Water Damage Can Happen Almost Anywhere
It’s a scene that we know all too well from movies. Bring on the old haunted house, the curious yet naïve teenagers, the flashlights, the creepiness of it all. And suddenly, it happens. One poor soul falls through the floorboards. We all cringe (or even laugh) at the misfortune of it. It seems so Hollywood to us.
Yet, it’s a reality that many have to face after water damage. Structural damage is one of the largest dangers that homeowners must face as the wood used in a house’s foundation or floor can be structurally compromised and cause injury to the unsuspecting. But let’s look deeper into why and how such structural damage occurs. Wood, as we all know, is a material made from living trees. When these trees are still standing and alive, fibers run along its trunk to deliver water to the top. It’s quite a remarkable idea, using water properties such as the capillary effect to defy gravity and pull water to the top of even the highest trees, such as the Sequoia which can stand to nearly 300 feet tall. A simple analogy of how a tree gets its supply of water is like a straw in a soda can. Nature sure is smart. Yet, when the trees are cut and manufactured into the floorboards and support beams we use today for our homes, these fibers shrink in thickness as it dries out. We all know this effect when we cut a flower and notice it start to dry and wilt.
Naturally, even when the floorboard is installed into a new home, the moisture content within the board will shrink and expand, due to hotter or colder weather. Yet, this is usually a negligible margin and rarely is it ever lead to structural damage. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said to a catastrophe such as water damage. Water damage can occur from severe weather, a malfunctioning water pipe, a compromised water pump and other “facepalm” events. As we all know, water holds a lot of moisture within itself and when in contact with wood, will be absorbed into the “dead” fibers within the floorboards. As saturation increases above 30 percent, which is known as the fiber saturation point, the wood will begin to swell and its dimensions will change. This will compromise the structural integrity of the wood and will cause stress and strain. A great way to illustrate this is like a jigsaw puzzle that has been soaked in water. The pieces will begin to fall apart as its dimensions are no longer like the original. This can cause serious risk to injury and unlike the movies in Hollywood where the victim, after the plunge of 10 feet looks up and says comically “I’m ok”, in reality, luck like that is hard to come by. Take the necessary precautions by inspecting curious areas where the floor may be creaking or have noticeable swells or dips.
Another Visible Hazard of Water Damage Is Mold
Mold is a multicellular fungus that grows in humid and moisturized environments. Water in floorboards, as discussed above, will have its moisture content dramatically increased, allowing mold to grow at an exponential rate. You can easily detect the presence of mold by its odor, which is described as musky and earthy. Its appearance is spotty and granularly, usually a dark green color.
Ways to prevent and detect mold in a more sophisticated way is to use an air test performed as a precaution that can signal the presence of mold spores. Also, be sure to control the moisture in your own home to a reasonable level and to check bathroom pipes and other areas that are known for its moisture, such as around the bathroom or kitchen sink.
Water damage is, as stated numerous times, a problem that sometimes cannot be avoided. It is then important to take the necessary steps and precautions to avoid the visible hazards of water damage: structural damage and mold.
If you have water damage or mold in your home, call Restoration Local 24/7 at 1-888-443-3110 for a free estimate!