How-To Identify and Repair Water Damage

How-To Identify and Repair Water Damage

You may think that if you do not live in a flood-prone region, you do not need to worry about the possibility of water damage in your home. Unfortunately, incorrect landscaping, poor ventilation, heavy rains and similar factors can all lead to water damage even without a flood.

Signs of Water Damage

Standing water in a concrete basement, of course, is an obvious indicator of potential water damage. Unfortunately, identifying water damage is not always quite so easy. In wood flooring, for example, the only initial sign may be a bowing or buckling in the flooring. Water can cause the wood panels to warp, and eventually even rot, potentially destroying an expensive wood floor. You might notice damage to drywall as well, although this is somewhat less common since it is not found on the floor. Water damage to drywall tends to be particularly rapid and devastating — the drywall quickly softens and disintegrates when exposed to water. Ceiling panels, whether made from wood, drywall or any other substance, are also vulnerable to water damage. Although this is a more unusual location for water damage, ceilings can still be impacted by a leak in a roof or a water pipe.

Negative Effects of Water Damage

Water damage can have multiple types of harmful impacts on your home. On one end of the spectrum is simple cosmetic damage — although repairing or replacing the damaged materials can still be extremely expensive. On the other end of the spectrum is potentially significant structural damage, which can take place if water damage last long enough to begin rotting support beams, joists and the like. In that case, you will likely need to hire an outside contractor to make the necessary repairs.

Water damage can also potentially be very harmful to your health and that of your family. Most water damage will quickly contribute to the growth of mold and mildew. This mold often produces toxins and allergens that can cause or worsen rashes, congestion, asthma, headaches and similar symptoms. For individuals with pre-existing breathing-related disorders, this mold can be especially problematic, or even deadly in worst-case scenarios. Additionally, depending on the source of the water that is causing your damage, it may carry bacteria that could lead to even more serious health conditions.

Repairing Water Damage

The specific steps you will need to take to repair your water damage will depend on the specific material involved. Concrete is probably the easiest material to repair, since it will likely not have experienced any actual structural damage. In most cases, all that will be necessary is drying any remaining water, then scrubbing the area with a concrete cleaner that includes an antimicrobial solution to kill any mold or mildew that has developed. Keep in mind that water damage in a basement or crawlspace can be partially due to poor ventilation, leading to an accumulation of water condensation. Ensuring that all of your basement vents are clean and unblocked should help relieve the condensation issue; in some cases you may also need to install ventilation fans or dehumidifiers to help remove the excess moisture from the air.

If the area that has been damaged by the water is carpeted, you may have to actually replace that section of carpet. However, you should first try drying the section of carpet thoroughly, then cleaning it with an antimicrobial carpet cleaner and deodorizer. You may also need to pull up a thick carpet to allow the padding underneath it to dry.

Water-damaged drywall will most likely need to be replaced unless the damage is extremely superficial. Fortunately, this is not extraordinarily difficult. Simply remove the drywall sheet that contains the damaged area, and replace it with a fresh sheet. Tape and spackle the seams between the new sheet and those on either side of it, then paint over the entire wall. Repairing damaged wood flooring, or wood paneling on a wall or ceiling, is a similar process. If you can locate the exact material you used in the original paneling, you will likely be able to replace only the damaged panels. Otherwise, you may need to replace the entire wall.

Preventing Future Water Damage

Of course, all your efforts to repair your water damage will be a waste of time if the same thing happens again. Therefore, you should also take steps to prevent the water from returning. Depending on your specific cause, this could mean regrading the area around your house to allow water to drain away from it properly; it could mean installing waterproof flooring and similar materials that will not take damage when exposed to water; or it could mean checking all of your home’s water pipes and resealing those that are leaking. Time-consuming and inconvenient though these tasks may be, they are still much less of a hassle than dealing with another, more serious water damage outbreak.


  1. one
    Comment by Bea@W South Beach: Apr 24, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    Water damage can also cause mold problems and these issues often occur simultaneously. It is important to remove water damage and mold issues in your home, but first solve the moisture issues by repairing any leaks. If you don’t do this, the mold and water damage will return.

  2. two
    Comment by johnmerchant@Water Pipe: May 4, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    This is really very nice and informative post regarding water damaging and you can explain each and everything and it is the basic need of water treatment. This is very nice thanks for sharing.

  3. three
    Comment by chris@ Home renovations Ottawa: May 7, 2012 at 3:23 AM

    Wow, great tips!! I will surely advise these tips to my sister whose flooring renovation work is going to be started this week. I will tell her especially about the waterproof flooring.

  4. four
    Comment by Julie@Woodfloors-online: May 10, 2012 at 7:54 AM

    Water can really damage your wood floor. As you said installing a waterproof flooring is the best solution. In the meantime if you are not sure you can always install a good flooring underlay to prevent from any minor water damage

  5. five
    Comment by john@water leaks: May 15, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    Water problem is very common problem in almost every house or building. Most and common sign of leakage is dripping noise of water and you can repair it temporary with fixation material but you need to hire professionals for it.

  6. six
    Comment by Kevin@ Impact Windows Miami, Impact Windows Fort Lauderdale: Jun 19, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    Repairing your water damage in your home is very important. If the damage continues to destroy your floor that you need to do something to prevent more damage. You can have all the fancy windows and doors that we have to protect your home from external influences but the internal issues must be dealt with quickly.

  7. seven
    Comment by Anna: Aug 8, 2012 at 7:22 AM

    Awesome,great tips..Water problem is very common problem in almost every house or building. Water can really damage your wood floor. I will especially look about the waterproof flooring and carpet cleaning.

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