Assessing a Home for Signs of Water Damage

Posted on: 31 October 2016

There are a lot of things to be on the lookout for when purchasing a new home. Few, however, are more important than signs of past water damage, which may have compromised the structural integrity of the house in serious ways. If you are in the market for a new home and would like to learn more about recognizing signs of water damage, read on. This article will discuss two important points of inspection.

Interior Trim

The sneaky thing about water damage is that, even when severe or repeated flooding has occurred, the signs aren't always immediately obvious. Therefore, you've got to be a bit of a sleuth to detect lingering signs. One of the most important places to check is interior trim—particular that installed along the baseboards of walls as well as the trim on the floor beneath doors.

If you're serious about buying a home, but you suspect it may have suffered past water damage, talk to the realtor or seller about removing some of the trim. The idea is that the back or underside of such trim is often where telling clues are left behind, usually in the form of staining, mold growth, or even rot. Likewise, the wall behind the trim may bear such telltale signs. That's because the gap between the trim and the wall tends to retain water for a long enough time for permanent problems to set in.

Carpet Tack Strips

Tack strips are attached to the floor around the perimeter of rooms with wall-to-wall carpeting. The carpet, which is stretched over the slanted tacks, is thus held firmly in place. Many times, even when old carpet is removed and new carpet is installed, the former tack strips are left on the floor. This makes the tack strips—as well as the OSB subfloor to which they are attached—very helpful in detecting past water damage.

Ask to pull back the corner of the carpeting to inspect the tack strip. Light staining is a clue that there had been some isolated flooding incident in the past. Likewise, you may notice that the OSB next to the tack strip appears especially rough—often a sign that the floor has been exposed to water in the past. If you notice what you think might be signs of water damage, don't hesitate to pull back more carpet to get a better look at the big picture.

Heavier flooding is easier to detect. Here you will notice rust on the tacks as well as rust stains on the strips around them. Similarly, the ink from the label printed on the tack strip may have become smeared or have bled illegibly. Signs like these can often be verified conclusively by inspecting the trim around the nearest wall.

Talk to a company such as Althouse Restore for more information about water-damage restoration. 

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Fixing Up Your Home

When I was a kid, I always loved helping my dad with projects around the house. It was a lot of work, but I learned how to do really important things like work with my hands, paint, glue wood together, and nail things together the right way. When I became an adult and purchased my first home, I knew that I wanted to make my place a palace, so I started working hard to fix things up. I spent a lot of time going through and making plans, choosing materials, and then completely renovating the house from the ground up. This blog is all about fixing up your first place.