Red Flags in Your Home

Maintaining the structure and appearance of your home is important not only because your quality of life is directly linked to the state of your home, but also because you are taking a risk when you fail to address your red flags, often indicating water damage.  In this article (the first of 2), we will show you how to recognize and triage key red flags.

If you address minor issues when they appear, you will save a lot of money in the long run. You may also prevent health side effects, especially when water damage turns into insect infestation or mold! Listed below are the water-related red flags to take action on: they could be harmless or a major issue: better to know and fix it before the problem gets more serious (and expensive)!
water damage in bathroom wall
Rust coming through the wall is a sign of water damage
1. Bubbling paint could be a sign of a serious leak, where moisture is dripping behind a wall. The fix depends on the source: for example if ice damming is occurring on your roof then there’s no sense repairing a wall until the source of the damage is fixed. There could be a leaky drain or wet line from the floor above: the solution for that would be to cut out the damaged area, access and fix the source of the leak and then replace the affected drywall and repair the wall completely.

2. Foul or unpleasant smell – can point to a sewage leak or pipes that are not plumbed, trapped, or vented properly. For this, the floor may need to be excavated to access the drain, and new plumbing installed).

3. Damp smell, mould, mildew – you may think these are harmless but they can only get worse over time – moisture issues do not go away by themselves. whether its water leaching into your foundation or plumbing ventilation or drain leak issue if the odour is coming from under a cupboard or under a sink. If a leak has been present for any length of time, construction materials such as drywall or framing may be rotted and need to be replaced.

4. Buckling tiles or floor boards in a basement can indicate moisture/dampness underfoot. If this is happening in a finished basement, there is likely a crack in the foundation. Excavation on the exterior of the foundation is required to fix this, followed by polyurethane injection, tar and blueskin application.

Carpenter Ant Damage
5. Floor Stains around showers, toilet or vanity point to a plumbing issue. Once the plumbing issue is ameliorated there is still the issue of water damage in the construction materials. Finishes and subfloor may need to be replaced, depending on the level of degradation.
6. Discoloured ceiling or wall or rotten carpet: as above, the fix depends on the source of damage. Water and most interior and structural construction materials don’t mix. The trickle of water from a leaky roof or window over time can rot away structural wood members. Proper flashing placement and caulking are half the battle when preventing water infiltration.

Wall and ceiling board can be replaced quite easily. A small leak onto a carpet on the other hand must be caught and dried quickly. If left unchecked, it can turn to a mold farm very quickly. Mold is a major health hazard for your family.

7. Carpenter Ants Outside – if you see one, you can be sure there are thousands more where he came from. Carpenter Ants like to live in places where there is darkness and moisture. If the ants are found around your garage or shed, there could be a leaky hose causing the wood in the joists to rot. This is a perfect home for ants. The fix is to stop the leak and replace the damaged timber.
If other types of ants are spotted inside, they are looking for one thing: food. They come in through a crack around your window or door usually. The solution could be as simple as a little caulking replacement.
Jason Harper of Fine Finish Wall Systems headshot

Jason Harper

Jason Harper formed Fine Finish Wall Systems after he became disillusioned with trades in the construction and renovation industry. He was tired of seeing people getting ripped-off and exploited by under-qualified and unscrupulous contractors who are only interested in getting paid. These so-called professionals fail to learn or understand the basic science behind their trade, and often leave homeowners stranded and out of pocket. Homeowners deserve excellent quality work, performed by professionals who are knowledgeable and experienced. It is Jason’s goal and mission to bring back pride, quality and purpose to the construction sector.
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