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Warning Signs during Damage Inspection
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
After water damage hits and it is determined that the property is safe enough to enter, property owners should invest in the time and resources to make a thorough inspection of their home and surrounding areas. This is done to take note of the areas that need repair as well as to ensure that the appropriate steps are taken to protect the home from further damage.
Before touring the vicinity of the property, turn off all utilities such as power, gas, and water by switching off their main valves. The reason for this is that even if they are knocked out, there is always the possibility of the utilities coming back on at any time. If you are caught unaware, you may experience accidents such as electrocution or further water damage.
To conduct the inspection properly, walk through the area in order to get a closer look. Take notes and photos to make a tangible and current reference for the insurance company. Insurers would need such a list in order to accurately assess the claim.
Do not just focus on the obvious or eye-level aspects of damage. Even damages that are not easily observed should be part of the inspection process. For example, check the roof of the property for missing or damaged shingles. Look for damage in or around the gutters or chimneys. Work the observation downwards to see if there have been changes in the exteriors of the house. For example, wet spots or warping on the sides of the walls or siding could indicate that moisture has seeped through and could need repairs.
Aside from the house itself, look at the property for additional signs of damage. Trees or branches that have been snapped may pose a danger to the home and its inhabitants. They should be removed as a safety precaution as soon as possible. Also, look at the pavement and driveway to see if any cracking has occurred. This could be a sign that the water has overly-saturated the ground and would have to be drained.
Even parts of the house that are not often visited should be inspected when checking the property for water damage. Go into the attic to see if any of the insulation materials have deteriorated. The attic is also a good place to start in order to determine whether or not the roof has any holes or damage. If you see sunlight from cracks or holes in the roof while in the attic, then chances are that repairs on the roof are in order. Make a careful check of the vents to see if any are damaged or missing. If so, schedule repairs or replacements right away.
Another area of the property that should be part of the inspection process is the basement. While some homes have basements that are not frequented by its occupants, basements are actually an important part of water damage restoration. Because of its low location, this is an area that tends to easily flood. Mold can grow and cause damage to the rest of the house.
When checking the basement, see if there are any puddles or standing water. This is obviously a sign that water is able to enter the home. Touch the walls and the items stored in the basement. If they are damp, then it could be an indication that moisture is not regulated properly.
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