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This time of year, in Long Beach Island, there are signs of fall all around us. Dropping temperatures, changing leaves, warm sweaters, pumpkin spice, all of these signs tell us that fall is indeed here. Looking for and noticing signs can not only alert us that there has been a change in seasons, but there are signs we can look for in our homes to tell us if water damage is present. In fact, being able to notice these signs and act on them quickly can greatly reduce the amount of damage done to your home.
Leaking water behind walls will create a musty smell as it is absorbed into porous materials like wood, drywall, sheetrock, and insulation. Because areas with excess water and moisture are extremely vulnerable to mold growth, they may begin to have a strong musty odor. The odor will only grow stronger as mold grows and spreads. If you notice a pungent moldy smell in a certain area of your home, it is a good indicator that there is a hidden water leak behind it.
Water from a leak inside the walls will absorb into drywall and sheetrock. As this water increases saturation, discoloration and staining will occur. Brown, tan, dark, and wet spots on walls and ceilings are often indicators of water leaks. If you notice spots that are changing in color or growing in size, have them checked – odds are they are being caused by a hidden water leak.
Too much moisture behind the walls will eventually cause paint and wallpaper to peel and bubble up. Once sheetrock has become fully saturated, the water will be pushed through it and come up behind paint and wallpaper. Flaking, peeling, and bubbling on walls are almost always signs of hidden water damage.
When too much water is present behind walls for extended periods of time, the sheetrock will bend and curve under the weight of the excess water. Warping can lead to structural damage, which compromises the integrity of the home. Ceilings can also begin to buckle when too much water has been absorbed, and floorboards can warp. Any changes in structures like walls, ceilings, and floors should be evaluated for hidden water damage.
Mold growth first appears in areas that have excess water and moisture. If a leak is occurring behind a wall, mold growth will begin within 48 hours of water exposure. Once mold begins growing, it will also begin to spread. If mold appears on your walls, baseboards, ceilings, or anywhere in your home (especially in areas that are not near any plumbing fixtures), there is a source of water feeding the old growth somewhere. Mold can appear as tiny spots, fuzzy in appearance, or in larger clumps. Ranging from greens to browns, blacks and even whites, mold can be many different colors. If you notice or suspect mold growth, do not attempt to clean it or remove it on your own. Call in professionals right away, who can not only handle mold cleanup but who can also address the hidden water leak causing mold to grow.