Water is the substance of life—but not when you find it in unwanted places in your home. In fact, unwanted moisture in your home can cause severe damage or structural problems, so it’s important to remove standing water and treat the areas it has affected.
However, it’s impossible to fix what you don’t know exists. As a good homeowner, you should be regularly assessing your home for damage or potential issues to keep problems at bay. Because of how destructive water damage can be, it is essential to learn what causes it and how to spot it.
What Can Cause Water Damage in Your Home?
Water damage can manifest for multiple reasons. Water can penetrate your home through a failing exterior, or it can come from broken materials within your own home. The most common causes of water damage are:
Leaky Roof/Siding— When shingles break, lift, or move, it can allow water to penetrate through your roof into your home’s interior. The same goes for cracked or improperly sealed siding. These elements are designed to protect your home, so leaks in their structure can lead to severe damage.
Faulty Appliances— Dishwashers and washing machines utilize large amounts of water on a weekly basis. If they are faulty or have leaky connections or hoses, they can flood areas of your home.
Leaky Pipes— All plumbing and water-producing areas of the home such as sinks, bathtubs, showers, toilets, and exterior spouts are areas where water can penetrate your home.
Flooding— Exterior water can make its way into your home or under your foundation. Too much exterior water that is not properly diverted can lead to water intrusion issues. But flooding can come from within your home as well. Your home can flood from backed-up plumbing, sewage leaks, burst pipes, and other household reasons.
Here are 7 signs that your home might be experiencing water damage.
1. Problematic Gutters
Starting from the exterior, check all gutters and downspouts. A gutter’s main job is to divert water away from your foundation. If your gutters are faulty, it can cause water to pool around your home, which can allow water intrusion to occur.
Therefore, make sure all gutters are properly cleared of debris and allow water to flow appropriately. Ensure they are securely fastened to your home and no leaks are present. Or take some time to research how to know if you need new gutters. If you notice gutter issues, contact a professional for help.
2. Discolored Walls or Ceiling
Staining can be one of the clearest indicators of water intrusion. Water rings that appear on your ceiling can signify a leaky roof that needs immediate attention. And water discoloration that appears on walls around sinks, toilets, showers, or bathtubs may mean leaks in your pipes or even cracks in your siding.
If you do not investigate water stains and any of these issues go unresolved, it can lead to serious water damage or wood rot. If you notice stains on the ceiling, you should inspect your roof. Exterior water may be making its way into your home through loose, cracked, or lifted shingles. Use proper safety precautions when climbing onto your roof, or contact a professional.
3. Sagging Floor
Water intrusion can lead to rotting floor joists, which will cause your floor to sag where the joists have weakened. Exterior water can make its way under your floor or into basements. If this water is allowed to sit for long periods of time, it will cause issues with the support joists of your flooring.
A bowing floor can indicate a couple of issues: water damage, poor structural design, or improper foundation settling. So, though a bowing floor does not always mean water damage, if you notice this problem you should take immediate action to have your home inspected to keep further issues from arising.
4. Bowing Roof or Ceiling
You can assess your home for water damage from both the interior and exterior of your home. Your roof and ceiling can both show signs of damage if they are no longer properly aligned and are bowing.
If you notice a sagging roof between the roof joists, it could indicate water damage. The same can happen to your ceiling, as the weight of unwanted water builds up and causes your ceiling to droop. When either of these issues is noted, contact a professional for a roof inspection and repair.
5. Mold and Mildew
Mold thrives where moisture is present. Therefore, if you notice mold in your home, it means you have unwanted moisture. Mold and mildew come in a variety of species that can thrive in multiple areas of your home—from wood and grout to caulking and carpet, and even your food. If you notice the growth of mold, take action to locate the source of water intrusion and have the mold eradicated.
While you won’t notice rust issues in every area of your home, rust can appear around pipes and most commonly your water heater. Annually inspect your water heater for signs of rust damage. This can indicate a slow leak. If you notice rust-colored stains around spouts, faucets, or pipes, you should have the issue inspected thoroughly by a professional.
7. Foul Smell
Because excess water can produce mold and mildew, your sense of smell can help lead you to water damage. If a room smells musty or damp, there is likely a water issue. Mold and rot carry a distinct smell that should not be ignored.
Overcome Water Intrusion for Good
Water damage is nothing to mess around with. If you have any questions regarding the potential of water damage in your home, contact a professional. Our Refined Exteriors team can help bring you peace of mind by establishing the source of any exterior water intrusions and creating a solution that will keep your home protected.