Water is crucial in your daily life but can also disrupt your routine and damage your property. When it enters your home through a flood, leaky roof, burst pipe, or appliance failure, overwhelming mess and costly issues can arise in mere seconds.
Worse, storm or appliance water leak damage can lead to further problems if not addressed promptly and correctly. Water and the excessive moisture created can damage your home’s components, compromising your wood framing, insulation, and even its foundation.
As a team that has restored properties from different kinds of water damage, we’d love to help you prepare for whatever event may affect your home. Below we share expert tips to follow after water damage to address both existing and potential problems.
#1: Understand the Different Types of Water Damage
Before anything else, it pays to know that not all water damage events are equal. The source of the water damage and its contamination type will dictate the proper steps to mitigate it.
There are three main types of water damage:
Category 1 (Clean Water Damage)
Category 1 water damage typically comes from tub and sink overflows, broken water lines, and melting snow or ice. Since the water does not contain harmful chemicals, this category carries a low risk of contamination and can be cleaned easily.
Category 2 (Gray Water Damage)
Category 2 water damage happens when the water comes from a source that may contain chemicals and contaminants, such as dishwashers, washing machines, toilets, and rainwater.
Category 3 (Black Water Damage)
Black water damage is hazardous and occurs when sewage overflows, water from rivers or streams rises, or other weather-related conditions cause floods. This type of water contains harmful pathogens and should be handled by professionals.
#2: Document Your Losses – Take Photos
Regardless of your water event and contamination category, taking pictures of the affected areas and items in your property is crucial.
Documenting your losses before conducting any cleanup, disposal, or demolition sets you up to file a successful insurance claim. Ultimately, this can help you get the best compensation for any necessary repairs or replacements.
#3: Prevent Additional Damage
Once you have sufficient documentation of the damage, it’s a good idea to find ways to prevent further issues if you have safe access to the affected area.
For example, if you experienced an appliance water leak damage, stopping the source and quickly mopping the excess water can help keep the problem from worsening. If your property has been affected by a flood, buckets, pumps, and wet/dry vacuums can be used to remove the standing water and help dry the building.
However, it’s best to call the professionals and leave the cleanup job to them if you have gray or black water contamination. A professional and experienced restoration team will know how to address water damage safely and efficiently.
#4: Get Ceiling Water Damage Fixed Immediately
Any structure compromised by water is dangerous, but soaked ceilings can be more problematic because there’s also gravity to consider. The slightest mistake can cause ceilings to crack and eventually collapse.
If you notice sagging ceilings inside your home, it’s best to identify its cause immediately. For instance, if the ceiling water damage is caused by a roof leak, locating the source can prevent more water from entering. This ultimately makes the repairs more effective and long-lasting.
#5: Seal Newly Installed Floors
Your floor’s underlayment and padding are particularly vulnerable to water and moisture. So if a toilet overflow, dishwasher leak, or any other issue caused extensive hardwood floor water damage, removing and installing new flooring is necessary in most cases.
If you need to remove and replace your floors, it’s a good idea to consider engineered wood materials or waterresistant options like ceramic tile or high-end vinyl. These can help keep spills and leaks from reaching the underlayment and subfloor. Lastly, seal any new wooden parts to give your freshly installed floors extra protection.
#6: Actively Look for Signs of Water Damage in Walls
While water damage can hide behind walls, the good news is that it can also present noticeable warning signs. If you suspect a slow leak is present inside your walls, be on the lookout for these signs:
- Flaking, peeling, or bubbling paint
- Warped walls
- Visible mold
- Must odors
- Water stains or damp patches on walls or ceilings
- Unexplained increase in your water consumption
Unchecked water and moisture can cause wood rot and other structural problems, so it’s best to get professional help when you notice water damage in walls. Restoration experts can find and address the water source, thoroughly dry your walls, and repair and refinish the affected surfaces.
#7: Watch Out for Mold
Water damage events create conditions that are favorable for mold. With the right temperature, food source, and excessive moisture, microbial growth can begin within 72 hours – and continue to spread until it is addressed.
This is why removing water and moisture promptly after the water damage event is crucial. The longer your home stays damp, the more mold can grow and multiply.
It’s also a good idea to look for the following warning signs of mold after a natural disaster or water emergency:
- Musty odors that don’t go away
- Water stains on walls or ceilings
- Bubbling paint or warped walls
- Allergies, congestion, coughing, or skin rashes that appear when you’re indoors.