Moisture Damage; What to look for

Century 21 M&M Realtors say that now would be a good time check your home for moisture problems due to the heavy rains we’ve had in Northern California. As you know, the cumulative effects of moisture can not only have an adverse effect on your health, but also cause structural damage to your home.

Did you know that breathing the spores from mildew and mold can lead to toxic, mold-related reactions such as; immune disorders, pathogenic diseases and cancer? 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, you should be inspecting your home regularly for moisture damage. And, addressing the moisture issues early on can reduce water related structural damage and problems.

Where to look for Moisture Problems –

Bathrooms – If the water is not draining properly in your tub or shower, there may be serious damage to the plumbing system. Watch for soft areas and discoloration around the tub or shower surround, walls or bathroom flooring, you may be looking at signs of water damage. If the water is not draining properly in your tub or shower, there may be serious damage to the drains or pipes. Don’t forget to inspect the caulking, is it cracked or discolored?

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

Around the toilets – Search for leaks around the toilet seat, check the water lines behind the tank and check for leaks coming from under the tank. Look for signs of moisture on the floor around the toilet. Is the toilet flushing properly? Is there any discoloration, softness or buckling on the floor surrounding the toilet?

Roof – take a look at the 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. If your chimney isn’t protected by a chimney cap, there may be water damage to the interior areas of the chimney.

Foundation – 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 landscaping. 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.

Roof Gutters – Are your roof gutters and drains clogged? Clogged roof 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. It is important to make sure that roof gutters are emptying far enough away from foundation.

Windows – Check for discoloration and a soft or spongy feel to the walls around or under your windows. And, if you feel outside air leaks coming in around windows and doors, you may have damaged or missing seals which allow moisture penetration.

Attic – 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?

Basement – moisture in the basement is caused by moisture dripping 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.

As you can see, if you are inspecting your home regularly for moisture damage you should be able to reduce water related structural damage and problems.

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