The garage, after the basement and attic, is usually one of the most neglected areas on your property. Most people don’t pay attention to the damage in their garage until it is too late. When you let the damage get that bad, repairs are going to be extensive, not to mention expensive as well.
It’s also very easy to make light of the situation. Since the garage doesn’t play a huge role, many people tend to overlook it, even if there is damage.
What Does Water Damage Do to Your Garage?
Even when water damage occurs, most people don’t believe that water damage in the garage can be severe. Regardless of whether you are dealing with high rainfall, excess moisture or flooding, the water damage in their garage can create a lot of problems.
Knowing them can help you be more aware of just how damaging it can be. The following are three common ways that water damage ruins your garage:
1. Structural Damage
Garage flooding and water damage can occur to a greater degree on unfinished floors. Concrete is a porous substance which can absorb water to the point of saturation. In this state, it releases moisture into the air. Water can seep into the wooden frame or structure of the garage and the room right next to it.
The poor gutter function also creates a pool of water that allows the moisture to seep into the foundation of the house. This creates a dangerous scenario where the structural stability of the house can be impacted. Cracks in the foundation of the house can not only make your home unsafe, they also cost a lot to fix easily.
2. Loss of Personal Property
Many people use their garage as a storage room and there are plenty of items tucked away in it. When water damage occurs, these personal possessions are more likely to suffer. It’s not always junk that is stored in the garage. Many can contain valuable antiques, furniture and more that hold a lot of monetary value.
Additionally, some personal mementos are irreplaceable. From your baby clothes to the blanket that your grandmother knitted, just for you, the water damage could mean that you have to throw it away. It can be a pretty emotional blow to deal with so it’s a good idea to keep your garage safe and sound.
3. Mold and Mildew
Mold can grow very well in your garage because of water damage. Many garages tend to have a warm, humid and dark environment which is the perfect ground for mold to grow. It’s also very easy for this mold to migrate inside the home.
Sometimes, garages also house the HVAC system or have a major vent running through it. If the mold is left unchecked, it can start to impact this and lead to a larger infestation of the mold. Black mold in the house can also lead to toxic poisoning from the mold. This, in turn, can harm the indoor air quality that the person experiences.
5 Common Signs of Water Damage
It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your garage to ensure that it isn’t in need of any repairs. Additionally, water damage can be visible in the form of different signs. Knowing the signs of water damage in your garage can make it easier for you to start making repairs.
If caught in the early stages, water damage in the garage can be repaired with ease. The following are the biggest, tell-tale signs that your garage is suffering from water damage:
1. Formation of Puddles
Puddles that form in or around the garage can be a sign of water damage. This can highlight that your gutter system isn’t working properly. It allows the water to pool near the foundation of the house. If left as it is, this can create cracks in the foundation. Pooling water doesn’t always mean that your gutter system is an issue. In some cases, it can also be a structural irregularity. Slightly tilted garages can make a natural slope for the water to collect in a particular area.
2. Spalling of the Surface
Water collecting on the garage floor doesn’t always lead to cracks in the foundation. Sometimes, it wears away the concrete flooring of the garage and leads to spalling. Spalling erodes the surface of the concrete floor. Exposure to other elements like sunlight and more water can then deepen the water damage. This also makes it more likely for the concrete floor to weaken. In areas where an artificial floor has been built, this can lead to a lot of problems and require extensive repairs.
3. Exposure of Steel
In areas with intense flooding, sometimes, the water damage can start to expose the steel beams of the garage floor or wall. This is when your garage is extremely vulnerable. Rust can also form on the beams and begin to weaken them down. In some cases, this can lead to the weakening of a load bearing wall. Apart from structural damage, exposure of the steel beams also shortens the durability of the concrete layer.
4. Large Cracks on the Surface
Sometimes, the flooding and water damage will not cause any spalling or exposure of the steel beams. Instead, the concrete slab could have large cracks which absorb the water. Now, concrete can crack as ages but cracks caused by water damage are different. You should always check the kind of cracks which occur so that you can easily work out a mode of treatment. In many cases, it also makes the damage widespread. If the water is seeping deeper because of the concrete cracks, it can cause bigger structural damage.
5. Signs of Mold
Mold is one of the biggest signs of water damage anywhere in the house. In the garage, it can easily form and spread since it has a dark, humid environment to thrive in. Signs of mold growth after a flooding or rainfall should be looked for carefully. If you can smell a dank, mildew-ish smell, there is a high probability that you have mold in your garage.
How Can You Reduce Occurrence of Water Damage
Knowing the signs of water damage can help you to work out a proper plan to fix the issue. When it comes to water damage, prevention is better than the cure. For this reason, you should pay attention to the following different options that reduce water damage in your garage:
Have a Gutter System That Properly Works
Many people neglect the gutter systems in their house which can lead to a lot of problems, including water damage. Make sure that you have a good, working system that is free of any blockages. You should also examine your garage and make sure there is proper drainage inside it. Pay attention to where the water naturally pools and add a gutter vent there.
Garages tend to be dimly lit, closed off places. This is why humidity levels can rise very easily, leading to more water damage and growth of mold. Make sure that you have large windows or keep the doors open to allow for good ventilation. In emergency scenarios, you might want to use a dehumidifier which will reduce the excess moisture in the air.
Choose Better Shelving Options
Wooden shelves suffer the most in garages. The humidity and water can soften the shelves, causing them to rot. This, in turn, is the perfect setting for mold to grow. Instead of wood, go for industrial steel shelving. Also pick elevated shelving options that keep your goods away from the water, even if the garage gets flooded. This ensures that you suffer minimal water damage to your stored goods.
Keep an Eye on the Concrete Flooring
From time to time, check the concrete flooring of your garage. This ensures that you are able to catch any water damage cracks, spalling or more. By maintaining it properly in this manner, you can always catch any signs of water damage and ensure that you have a dry, clean area in your home.
Professional Help for Dealing with Water Damage
If you don’t know how to handle water damage in your garage or if the damage is too widespread, you should immediately get in touch with the professionals. With their expertise, tools and know-how, you can address almost any water damage related problem.
Working with them also means that you get the issue resolved as quickly as possible. The right professionals will make sure that your garage stays safe from water damage in the future as well.