As the wettest mainland state in Australia, Victoria sees its fair share of rainfall. Basically, every part of your home is at risk from water damage. Floors, electrics, structure and even the foundations of your home can suffer irreparable damage when exposed to water for too long. In many areas of Victoria, flooding is a very real threat, too. If you build a property in an area that is prone to flooding, you best be sure that your foundations can bear the brunt – otherwise your home could end up washing away. Then, of course, there is the ever present threat of termites, which like to live in and around areas with plenty of moisture. With all that in mind, it’s important to know exactly how water adversely affects your home.
The foundations of your home are the last place you want affected by water. In flood conditions, weak foundations will give out and the entire building is likely to collapse. Water pooling in the foundations is another problem, which can lead to subsidence or movement, causing cracks to form in the walls of your home. If your home isn’t elevated, flood water will get into the building and damage everything that it touches. Your furnishings, electrics, walls and floors will suffer the most damage. Once the waters have receded, you will have a major cleanup operation on your hands with toxic silt and mud. Also, during a flood the sewer systems are likely to back up; so along with all the other dirt and debris, your home could be swimming in raw sewage. If you are unable to take care of drying out your home within 3 days, you will likely have mold to contend with, too. To help you keep ahead of the game, the Bureau of Meteorology weather updates can advise you of flood and storm warnings for your area.
Any time that water is allowed to batter your home or, worse still, water ingress occurs, you are going to have problems with erosion. This issue affects every part of your land, including all structures. Badly designed structures, which allow water to pool; damaged or inadequate downspouts, causing water to overflow; unsuitable drainage systems, which prevent water from escaping, are some of the most common causes of erosion. To prevent erosion becoming a major issue, it is essential that a professional building inspector checks the property for potential problems. Erosion is a stealthy assassin, so you won’t necessarily know there’s a problem until the damage has been done.
Internal Water Damage
As already mentioned, flooding can cause extensive damage and contamination in the affected areas of your home. However, nowhere is safe from condensation, burst pipes, or unseen leaks. This is especially true if the source of the leaking water is from the top of the building. Your insulation, dry wall, timber framing, electrical conduits, floors and ceiling will all suffer. Ceilings may collapse, and wooden floors and other timber structures will warp out of shape. The cost of repairing water damaged structures can be astronomical, so it’s important that you have your home checked, i.e. annually, and especially after violent storms.
External Water Damage
Home owners often forget about external areas when it comes to potential water damage. If your land does not have sufficient drainage, you may face problems with plants, crops or landscaping being destroyed, sinkholes developing, as well as the constant presence of water affecting the outside structures of your home. If you live near a river or the coast, your home could be on borrowed time, too. When you consider that it was water that carved out the Grand Canyon, it’s worth thinking twice before building near expansive bodies of water. You do want your home to last, after all. Yes, water is a powerful and important resource – just make sure, that when it comes to your home, water is only ever a force for good.
Dampness remains one of the most common problems in homes of all ages across the country. Dampness is caused by too much moisture in a space through one of a number of reasons and can lead to serious conditions such as dry and wet rot or the growth of black mould. So how do damp specialists go about diagnosing the causes of dampness in buildings?
THE DIFFERENT TYPES AND CAUSES OF DAMPNESS
The first step that damp specialists will use to diagnose any problems with damp is to look at the signs and causes of damp to identify what type is affecting the premises. There are three general types of damp that affect buildings:
- Condensation – this is when the water vapour normally produced in homes reaches a cooler surface and the water containing within it is released. If this happens too much, it causes a condensation problem
- Rising damp – this is the type of damp associated with a missing or malfunctioning damp proof course or DPC. The damp proofing is embedded in the brickwork of a home but if it doesn’t work properly, then water reaches interior spaces and causes damp
- Penetrating damp – this is where water penetrates the home due to damage to the weather proofing of the property. This can be a damaged roof tile or malfunctioning gutter for example and allows rain to penetrate the walls, causing damp
SIGNS OF DAMPNESS
Homeowners can always keep an eye open for signs of damp themselves and know when it is time to call the damp specialists or at least have a professional check. Some of the classic signs of one of the three damp problems include:
- Water on walls, furniture and windows – this is a sign of condensation as the warm moisture-filled air hits the cooler surfaces and releases the water.
- Black mould – this is a sign that the surface below is wetter than it should be and the mould has been able to grow.
- Tide marks on walls – this is a sign of rising damp and malfunctioning damp proofing where the water is being absorbed too high and is affecting the internal walls, leaving marks when it does evaporate.
- Peeling wallpaper – this can show that the room is either being exposed to damp inside the walls due to rising damp or the moisture levels are too high in the room due to condensation.
- Dark patches on walls or ceilings – this is often a sign that penetrating damp is at work and water is leaking in through a weak spot.
- Wet timbers – this can be a sign of condensation or penetrating damp.
- Fungal growth – spores, signs of the mushroom-like fruiting bodies and other symptoms can indicate damp related conditions such as dry or wet rot.