Water damage can be one of the most deleterious things for an older home. Water damage usually means that there is more damage just beneath the surface. Water damage can cause weakened structural elements, wood rot and mold. Mold in and of itself can eat into the walls of a home and it can be very bad for your health. If you are restoring an older home, and especially if you live in an older home, it can be very important to know how to track the water damage before it becomes a serious problem. If you are looking to purchase a home, it is also important to know if there is water damage, because it means that you can almost always negotiate a lower asking price. Here is how to detect water damage in an older home.
One of the major telltale signs of water damage is floor buckling. If you notice that the floors are rising or have waves in them, it could mean that there is a current leak or that there has been water damage in the past. If the floors are antique or a special kind of wood, it can be very expensive to fix. If the water damage is especially pervasive, it might be hard to stem the source of the leak. However, your first step is paying close attention to the floors and noticing the signs.
Another big sign of water damage is staining on the walls. In some cases, you might notice what looking like a brownish or tan crease in the wall. That stain would be water damage coming through the drywall. You might also notice water stains on the ceiling – either directly below a bathroom or on the ceiling below the roof. If you notice staining below the roof, this could mean that rainwater is getting in. if you notice the stain below a bathroom, this could mean that you need to re-caulk the tub or the toilet.
Next, you can also sniff around for water damage. Yes, water damage can be detectable to the human nose. If you smell anything funny in a certain room and it seems like nothing can get rid of it, chances are that you are smelling water damage. This could be drywall rot, wood rot, mold, or even mildew. It will smell moist – kind of like wet laundry or towels. You might also smell something chalky or putrid. When your nose leads you to the water damage, all you have to do is diagnose the problem and have the damage removed.
Lastly, there are a number of ways to remove water damage or stop the water damage from spreading. Most water damage is caused by excess moisture in the air and requires the use of dehumidifiers and other indoor air quality products. Many people spend a fortune fixing water damage, but then realize that it keeps coming back. This is why it is important to be able to detect the damage and then take preventative measures so that it never comes back.