There are a variety of ways to conduct water damage inspection in your home, but the simplest is a visual search for stains, discolorations, distortions or any combination of the three. These signs can occur on the walls, ceilings or floors of your home. Visual cues can warn of mild or severe water damage that could be costly to repair, depending on the extent of the damage. Further indications of water damage include unusual musty smells from mold or mildew, dark stains on the grout between tiles, warped or cracked surfaces and soft spots on otherwise solid areas.
Often, discolorations on a ceiling or walls are caused by water, which can carry dye, dirt or chemicals from the exterior of your house through to the visible interior surface. The first step in identifying the cause is to check the attic or roof of your home for holes, cracks or missing shingles. Then continue your water damage inspection by checking for warping, cracking or stains to wood paneling, fixtures, window frames or cabinets. These signs often point to the two most common causes of water damage: leaking or broken pipes and damaged or improperly fitted windows.
You might also find other signs in bathrooms, kitchens or any other room with a sink, faucet and water fixtures. Look for dark brown or black stains that can discolor the grout and sealant between tiles or where fixtures attach to walls or counters. These discolorations are usually only indications that a deeper water damage inspection might be required to uncover problems in the walls and floor around the sink, bathtub or toilet. This damage might not be visible to the naked eye but can penetrate deeply into the underlying wood or drywall.
Additional signs could be apparent in the basement, which is the next place you should check to complete your water damage inspection. Search for stained floors and carpets, standing water and distorted or cracked support beams and drywall. Any musty odors, cracks in the walls or floor and warped or rotting hard surfaces, such as wood or concrete, might indicate further water saturation or damage to areas that you cannot inspect on your own.
You should consult with a water damage inspection professional to learn the full extent of the damage. Professionals use specialized equipment that can determine precisely how much moisture is in your home. The inspector probably will be able to confirm your findings and inform you of any water damage that you are unable to see through self-inspection. Professionals generally will be able to answer further questions, give you advice on ways to avoid water damage in the future and offer price estimates or recommendations on where to turn for repairs.