Water is one of the most common structure damaging elements. Whether from environmental sources or from internal water system failures, water damage is common and serious. Fifty to sixty years ago, it wasn’t uncommon to mop up a spill and let a structure dry on its own. Fifty or sixty years ago structures weren’t constructed of glue laminated woods, with air tight construction in order to improve energy efficiency. Fifty to sixty years ago we didn’t understand the prevalence and risks of microbial and other environmental contaminates.
Tighter building construction intended to improve energy efficiency can result in environmental water vapor becoming concentrated and trapped. Long term damages from such traps can result in loss of integrity of key structural components. Generally such damage is not discovered until it has reached a critical state. Modern laminated and pressed paper building materials are much more susceptible to such damage. This type of damage is generally not covered by insurance and doesn’t show up until years after the builders warranty expires. The goal in such instances is always to repair or replace key structural elements and finishes with minimal impact .
Water from external sources such as rain, irrigation systems overflows, water supply line failure (outside the structure), or sewage back up (again from outside the structure) generally are not covered by insurance unless resulting from some other covered event. All of these sources carry the added complication of introducing microbial contaminates into the structure.
Water from internal sources is becoming increasingly common. The more we expand delivery of water to different areas of a structure the more there is to go wrong. New homes have water delivery to multiple points in bathrooms (sinks, toilets, tubs, showers), kitchens (sinks, dishwashers, ice makers), laundry rooms, heat and cooling systems (baseboard steam heat), in floor heat, evaporative coolers), irrigation systems (hose bibs protruding through exterior walls), and most recently fire suppression systems. Water is everywhere in the modern home just waiting for a something to go wrong.
It is important that your repair contractor understand water migration. A water spill may be wiped up and surfaces appear dry, but water absorption and/or migration between building materials can retard the evaporative drying process. Water trapped in such locations can and often does result in microbial growth (whether mold, bacteria, parasites, etc.) or deterioration of building materials and structure. At Paragon Restoration & Building, we’ve repaired hundreds of water damaged homes.