Looking For Signs of Water Damage When Reopening Your Business

slow water leak

Preparing To Reopen & Assessing For Water Damage

As the country gradually prepares to reopen and return to operational, there is a lot to consider for business owners and commercial property managers in Lake County Ohio. In addition to implementing the proper operational policies to ensure COVID-19 compliance, most commercial buildings have been largely unoccupied and require maintenance. The health and safety of tenants, employees and all building occupants should be the top priority in these uncertain times. Committing to proper social distancing guidelines and mask requirements is of the utmost importance. Additionally, business owners and property managers need to complete all the proper maintenance checks to ensure a clean and safe environment for occupancy.

A lot of businesses, buildings and offices were closed and remained vacant and unused for the duration of the shutdown. Vacant commercial facilities likely fell behind on regular maintenance checks, and the lack of occupancy could have allowed major water events to go noticed. Unoccupied buildings often invite moisture buildup, mold development and other problems. Before reopening, be sure to conduct thorough maintenance checks and assess for potential underlying water damage and moisture issues.

Risks of Water Damage in Vacant & Unoccupied Buildings

slow ceiling water leak signs ohioIn your absence, so much could have happened in your commercial building during the shutdown. Without routine checks and regular activity in the building — major leaks, floods or water intrusion could have gone unnoticed all this time and wreaked on your building materials. Additionally, prolonged periods of inactivity in a closed building can allow moisture buildup from elevated humidity and insufficient ventilation. Unaddressed water damage can mean compromised structural integrity of building materials, widespread property damage, mold growth and safety risks. As you prepare to open up your Ohio business, it is important to conduct a thorough check for signs of water damage and potential underlying moisture problems to ensure a safe and successful reopen.

Signs of Water Damage & Moisture Problems

Some major water events will be quite obvious when you walk into your building. However, unfortunately, not all leaks and water issues will occur in plain sight. Additionally, loose water could have spread and soaked into hidden or inconspicuous areas of your building. The hidden leaks can be the most problematic of them all. It is important for Lake County Business owners and property managers to know how to spot the signs of underlying moisture problems and signs of water damage.

  • Staining & Discoloration– Unaddressed moisture buildup from a leak or water intrusion can leave behind staining and/or discoloration. Water that seeps into wall and/or ceiling voids often manifests as a stain or blotch as it slowly saturates the adjacent wallboard or ceiling. Oftentimes, stains will appear to be yellowish in color. If there is mold growth developing, the stain might appear to be darker.
  • Peeling Wall Finishes or Ceiling Finishes– When water saturates the building materials in a commercial property, the moisture buildup will compromise the adhesive on any wall finishes or ceiling finishes. In areas of water saturation, you will begin to notice damaged or falling finishes – like peeling, bubbling or rippling in your wallpaper.
  • Swelling– When porous building materials are exposed to excess moisture, the moisture saturates the material and forces the fibers to expand. As water absorbs into wood, drywall, flooring, etc., the materials will begin to swell. The swelling will become visually apparent with enough time.
  • Swollen door casing or door alignment– Water saturated door jambs will swell and affect the alignment with your doors. The swelling is often subtle and difficult to see, but you will feel it — especially if it’s been wet all this time during the shutdown. You might return to find that some of your doors (if wet) are more difficult to open and close.
  • Baseboards/trim separating from the wall– As building materials swell up, materials that were once flush against each other will begin to expand, warp, bend and push against one another and force material separation.
  • Sagging walls and ceilings– Damp building materials can get pretty heavy. The more water that gets absorbed into your walls and ceilings, the heavier they get. With time, the excess weight will cause deformities in your building materials. Look for signs of sagging, buckling, bowing and possibly even collapsed building materials.
  • Floor effects– Water naturally seeks out the lowest level of any structure and will seep under floor coverings (i.e.: carpet, tile, vinyl, etc.). Once the water permeates any floor coverings, it will soak into the sub-floor. If your flooring as been affected by water, you might return to find cupping, warping, rippling or other affects at your floors.
  • Signs of Mold– With an adequate water source, it only takes 24-48 hours for mold to begin to develop. When you return to your business, pay attention signs of mold — like musty odors or visual indicators. If you have mold, you likely have an underlying water problem.

If your vacant business fell victim to water damage during the shutdown, you may need professional water damage restoration services like structural dryout, water damage extraction or more.

If you return to your Lake County business and discover major water damage, you should seek the help of a professional in your Ohio area. A professionally trained water damage restoration team will have the necessary drying equipment and cleanup experience to properly recover from the water event and restore your property. In these uncertain times, there is a lot be cautious of. Don’t let water damage add to your worries. The water damage restoration experts at Water Extraction Team (WET) can help. Call 440-276-6382 today to learn more about our water damage restoration services in your Ohio area.