When it comes to water damage, a little bit goes a very long way. What began as a minuscule leak can turn into significant flooding in no time. Water damage can wreak havoc on the walls, floors, and infrastructure of a home.
Left untreated, water damage from leaks and flooding can lead to damage to your home and risks to your health. It’s important to identify the signs of water damage as quickly as possible.
Most people think of water stains on drywall when they think of water damage. But do you know how to identify signs of water damaged wood?
Keep reading to learn what you need to know.
1. Water Stains
Water stains occur when water gets trapped behind the porous surfaces of your home. They will look like yellow-brown discoloration and they may grow gradually over time as the leak persists.
You might also notice water rings on your wood floors and furniture. They look like white rings that result from water stains. You can remove them by scrubbing and vacuuming the area, then rubbing oil on it.
Water stains are not a small problem. They may start out small, but they can lead to other major and costly types of water damage.
Water damage creates the perfect environment for mold to grow. Mold thrives in wet, warm, and dark environments.
The really scary thing about mold is that it grows behind the surfaces of your home, making it difficult to detect before it has spread. You may smell mildew before you actually see the mold.
When you do detect mold in your home, it is crucial that you take care of it right away. Mold is airborne and can spread to other areas of your home. It also gets into your indoor air supply and can cause health problems.
3. Soft Boards
When water damage has reached a critical point, you will notice that your wooden floorboards have become soft. This is a sign of extensive water damage. Soft floorboards are entirely rotted out and require replacement.
If your floorboards are soft it can also mean the water damage has spread to your subfloor. If it reaches the subfloor, it can easily spread to the ceiling of the room below it and onward.
4. Peeling Paint
If you start noticing the paint peeling off of your wooden floors and furniture, it is a sign of water damage. At the least, it might mean the room is too humid. At the worst, it means there is something leaking behind the wood.
5. Swelling Planks
Like mold and soft floorboards, swelling planks are another sign that a leak has been growing for a prolonged period of time. Floorboards begin to swell because they have absorbed a significant amount of excess water.
When floorboards swell they push against each other and cause the surface of the floor to become uneven. If ignored, this will allow water to leach into the cracks between the boards and spread to the subfloor.
Dangers of a Water Damaged Home
Leaving water damage untreated can cause significant damage to your home. It can also become a serious health hazard. Here’s what can happen if you don’t address and remedy water damage right away.
Threats to the Home
Water damage caused by leaks and flooding threatens the safety of your home in many ways. It can cause overall weakening of the structure as well as the floors and drywall. It can even damage concrete and brick surfaces.
Water damage can corrode your pipes and damage your electrical system. It also causes mold, musty odors, and permanent staining of floors and walls.
Threats to Your Health
Water damage also poses many major health risks. Trapped moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria and other toxins. Depending on the source of the water, it can contain and spread chemicals throughout your home.
In addition to bacteria, water damage attracts insects, fungus, and mold. Insects lay their eggs in moist environments and mold causes respiratory infections, worsened allergies, and chronic headaches.
What Can You Do to Remedy Water Damaged Wood?
When you notice the signs of water damage in your home, it is important to take action to remedy the situation right away. Here’s what you need to do.
Identify the Source of the Leak
First, you need to determine what is affecting the leak. Did a pipe burst? Is your roof leaking? Did the basement flood?
Whatever the cause, you can’t do anything to fix it until you know what is going on.
Make sure you evaluate the source of the leak thoroughly. It is important to be certain you have contained the leak and that it isn’t a much larger problem than it appears.
Once you’ve identified the source, get to work on drying it quickly.
Dry the Area
If the source of the water damage turns out to be a leaky pipe, turn off the water to that part of the house if you can. Then proceed by mopping and wiping away any excess moisture from the affected area.
It may also help to use a vacuum cleaner. The suction will ensure you get the majority of the moisture out of the surfaces of your home. A vacuum is especially helpful for getting moisture out of wood.
Be careful to avoid applying heat to the affected area while drying it. The heat coupled with moisture creates the ideal breeding ground for mold. Heat also causes porous materials to expand.
A fan is your best option for drying out the area thoroughly.
It is important to make sure the water damage has not spread to the subfloor. If you fail to completely dry the subfloor, it can cause your floorboards to warp from the trapped moisture.
In addition to incorporating fans in the drying process, it is important to ventilate the room containing water damage. Open any windows and doors you are able to. It can also help to use a dehumidifier.
Always Carry Flood Insurance
The best way to spare yourself from suffering the financial impact of flood damage is to make sure you always carry flood insurance. Flood insurance provides financial protection for your property and belongings.
You can read this article to learn more about why you should get flood insurance for your home in Texas.
Learn What You Need to Know About Water Damaged Wood
Water damaged wood is a huge danger to your home and your health. Signs of water damage to wood surfaces include discoloration, stains, warping and softening of floorboards, and the presence of mold.
If you notice any of these things in your home it is imperative to find the source of the water and deal with it as soon as possible.
Do your water damage problems require the help of a trained professional? Make sure to check out more articles like this next.