Moisture Damage; What to Look For

The cumulative affects of moisture can not only cause structural damage to your house, but may also have an adverse affect on your health. Dampness and humidity promotes the growth of mold and mildew.

Are you aware that breathing the spores from mold and mildew can lead to toxic, mold-related reactions such as; immune disorders, pathogenic diseases and cancer? And, allergic reactions to mold and mildew may cause a multitude of physical symptoms including: painful headaches, disorientation, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, chronic asthma, rashes, open sores and chronic fatigue.

With these health hazards in mind, it is important to inspect your home regularly for moisture damage. Addressing these issues early on can reduce water related structural damage and problems with mold and mildew.

What to look for:

In bathrooms watch for discoloration or soft areas around the tub or shower surround, walls or bathroom flooring, you may be looking at the outward sign of internal damage. If the water is not draining properly in your tub or shower, there may be serious damage to the drains or pipes. Inspect the caulking, is it cracked or discolored?

In kitchens, check out the area under the sink, is there evidence of a leak from the trap or sink seals? Does the sink seem to drain too slowly? Inspect the backsplash above the sink, are there any cracked tiles, missing grout, or discolored caulking?

Around the toilets, check the water lines, search for leaks around the toilet seat, in the hose and under the tank. Look for signs of moisture on the floor around the toilet. Is the toilet flushing properly? Is there any discoloration or buckling on the floor surrounding the toilet?

Take a look at your roof from the street, if your roofing materials are curling and cracking you probably have a moisture intrusion and damage to the support structure especially around chimneys and exhaust fans. Is your chimney protected by a chimney cap? If not, there may be water damage to the interior areas of the chimney.

Check for standing water around the foundation and beneath the floors of your house, not only during the rainy season, but also after you water your plants and grass. This type of moisture problem could be causing damage to your home’s foundation, and may also be a breeding ground for mold, mildew and insects.

Are your gutters and drains clogged? Clogged gutters will push rainwater under shingles, possibly causing moisture to travel down the walls internally. Clogged drains on a flat roof may cause the water to pool increasing the risk of collapse of the entire roof under the weight.

Poorly installed windows and doors allow moisture to penetrate into the wall. Check for discoloration and a soft or spongy feel to the walls around or under your windows. And, if you feel outside air leaks Are the gutters are emptying far enough away from foundation. coming in around windows and doors, you may have damaged or missing seals which allow moisture penetration.

If you have a leak in your attic, you may first notice a stain on your ceiling. Check out the structural beams in your attic, do you see evidence of water stains? Is the insulation damp?

A wet basement is caused by moisture accumulations that drip through the foundations and in through the walls. The most obvious sign is standing water, however, an increased humidity and a musty odor also indicate evidence of moisture, mold and mildew. And, watch for discolorations or a spongy feel to the wall finishes.