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Water Damage - Where is it Hiding in Your Home?

It's easy to see standing water if there is an issue, but there are many locations within the house that may not be as visible. Many parts in a house, insulation, wood studs, plywood sheathing, and subflooring do not mix well with water. Do you know where water may be hiding in your home?

There are quite a few areas inside the home you will want to keep an eye on for future water damage. Bathrooms are a huge area of contention when it comes to water issues. Why? We typically use them daily to shower and brush our teeth. Unless, of course, you have adopted the COVID two-day-a-week shower, then that is an entirely different issue we need to address. With tubs, showers, sinks and toilets there are numerous places water can create problems.

Take a look at your bathtub/shower. Is it a single, molded unit? If not, you likely have caulking around the rim of the tub and in between tiles or panels surrounding the tub. Caulking will eventually fail making it that much easier for water to leak behind and under causing damage to wood studs, framing materials and subflooring. If the caulking looks like it is beginning to pull away from the tub, turning odd colors or cracking, it's time to replace.

When the toilet wobbles, it likely mean the wax ring is beginning to deteriorate. A wax ring is pliable material that fits between the base of the toilet and the toilet flange that connects to the drainpipe. The wax ring is there to keep everything flushed down the toilet from flowing into your bathroom. If you see puddling around the base of your toilet, you may want to have the wax ring replaced.

Musty smells emanating from beneath sinks are good indications you have a leak. Slow drips may not be noticed enough to cause concern, but that water has to go somewhere. And, under sinks in kitchens and bathrooms are the perfect condition for mold to thrive. Damp and dark.

Dishwashers are designed to keep water in. Unfortunately, leaks can develop in the water supply lines or the drain lines. Because we don't often move a dishwasher unless a problem arises, we may not notice there are any issues to the subfloor.

If your home has had a flood, either from natural occurrences or through a line break, the drywall can become saturated. Even if the water dissipates quickly, this can still lead to mold growth behind the drywall and into the studs of the walls.

The outside of your home needs to be maintained as well to keep water damage at a minimum. Living in Indiana, we experience heavy rains, steady rains, torrential rains, light rains and, of course, there's the snow (if we ever get much anymore). Moisture damage leads to all kinds of issues on the outside of the home. From mold and mildew, to termites, water is their life force.

Rain can seep between the window sash and the jamb and make its way to the framing studs in the wall. This damage can lead to serious issues and serious dollars. If you own an older home, the windows may have layer upon layer of paint. With the change in seasons and age, that paint begins to crack. Any crack, no matter how minuscule, will allow water in slowly rotting away the wood. An easy way to check your window sills for breakdowns is to use a flathead screwdriver and firmly press along the sill. If the screwdriver sinks, there is damage to the wood.

While checking the sills of your windows, don't forget about the threshold of your exterior doors. Especially if your exterior doors are not protected by a covered porch, it is constantly being bombarded with weather. Rain, sleet and snow will cause that threshold to deteriorate. Even if the wood is treated, the constant barrage will eventually rot it away.

Roofs provide numerous points of water intrusion if not sealed properly. Chimneys, vents, and exhaust fans all make their way up through the house to the rooftop. If not properly flashed and sealed, water will run right down those pipes and into the attic, if not all the way to the foundation, causing major damage.

Unsealed gaps in siding are another overlooked area of water intrusion. The corners of the house and where siding meets the trim of windows and doors are most susceptible. Damage from hail storms or baseballs are also prime areas for water intrusion.

Water that gets into these unprotected areas will cause the plywood sheathing beneath to rot and mold.

There are so many hidden locations for water damage in a home! Make sure to recognize the signs of water issues. If your house has a musty smell or areas in walls and ceilings that are discolored, you are possibly looking at water issues. If you think you may have issues and you can't pinpoint just exactly where the leak may be, give us a call or call your local plumber to help.


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