Keeping your home protected from water and structural damage doesn’t have to be difficult. Weather is typically inconsistent and hydrostatic pressure is unpredictable, making it important to keep a close eye on these things. If you want to stay prepared for the unexpected, you’re going to want to pay attention to the most sensitive parts of your home.
To make it simple, you may want to break down your own home assessment into accessible parts. From this point, you can more readily prepare to deal with water or structural damage in your home and be sure to take every precautionary measure possible.
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Assess Your Home’s Structural Health
The structural supports of your home keep it strong and standing in place. If the supports of your home are not maintained properly, you could be subject to severe or even irreversible damages.
One of the primary causes of structural support failure in the home is long-term exposure to hydrostatic pressure. This pressure can wear away at the materials you’ve used to support your home while also causing them to rapidly expand and contract. Your supports may crack under the pressure and allow additional water into your home, which could potentially cause problems such as mold growth or pest infestations.
Lucky for you, your home will typically show you some warning signs before the damage is irreversible. Some of the clearest signs that your home may need structural repairs include:
- Popped nails
- Wall and floor gaps
- Uneven floors
- Vertical, horizontal, diagonal, or stair-step wall cracks
- Sticking doors
- Bowed basement walls
It’s also possible for signs of structural failure to appear outside of your home. Be sure to look for chimney cracks or foundation settlement, as these warning signs could indicate an issue with your foundation or structural supports.
Look Over Your Crawl Space
Surprisingly, you will find that your crawl space is a very sensitive area of your home. It’s important to keep this space maintained properly if you want to keep moisture levels down and keep your home smelling pleasant. The longer you leave your crawl space unattended, the more likely it is to suffer from exposure to hydrostatic pressure. When waterproofing measures are not taken into consideration, your crawl space is a prime incubator for illness-causing molds or infestations.
If you start to see any of these signs, it’s time to repair your crawl space:
- Standing water or moisture
- Wood rot
- Sagging floors
- Open vents
- Damaged insulation
- Unpleasant smells
- Pest infestations
If you notice that your utility bills are rising, this could be another indicator of a damp or damaged crawl space. The reason being, it’s much more difficult for your HVAC system to control the temperature in your home if it’s constantly contending with the moisture in your crawl space. Along with that, the moisture inside can damage your pipes, which may cause you to lose water pressure.
If illness runs in your family, you will want to be extra careful with your home health maintenance. Crawl space mold can cause or worsen asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
Check Your Basement
Homes in North Carolina and South Carolina can have either a crawl space or a basement. In these areas, waterproofing measures should be put into place to help prevent any avoidable damages. If not taken care of properly, either of these spaces in your home can be the source of significant water damage.
Water damage occurring in the basement can be extremely detrimental to your home as well as your family’s health and should be taken care of immediately. Dampness in the walls can also be an indicator of mold in your home, which may have an effect on respiratory problems for anyone in your family. A damaged basement is also often considered a precursor to more significant structural damage.
When inspecting your basement, make sure to keep an eye out for:
- Standing water that doesn’t drain
- Water-damaged belongings
- Unpleasant smells
- Damaged appliances, including your sump pump
- Obvious leaks
Sometimes, the difference between signs of damage in your basement and damages to your foundation is hard to determine. That’s why it’s especially important to reach out to the professional contractors working in your area. If you live in Greenville, Columbia, or Charleston, you can benefit from a home inspection and a free quote on any services you may need to bring your home back up to code.
Inspect Your Concrete Slabs
During a home inspection, it’s important to cover all the bases where damage may occur. Any concrete slabs you have on your property should be inspected for sinkage or cracking as these issues can pose a tripping hazard to anyone walking around the area. Areas that should be inspected include:
- Basement floor
- Pool deck
Hydrostatic pressure, along with settling soil, doesn’t just impact the structural integrity of your foundation. These concrete elements can just as easily begin to sink if they’re not taken care of.
If conducting an inspection on your property feels overwhelming, don’t worry. You don’t have to inspect your property for water damage on your own. The professional contractors in North Carolina and South Carolina are more than willing to help you determine which waterproofing, foundation, crawl space, and concrete repair measures will best protect your home and family.