Suppose you have water damage due to a natural disaster, plumbing failure, user error, or any other cause. In that case, we are ready to respond quickly, address the problem, and begin repair and restoration as soon as conditions allow. From residential properties to business facilities, our team is expertly qualified to solve your water damage problem.
Exploring the common causes of water damage can help inform the methods used for restoration, as well as help create strategies and policies for preventing similar damage in the future. Rectifying problems such as the absence of proper drainage or infrequent maintenance can help avoid big expenses down the road. Common causes of water damage include:
Plumbing components can be a particularly insidious cause of water damage, as they are often located in hidden areas. Sometimes the earliest evidence of damage from a leaking pipe or fitting might be the musty, moldy smell. By that time, there is almost certainly extensive damage. A stain on a ceiling or wall surface can be another indicator of a plumbing leak, which is usually noticed sooner than an interior leak with no outward visible evidence.
Copper pipes and fittings are made to last a very long time, but temperature changes, physical stress, or improper installation methods can cause even the most durable materials to fail. Unregulated water pressure is another reason for pipe and fitting failure. An improperly soldered plumbing fitting can develop a pinhole leak that goes undetected. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), plumbing leaks account for about 14% of annual household water consumption. This translates into 10,000 wasted gallons a year for every US home.
Mechanical problems include examples such as failure of a toilet’s internal components, safety shutoff devices that become worn or stuck, timer-activated valves that fail to shut off, or broken plumbing pieces that become lodged inside pipes. Irrigation systems commonly have valves or sprinkler heads that fail, and you’ve probably seen many flooded parking lots and sidewalks due to someone’s damaged irrigation equipment. As with leaking pipes and fittings, mechanical failures can be due to age, physical damage, improper use, and installation.
Household and commercial appliances have an expected lifespan but are often used well beyond that time period. As washing machines, dishwashers, water heaters, water softeners, and RO filters age, their components deteriorate. One of the earliest failures is weakened hoses, which are overdue for replacement.
If a water heater has reached the end of its expected useable life, most owners are reluctant to replace it since it’s still working. Nearly all water heaters are replaced only after they have begun to leak. If the owner is lucky, it will be a slow leak. But some water heaters burst, spilling their entire capacity into a laundry room, hall closet, or garage. Dishwashers and clothes washing machines typically develop leaks only when they are in use, and most people don’t regularly monitor those appliances. Sometimes they leave the house during a wash cycle, allowing a large scale of damage to develop.
While not strictly part of the plumbing, HVAC systems, specifically when used as cooling systems, can cause water damage. Air conditioning creates a lot of condensation – enough to require proper drainage to the building’s exterior. This drainage is usually accomplished with PVC pipe and fittings, the same material used in irrigation systems. PVC is normally used underground and is much less tolerant of physical stress than copper pipe. The material can develop cracks, and the glued fittings, especially if improperly installed, can also fail. Many AC units have a drip pan underneath to collect any stray condensation. If the AC unit is located in an attic, crawlspace, or other hidden location, and this drip pan overflows, the resulting water damage can go undetected for a long time.
Sinks and bathtubs are sometimes left unattended while filling and result in water damage from overflow. Toilets can have their internal mechanisms fail. When caught early enough, these mishaps might result in a small spill that can easily be wiped up. In rare cases, overflowing bathtubs have been known to cause a large portion of the floor to collapse. Water weighs about eight pounds per gallon, and a typical bathtub holds about 42 gallons. That’s 336 pounds, plus the weight of the tub itself. Tubs and sinks have overflow drains, of course. But if the overflow is partially obstructed, the water spills on the floor. Once the water has a chance to seep into the floor and migrate along the baseboards, the damage is inevitable.
A sewer backup is many property owners’ worst nightmare. A blockage can cause this in the main sewer line, household plumbing, or the toilet itself. Other causes include a pressure imbalance in the mainline, tree roots invading the pipes, or older plumbing deteriorating.
Older sewer pipes are cast iron, and really old ones were made of clay. These materials develop pitting and deposits, leading to blockage. Some sewer systems cannot handle the high volume of a severe storm, and if they are over capacity, they can cause backups. When you have a sewage backup, the resulting damage is not limited to the toilet. Since all building plumbing is interconnected, sewage backups can end up coming out of sinks and tubs, as well as any other plumbed fixture. This can make for an especially unpleasant and hazardous situation and will require extensive cleanup and restoration. Most home and business owners tend to have their plumbing inspected and cleaned only after a problem has already happened.
Gutters are designed to properly drain water off of your roof and route it away from the building. When they become blocked due to leaves and sediment, water can spill over the edge of the roof and onto the building’s surface, possibly seeping into the structure. Gutters can also come loose from their anchor points, or their connecting joints may no longer fit tightly.
Other external drainage problems might include an improperly graded lot, which could route water back towards the building instead of away from it. Physical obstructions such as piles of dirt or rocks might also prevent water from draining away properly.
Window frames are often designed with “weep holes,” which are meant to channel rainwater or condensation away from the window frame and onto the exterior building wall. If obstructed, the water could end up inside the wall and into the insulation.
