Not all water damage occurs after a major event, like a flood or burst pipe. Your basement could be suffering the effects of slow-acting water damage. This damage can go unnoticed, sometimes for months or years, as moisture seeps through walls or comes up through hairline cracks in the foundation. Take a few minutes to check your basement for the following water damage signs periodically so you can get it fixed and the damage restored before it becomes too severe.
Sign #1: Mildew and Mold
Mold and mildew is often the most obvious sign, although you may not see it with your eyes right away. Begin with a simple sniff test – does the basement smell moldy or musty? If you have fiber items in the basement, such as a rugs or carpets, actually get down on the ground and smell them. Sometimes the moisture leak is mild enough that your carpeting never feels wet, yet there is enough moisture that mold is growing in the pad or on the underside of the carpet.
You can also look for the visible signs of mold and mildew, which can range from a greenish-black growth to a blue-ish or white-ish substance. Look behind pictures and wall hangings, inside cabinets, behind furniture, and in the corners. These are areas where moisture tends to become trapped.
Sign #2: Rust and Rot
Rust and rot are other tell-tale signs of potential water damage. If your basement is finished and has wood paneling, baseboards, or molding, begin the search with a screwdriver. Lightly prod these items. Wood that gives to a gentle prod is suffering from moisture damage.
You should also check any metal items in the basement for signs of rust. This occurs when the metal is exposed to both moisture and oxygen. Places you may find rust if you have a moisture problem include around metal fuse boxes, the metal legs on some furniture and appliances, or around metal vent or return covers.
Sign #3: Peeling Paint
Painted concrete floors may begin to peel or they may develop a white residue if too much moisture is seeping through the floor. Walls and furniture paint may begin to blister and peel as well in the presence of moisture. If you have drywall in your basement, it may begin to crumble or soften if it is consistently moist.
Discovering these signs early can help you save your basement belongings. Once the moisture cause is addressed, a water restoration company like Flood Damage Restoration can help you clean carpets, remove mold and rust, and restore furniture back to its former beauty.