Water damage is a serious problem, no matter the building or situation. That’s why it’s so important for every building owner to learn how to find water damage in their commercial buildings. The longer water damage sits the worse it gets, so catching it early will help you mitigate the worst issues and recover quickly from the damage.
The first thing you should know about water damage is what it can do to your building and the people in it. Understanding the risks puts into perspective how dangerous it can be and will help you when trying to identify water damage.
Perhaps the most dangerous part of water damage is how it can affect the structural integrity of your building. Water can seep into the main supports of your building and weaken them, causing massive problems as time goes on. From cracks in your building to eventual structural failure, water damage can cause a lot of major issues for your building’s integrity.
A more common problem of water damage is the odor that accompanies sitting water. Water damage can make your building smell musty, and the smell will slowly start to affect more and more of your building.
Mold and fungus grow best in dark places with a lot of moisture, which is why water damage commonly leads to mold growth. It might appear on or in walls, which can cause damage to your building and pose a health risk for everyone inside.
Poor Air Quality
Water damage will negatively impact the air quality inside your building, even if you have a good ventilation system. Between the bad smells and mold spores, the air will become unpleasant and likely unsafe for people to inhale. Dealing with your water damage is the only way to improve air quality in these cases.
As mentioned, the structural and physical damage water has on a building also affects people’s health. For example, mold growth can lead to many health risks over time, such as the following:
- Trouble breathing
How To Spot Water Damage
Now you know why it’s so important to know the methods to identify water damage in your building. Otherwise, you put your building and everyone inside at risk. Here are a few of the best methods to spot water damage in your commercial building.
When it comes to determining if your building has water damage, there are visible signs you can look for.
Water will slowly seep through walls, soaking into them and enlarging them. This will eventually lead to large deformities that you’ll easily notice, but you can spot them earlier by checking for any bulging in your walls. Bulging walls are a great indicator of a leak or water damage behind or above that wall. You can also see this bulging in both the ceiling and floor, depending on the location of the leak.
A telltale sign of water damage is a stain where water contacts something over a long period of time. This mark will look slightly darker than whatever the stain is on. The exact color of the stain will change depending on the chemicals in the water, but it’s commonly a red, brown, black, or green.
While you never want to see it, damaged tiles are a great and easy way to tell if something is wrong with your building. Water damage can crack your tiles or cause them to loosen, which can be a tripping hazard. Carefully inspect the tiles with gloves for signs of water damage, as the water can carry dangerous chemicals or diseases, and the tiles can be sharp.
Water damage will cause paint to slowly crack and peel, even if you can’t see bulging in the walls or a water stain. The paint will crack from the difference in humidity and weaken from the moisture. This is a clear sign you should look for regularly to quickly identify water damage in your building.
Outside of these visual signs, there are other methods you can use to identify water damage. These techniques are great ways to find water damage when it’s still behind the walls and may not have visible signs yet.
Water damage causes bad odors, which are both distinct and very noticeable. Smelling a musty or moldy smell in your building should alert you to the possibility of water damage. If you do smell something, try looking in the area for other signs and consider calling someone in who can check the pipes and nearby area for leaks.
Leak Detection Equipment
One of the most common causes of water damage in a building is pipe leakage, which isn’t easy to determine without seeing the pipes up close. However, there’s specialty leak detection equipment you can use to test your pipes.
What To Do
If you do ever find a leak or water damage in your building, it’s important that you know what to do. If you take the wrong actions, things could get worse, and you could put yourself and others in danger. Here are some of the steps you should take:
- Clear the area of people.
- Turn off the water to the affected area of the building.
- Document the damage from afar, taking plenty of pictures for insurance.
- Call a mold/water damage remediation crew to come in and fix the water damage.
- Clean up the area once it’s safe.
- Open the area back up once you fix everything.
Ultimately, the key is staying safe and contacting commercial water damage cleanup services to get professional remediation. Water damage in a building is serious, but you can avoid major issues with vigilance and the knowledge of how to respond. The best practice is to run monthly inspections of your building for any water damage and train employees to look for the signs of water damage too. This will help you catch it early and stop the worst of the damage when possible.