Tornadoes, tropical storms, hurricanes, monsoons…any severe weather conditions that bring heavy rain can cause flooding. Flooding can erode the supporting soil around a foundation, compromising the structural integrity of a building, which can result in unsafe conditions. Heavy flooding can create large areas of standing water inside a building, making a breeding ground for mold, bacteria, and insect life. Although you can’t control or prevent a natural disaster, you can take precautions and make preparations for handling the potential damage as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Water contamination is categorized into three levels:
Water damage is further divided into four classes of probable evaporation rate and is based on the kind of materials that have been flooded. This classification is often the first step in determining the type of equipment and methods that will be used to dry the area and begin restoration.
Depending on the building material, water can cause various kinds of surface and structural damage. These include:
If wood surfaces are quickly dried and dehydrated as necessary, rot can be avoided. If water is allowed to soak into the wood and remain there, rot can set in.
Dry rot spores can germinate within seven days if the wood becomes damp enough. The name is a bit misleading, as so-called dry rot needs about 20% moisture to germinate. It can then spread far beyond the damp area and is therefore considered a more serious problem than wet rot. Signs of dry rot include visible spore dust, gray strands resembling spider web, visible white, yellow, brown patches, a musty smell, and brittle or damaged wood fibers.
Wet rot needs about 50% moisture to germinate and is confined to the damp area. Signs of wet rot include flaking or peeling paint, isolated patches of visible fungus, wood that has a soft, spongy texture, crumbling areas, a damp, musty smell, and a darkened color.
Of all the consequences of water damage, mold is one of the worst and one of the most difficult to remove. Many varieties of mold commonly grow in water-damaged homes and businesses, some of which produce dangerous mycotoxins. Mycotoxins result from so-called “black mold” and present a serious health risk for the occupants of the building. This is particularly concerning for people with underlying health issues such as asthma and other respiratory conditions. Mold growth requires a professional evaluation to determine the variety and level of toxicity. Certain types of mold also produce enzymes that can physically erode and destroy building materials. Home or business owners should not attempt to handle toxic molds and should engage professional mold remediation experts to clean, sanitize, and remove materials as needed. Any soft or porous materials which are found to contain mold must be removed and replaced.
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Water stains on hard surfaces are easily mitigated. The resulting discoloration is usually cosmetic and can be cleaned and sanitized. Stains on soft items such as drapery and linen can be cleaned as well unless mold has formed. A stain is sometimes an indicator of a more serious problem, and stains that harbor mold cannot be remediated by painting over them. Prompt cleaning and dehumidifying can keep stains from becoming something worse. All stains should be professionally evaluated for possible mold growth.
Water can damage metal surfaces with rust. If it is discovered early enough, rust can be mitigated, and the material will not need replacement. Surface rust on steel beams and other framing components is unsightly but not dangerous. Rust that goes untreated can corrode metal components enough to weaken them and reduce their weight-bearing capacity. Metal fasteners that support a drop ceiling should be inspected for rust damage, along with any other metal structures that hold weight.
Swelling And Delaminating
Plywood, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), composite wood products such as particleboard, and laminated surfaces are all manufactured by bonding fibers, strands, shavings, veneers, or boards of wood products together. This is done with various adhesives, binders, and resins. Upon contact with water, these products will absorb the water, causing the material to swell and deform. Also, in the case of laminated products such as plywood and veneers, the layers of the product will begin to come apart as the water neutralizes the binders and adhesive. Any material that has swollen or delaminated cannot be reformed or returned to its previous condition or shape and is considered unrepairable. Even if an owner decides they can live with the damaged appearance, composite wood products that have had water damage are an excellent place for mold to grow. The material must be removed and replaced.
We begin your water damage restoration process with a detailed inspection. This includes a loss assessment and an evaluation of all affected materials. Using state-of-the-industry equipment such as hygrometers, infrared cameras, and moisture meters, we determine the source of the water and the extent of the damage in your home or business. Once the water source is controlled, we address the most dangerous issues first. This includes extracting any standing water and addressing any dangerous structural failure. We then begin the removal and disposal of non-salvageable materials. We will also remove undamaged or repairable contents, if needed, and place them in temporary storage.
Once the most extreme problems have been addressed, we will begin pre-cleaning and prioritizing restoration steps. Mold remediation will be started as soon as it is safe to do so, to prevent further spread and infestation. All affected building materials that were not removed and replaced are sanitized with surface application of disinfectants, UV light treatment, and chemical fog, as needed.
According to industry standards, we return to your property daily during the drying process to monitor the temperature, humidity and penetrated moisture levels in all affected surfaces and building components. The dryers, HEPA air scrubbers, and specialized dehumidifiers work to reduce moisture content level to 15%. This is considered the industry standard threshold for an anti-microbial environment.
2243 Pembroke Road, Hollywood, FL 33020
Broward: 954 (239-7277)
Dade: 305 (239-8788)
Palm Beach: 561 (404-4465)
No matter how extensive your water damage is, rest assured that we will use every professional method and every piece of industry-standard equipment to restore your property to its fully excellent condition. Our expert technicians are among the best in the industry, and we look forward to your successful restoration.