Water Damage: What Are the Top Causes?

causes of water damage

Water damage represents one of the biggest threats to a home’s longevity and structural integrity. What makes it even more dangerous is that hidden leaks can start without homeowners even knowing it, with the damage mounting one drip at a time. The repair and renovation costs can be enormous. By understanding the common causes of water damage, homeowners and business owners can take steps to protect themselves from water damage to their residences and offices.

Extreme Weather

Storms don’t have to climb to the level of a hurricane to take a toll on a house or commercial building. Heavy rains can overwhelm even the most well-constructed roof. As roofs age, they can become even more vulnerable through undetectable cracks or gaps. Strong rains are often accompanied by strong winds, and the two factors together can cause significant water damage problems for homeowners.

Septic Tanks

Septic tanks are integral to treating household solid waste. If a septic system overflows, it can produce another area of vulnerability for water damage in a home. This can sometimes happen from excessive rain. However, if a septic system has defects or the installation was done poorly, homeowners can experience water damage. An overflowing septic tank can cause serious issues for your household and may require extensive cleaning and repairs.

Clogged Gutters

The inescapable elements of nature can also create water damage. Falling leaves, especially in autumn, can create clogs in gutters that prevent water from draining as the system intended. As the phrase goes, water finds its level. So as the water rises in the gutters, it seeks nooks, crannies, and cracks until it has nowhere else to go. As water collects, it begins to rot wood and other materials in the home.

Human Error

Unlikely as it may seem, one of the causes of water damage relates to simple forgetfulness or human error. Sometimes homeowners get distracted when filling kitchen sinks, bathtubs, or other receptacles, and they overflow. Depending on how much water escapes, this can damage floors and ruin carpets. If left too long, the damage can also lead to mold.

Frozen Pipes/Weakened Gutters

Winter weather can also lead to water damage. When bitterly cold temperatures cause pipes to freeze, the pipes expand and can split, requiring expensive plumbing repairs. Ice buildup on gutters is also a common cause of water damage. The weight of the ice can cause the gutters to separate from the house, displace shingles, or cause cracks at the roofline.

An estimated one of every five insurance claims in 2020 was related to an incidence of water damage. Given the frequency, vigilance is vital in preventing significant out-of-pocket expenses for costly repairs to roofs, gutters, basements, floors, and other parts of houses and businesses. It’s challenging to stay ahead of the problem since water damage can occur slowly in ways that you might not notice. If you need help with a restoration project, call or contact Steamatic online for a project estimate.

5 Most Common Types of Smoke Damage

types of smoke damage

Fire presents ongoing dangers for homeowners and business owners. Even with the highest level of protection, though, fires happen. 

The fire does not have to be significant to cause severe problems cleaning a home or business. Even the smallest of fires can cause smoke damage that needs repairs for proper health, safety, and aesthetics. In addition to fire, homes and businesses can also receive long-term damage from cigarette smoke. Learn more about the five most common types of smoke damage occurring from fires.

Dry Smoke

Fast-moving, high-temperature fires create an effect known to restoration experts as dry smoke. Fires fueled by paper or wood typically produce dry smoke. Damage from dry smoke is easier to clean since this smoke forms a light powder on surfaces. However, the challenge is that dry smoke can hide in cracks and other absorbent materials — although walls may look clean, you may still get the smell of smoke from them.

Wet Smoke

In contrast, wet smoke comes from slow-burning fires that give off a lower heat. Wet smoke damage is tough to clean and often leaves a smell long after cleaning your home or business. You will recognize wet smoke from a sticky residue attached to doorknobs and other objects throughout a structure. Wet smoke damage may be more common in commercial fires, as it usually stems from burning tires or different types of rubber.

Protein Smoke

A fire in the kitchen area of a home or business such as a restaurant leaves behind smoke damage. Protein smoke damage results from burning organic matter. This type of smoke damage often occurs following a kitchen grease fire. 

Protein smoke damage can also be cumulative from cooking meats, oils, and fats regularly prepared over an open flame. Protein smoke is not always visible immediately and causes surface discoloration.

Fuel and Oil Smoke

Fires fueled by petroleum-based products such as gas or oil pose a distinct challenge. These substances create petroleum smoke damage that can stick to many materials, leaving them with greasy stains. Furniture that comes into contact with fuel smoke is often not salvageable because of the discoloration and smell. 

Cleaning fuel smoke damage is particularly challenging, given that the residue is thick. Restoration experts say cleaning usually requires a specific solvent. Fuel smoke doesn’t necessarily always need fire as its source — it can sometimes result from a furnace malfunction.

Cigarette Smoke

Long-term smoking in a home can also lead to damage that requires remediation, especially when individuals intend to sell a home. Stale cigarette smoke can permeate into walls and countertops and require professional smoke remediation. Clearing the air inside a structure requires special equipment, including a professional air-mover, to successfully eliminate odors.

The best way to avoid smoke damage is to focus on fire prevention. Keeping a home or business safe takes constant attention, but it is worth the effort. Smoke damage can seriously damage residential and commercial properties and make them uninhabitable. If a fire occurs, contact restoration experts to help remediate the impact.