A small leak in your roof or from a busted pipe can lead to extensive water damage of insulation, drywall and paint – not to mention mold and mildew. Check out examples and advice for fixing water-related damage in your home.
As a home improvement and repair service provider we get a lot of calls near the end of winter for water damage related repairs. Most often the water damage is caused by ice dams, which usually occur when gutters aren’t cleaned out before the winter and attics aren’t properly insulated. When an attic isn’t insulated properly the warm air from inside the home causes a cycle of thawing and refreezing of the snow on the roof, as pictured below. Ice dams form, melting snow becomes standing water on the roof, and the water trickles its way into the home. This causes water damage to insulation, drywall, paint and can even cause damage to the framing if left untreated. The image below from DIYadvice.com illustrates the process:
How to Fix Water Damage in Your Walls
Pictured to the right is the potential result of water damage caused by an ice dam outside or a busted pipe inside. The insulation and drywall needs to be replaced when it becomes soaked through with water. You can usually tell because there will be a stain in the paint and possibly sagging of the drywall. It’s important for your contractor to cut away all the water-soaked drywall and remove all the damaged insulation. And, of course, the source of the leak needs to be repaired – whether it’s a roof or a plumbing issue – so that the repaired area stays dry.
Cosmetic repairs can be made to less extensive water damage. This photo shows a water stain in the drywall of the a ceiling. Ultimately it’s better to demolish the area of the ceiling to identify and fix the source of the leak, but a quick fix to the surface stain is possible. Firstly, loose paint should be scraped and the area should be spackled, sanded smooth and – most importantly – primed with an oil-based stain-blocking primer before repainting. Latex-based primer will not work to block the stain. Depending on the extent of the water leak, this type of cosmetic fix can buy time before more extensive repairs need to be made.