action is key to minimizing the effects of the damage. Contact an emergency restoration service to evaluate and fix any water damage right away.

Why you should hire a restoration contractor

When disaster strikes your home, you want an experienced restoration contractor to help you get back on your feet again. Emergency restoration contractors are available 24/7 to help you clean up the mess in an emergency situation. If you’re dealing with an emergency, here are the top three reasons why you should hire a restoration contractor.

Experience in Handling Restoration Cleanup and Repair

When your home has been damaged, you need to find the right person for the job. It’s best to have an emergency restoration contractor on the job as opposed to a general contractor. General contractors are used to starting from scratch in new construction and home renovation projects. Restoration requires a different skill set to repair the damage. A general contractor will most likely want to tear everything down and start again, costing you valuable time and money.Mold - What is Water Damage

A restoration contractor deals with repairing damage from floods, fire, water, and other disasters. They have the skills and knowledge necessary to do the job right the first time. A restoration contractor must be able to picture what the room looked like before the damage occurred and determined the steps needed to rebuild it. They know where to look for hidden damage and common problems. They also know how to restore the space without starting from the ground up and replacing everything. The fewer things that must be replaced, the more efficiently the job can be completed. However, making the right decision about what must be replaced and what can be left alone is critical. If a problem such as water damage or hidden structural damage is unresolved, it can lead to even more costly repairs down the road.

Specialized Equipment

In addition to having the right person working on your restoration project, the contractor also needs the right tools to do the repairs. Restoration contractors have all of the professional tools necessary for your specific damage. They have lots of specialized equipment such as moisture meters and gauges, water extraction units, pumps, fans, blowers, and dehumidifiers. Their commercial grade equipment is more efficient for home restoration than standard tools a general contractor would have.

Knowledgeable in Handling Insurance Claims

Handling the insurance claim is another step your restoration contractor can assist you with. Since restoration is their specialty, they work with insurance companies on every project they complete. They can provide you with a realistic idea of what repairs will be covered. Your emergency restoration contractor can help ensure the insurance claims process goes quickly and smoothly. Expediting this process means that you get reimbursed faster.

Dealing with water damage, fire, or smoke damage to your home is very stressful. In the midst of a crisis, it can feel as though your entire life is on hold. Hire a restoration contractor as soon as you notice the first signs of damage. With quick action, your home will be back to normal in no time.

Inspecting Your Home

Don’t wait until there’s a disaster to make home improvements. Inspecting your home regularly can prevent major problems.