Though it isn’t always obvious, waiting too long before addressing water damaged fixtures and structures could cost you in more ways than one.

While many will fool themselves into believing that all is fine as long as things “look dry” on the surface, nothing could be farther from the truth. 

In fact, it is often what you don’t see that causes the most damage in the aftermath of water-damaged buildings and homes. For this reason, it is crucial that you contact a water restoration team as soon as possible after a water event has occurred to prevent your building or home from further exposure to harmful moisture.

Water and Time: Two Crucial Concerns

As previously mentioned, the longer you wait, the more damage can ensue when dealing with water-affected homes and commercial businesses. 

This is because, as time goes on, the excess moisture in the environment can encourage the growth of bacteria and fungi, while also doing a number on surfaces, flooring, structural framing, drywall and other materials. 

The more moisture that is present, the greater the risk that you, your home and your environment can become negatively affected.

Your Health

One of the biggest concerns surrounding water damage and your business or home, is the effect that it can have on your health. 

Because fungi and other forms of bacteria thrive in moist conditions, water damage can be of prime concern when looking at issues of health and safety. 

What’s worse is that the occupants of the structure who are at the most risk include pregnant women, children, those with suppressed immune systems, respiratory illnesses and more. These individuals should seek help immediately and should not stay within a water-affected structure or building, for any reason.

The following are factors that increase the risk of creating the kind of atmosphere needed to promote the growth of microbial activity: 

  • Little to no light
  • Spores
  • An organic food source 
  • Little to no air movement 

As such, it is the job of a professional remediation team to provide the elements and equipment needed to create an environment that is clean, stable and dry for the benefit of all occupants.

Structural Design

Another major concern for owners and occupants of structures that have suffered water damage is the threat of damage done to the structural elements of a home or business. This includes, but is not limited to, impacts on framing, drywall and flooring.

Framing- When it comes to framing and water damage, the type of material affected makes a major difference. From plywood to medium density fiberboard, or MDF, each material type will yield a different result when exposed to moisture.

In some cases, such as in the case of heavily engineered wood, or MDF, damage done to structural framing can occur in a matter of minutes, or even seconds. As such, it is crucial that home and business owners alike seek remediation help right away if they believe that the structural components of their residence or commercial business have been impacted by water.

Drywall- Another structural component that owners of water-affected properties should be on the lookout for is drywall. When drywall encounters moisture, it can become a breeding ground for mold and can lose its durability after becoming wet. This is especially true of drywall that lines the ceiling, as affected ceilings have the capability of sagging, or even caving in, if not immediately addressed. 

However, once dry, drywall can become stronger than it once had been. Nevertheless, it will require professional help for this to become a reality, and isn’t the case in every situation.

Flooring- Flooring is the element most typically affected by water damage, and, depending on the type, it can be a very time consuming and involved process to remediate. 

Depending on the severity of the situation, the type of water involved and the type of material afflicted, flooring that has become damaged by water can be tackled a variety of ways.

For example, water-affected carpet and padding may be resolved by drying both the carpet and padding in place, or may need to be ripped out and completely replaced. This depends largely on the category of loss, along with the amount of time that has elapsed between remediation and the water event itself. 

Harder, less porous surfaces, on the other hand, are a different matter, completely. Depending on the material, some flooring surfaces may need to be replaced, while some may not. 

In the case of traditional hardwood, most water damage cases will be resolved with effective and creative techniques set forth by the remediator. However, engineered hardwood, laminate hardwood, or even vinyl flooring, may be irrevocably damaged once they become wet. 

As always, confer with your remediation specialist to consider your options for redeeming or replacing your flooring.

Furniture and Belongings

As with the structural components of a home or business, furniture and personal belongings will need to be addressed after an impending water loss situation. Failing to address waterlogged belongings may cause them to have to be thrown away by a remediation team, if and when they see fit to do so.

Remember, the longer that your furniture and belongings sit with excess moisture in them, the more microorganisms have a chance to grow. Rather than risk it, it is much better to enlist the help of a remedial expert, as soon as possible.

Signs and Symptoms of Having Waited Too Long

Once a day or two has gone by and your water loss situation has remained unchecked, you may be looking at trouble in your future. Aside from immediately calling for help and removing any high-risk individuals from the immediate environment, owners of water-affected properties should keep watch for the following traits of water damage:

Environmental Signs:

  • The smell of mold or mildew
  • Visible mold or fungus growing on walls or materials
  • Excess moisture in the air
  • Pools of water throughout the home or business
  • Sudden imperfections in the walls or flooring

Health Symptoms: 

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy eyes 
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Inflammation of pre-existing conditions
  • Sudden illness
  • Sudden onset of unusual symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting or unexplained nausea

Always Seek Water Remediation Help, Quickly

Remember, water damage is something to be taken seriously. Even a minor water event is in need of immediate attention, as failing to do so can send a relatively small situation spiraling out of control. Always seek to contact your local water remedial specialist within 24 hours of an impending water loss event to avoid irrevocable consequences that could affect your overall safety and your health.