Floods – The 3 Scariest Things That Put Your House at Risk

Household Floods Lead to Mold, Cracked Foundations and Decaying Beams

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A home might have any number of scary structural problems, from mold to a cracked foundation to decaying beams. But what really gets home inspectors’ blood boiling?

“The three things that are going to damage your house most are water, water, and water,” says Larry Stamp, owner of Cameo Home Inspection Services in Olympia, WA.

After all, most of those “scary structural problems” stem from household floods. Mold? Give it up for water. Cracked foundation? There are many causes, but a main one is water. And decaying beams? Almost certainly water.

If you’re concerned about moisture-driven maladies, we recommend calling in a licensed home inspector. But if you’re not sure if water’s worth worrying about, here are some ways to see if your home’s at risk.

1. Wobble the toilet

Does your toilet slide from side to side? We’re not talking about just a wiggly base. What you’re looking for is actual movement along the floor, even if it’s just a few millimeters or so. That’s a very dangerous few millimeters. According to Jay Marlette, a home inspector in Berkeley, CA, that could indicate a “common, slow leak around the base of the toilet that’s damaging your subfloor.”

2. Examine the bathroom tiling

Check the tiles around the shower: Is there missing grout, indicated by thin, black lines?  Water can easily seep into the bathroom walls and subfloors through those tiny cracks, Marlette says. Give the tiles a hard tap. The resulting sound should be high-pitched; if not, either the tiling was never properly bonded or the glue has loosened. Either way, it’s a sure sign of a current or impending leak.

3. Don’t let dirt and wood touch

Stamp, an instructor at Washington State University, teaches his students that wood and dirt (or bark and gravel) should never touch. Builders should always ensure at least 4 inches of separation between the two, if not more. Soil gets wet and stays wet; wood can’t stay wet, or else it begins to rot.

4. Evaluate your foliage

When you surround your home with too much shrubbery or trees, you might be putting your home at risk of a household flood. If you’re considering a yard renovation, make sure to engage a qualified landscaper. If you’ve purchased a home with significant foliage, make sure you have an inspector check for adequate clearance between plants and your home—otherwise, Stamp says, it can lead to high moisture and rot damage.

Read more Floods Lead to Mold at Realtor.com

Have the number of a good flood restoration company like Gold Coast Flood Restorations easily handy on your phone BEFORE you experience a household flood. (888) 373-9243