- Mold and mildew are fungi that readily spread through the release of spores. Researchers have identified more than 100,000 different varieties. Many are able to flourish indoors within 24 to 48 hours of landing on a damp surface and will continue to grow until remediated. Recessed areas or spaces that are difficult to access can be particularly susceptible to mold and mildew.
Often unsightly, molds consume organic materials—everything from wood trim to drywall—leaving rot behind. Mold and mildew also release toxins that can cause respiratory problems, allergic reactions and serious medical conditions.
- Corrosion happens when metal degrades. The cause may be incompatible metals connected and exposed to water or metals exposed to salts that cause a chemical reaction. Either way, metal—usually water pipes of copper, brass or galvanize steel—can corrode or rust and leak.
It’s not unusual to discover water damage behind dishwashers, under sinks or toilets, around showers or tubs, or behind clothes washing machines, for example, due to slow leaks. However, electrical wires exposed to water may also corrode, the issue not only inconvenient due to loss of power but also a fire hazard.
- Standing water can be the result of clogged drains, backups, leaks, cracks in a home’s foundation, or moisture from the ground or crawlspace vents, for example. It can also be heavy rain damage—the result of flooding, inclement weather, or a sump pump that simply doesn’t work or can’t keep up.
Standing water not only promotes mold and rot but also can weaken your home’s structural integrity. It can also draw unwanted pests like termites and rodents and serve as a breeding ground for bacteria. If it’s in an attic and associated with a faulty HVAC system, for example, it can cause damage from the top down in a home.
- Staining and warping are often telltale signs of water intrusion. Unfortunately, they’re often surface signs indicative of more pervasive problems. A roof may have leaks or faulty seals, gutters may be clogged or damaged, or ice dams may prevent the roof from shedding water properly. Ceilings or walls may have water stains and bubbling, or floors may develop warping from the swelling of the wood.
Often, behind the stained drywall or warped wood are more serious signs of water intrusion—soggy insulation that no longer insulates but holds mold well and wood framing that may show signs of rot, for example.
- Musty odors accompany water damage. Even when you can’t see the damage, you can often smell it as a musty smell that you just can’t seem to get rid of thanks to the rot, mold and bacteria associated with decay. The only way to rid your home of the smell is to find the source and complete the necessary repairs to eradicate it.
With homes often closed environments climate-controlled through an HVAC system, pinpointing the cause of the musty odor can be difficult. However, left untreated, the decay will progress, and the odor and its associated health challenges will only intensify.
Hidden Damages from Water Intrusion
The extent of damage resulting from moisture intrusion can range widely. A window replacement, for example, can be as simple as pulling trim and swapping in a replacement window, or it can be as complex as having to first remove and replace a portion of water-damaged wall components to install the window as new construction. Likewise, replacing siding can be as simple as installing matching replacement laps, or it can be as complex as having to remediate underlying layers before installing all new siding and trim on a home. The level of damage depends on how much water is involved, how long the water has been present and which parts of the home have been affected.