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Consequences of Water Damage in Churches
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Any structure is a prime target for water damage, whether from major events like severe storms and flooding or smaller events like burst pipes or overflowing water lines. Of course, there are some structures that are even more at risk than others simply because they are not regularly occupied and, as a result, any water damage that occurs may not be discovered until significant damage has been done.
Churches lead the pack in this area. While some larger churches have full-time staff and may be occupied to a degree most every day of the week, many church buildings stand vacant for four or five days out of each week. While fires might be knocked down due to alarms and sprinkler systems, water damage is a silent foe, inflicting damage for as long as it is allowed to remain untreated.
The consequences of water damage in church may be considerable. Large scale flooding or severe cases of burst pipes can send thousands of gallons of water into a facility in a matter of minutes, causing a great deal of initial damage. If the damage is in the worship center or auditorium, there may be damage to pews, songbooks, musical instruments, as well as heating and electrical components.
Pews exposed to water damage may warp and crack, and padded pews get the worst of it, since padding is almost impossible to successfully dry out without having molds begin to grow, water damaged pews may have to have the padding replaced at considerable cost. Damaged songbooks and hymnals may be salvaged, as long as proper book and paper drying techniques are employed, but in many cases these and other printed materials may be lost.
Many churches carpet their auditoriums which means major repair work will need to be done in order to avoid having to replace that amount of carpeting. In many cases, carpets will need to be taken up and cleaned in order to accommodate cleaning the flooring beneath.
Musical instruments and sound systems may also be casualties of water damage. Water can easily disrupt the electrical wiring found in most sound boards and amplifiers as well as all but destroying musical instruments like guitars, drums, pianos, and keyboards. All of these components can be fairly expensive to replace.
Water damage in classrooms or administrative offices may result in loss of educational material, computers, books, toys, nursery items, as well as valuable documents, church records, and files that have not been properly backed up.
The most significant consequence of church related water damage is the inability of the church to host regularly scheduled worship services. During the repair and restoration period, services may have to be relocated to another area of the building not damaged by water, or to another church location altogether. The logistics of moving an entire church for a given period can be quite complex and difficult to execute.
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