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How to Spot Hidden Water Damage

Mold and Water Damage

Hidden water damage comes in many different forms and levels of severity, but it all amounts to the same thing: a homeowner’s nightmare. If you let hidden water damage go on too long, it will lead to serious and costly structural damage to your house. Water damage can come from a number of sources, including damaged or blocked gutters. There are several signs to look for when checking for hidden water damage -- it doesn’t have to remain “hidden.” Water can seriously impact not only the foundation of your home but also your health, so keep an eye out for these.

Gutter Clogs and Leaks

A leaking or clogged gutter can be the source of water damage, particularly when there are signs of damage in the basement or the bathroom. Gutters are an integral part of the infrastructure of a house, so if they experience deterioration, it will affect the quality of the house as a whole. If a gutter cracks, it can leak into the window wells and the basement, and if the gutter freezes, it can cause a backup or blockage that will cause water to spill over into your home’s foundation. A frozen or blocked up gutter can also lead to damage in the roof of your house, as the blocked water, with nowhere else to go, will pool under the shingles and cause a leak.

Foundation Damage

Worse still, mold and mildew that infiltrate your home’s foundation can lead to serious health issues for you and your family. A leaking gutter can be the cause of this as water drips down into your basement and provides a perfectly hospitable place for fungi and mold spores to develop. Severe water damage can also weaken the foundation of your home directly, and even cause the floor to seem soggy or soft in some places. Water damage cracks the foundation; this is especially prevalent in homes that have downspouts that drain less than four or five feet away from the walls. If water seeps into the seams of your home, that can even cause the walls to pull away as the sheetrock is infiltrated, leading to costly repairs in an effort to save your home.

How to Detect Water Damage

To fix the problem, you first have to spot it. As a homeowner, you will (hopefully) be able to tell when something isn’t quite right with your home. If the floor of your basement is wet or there are streaks down the walls, that is a sign that there is water damage -- likely from a clogged or broken gutter. If your gutters become clogged with shingle grit, that can be a sign that there is water damage hiding in your roof. Wood and peeling paint are also dead giveaways of water damage. Soggy or broken wood is a sign of water damage. If you just painted your house and are noticing this premature wear and tear on the paint, it's worth a little extra scrutiny.


Another way to tell if you have water damage is if the air quality in your home deteriorates and your health is impaired. If you notice that you or other members of your family are suffering from allergies or allergic reaction despite it not being allergy season, you could have mold spores infiltrating your home. This condition, if left alone, can be serious, so make sure that once these symptoms begin to appear that you know whether or not mold is the cause of the illness. An air quality assessment can help you make this determination, in the absence of any other direct evidence.

Hidden water damage, if left alone, can be not just a nuisance, but a dangerous problem as well, because water damage weakens the very foundation of your home and can lead to mold and fungi becoming trapped and making your family ill. Because neglected gutters are often a source of water leakages, having them inspected and serviced by professionals like the folks from in the DC area is a good place to start.

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