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4 Common Types of Property Damage

Impact of strong winds

Property Damage

Roof collapse

March 12, 2021

Residential and commercial property investments are often the most significant decisions people make in their lives. Many of us save for decades to find and purchase our dream home. Property ownership, however, comes with its own set of issues. Property damage is one of them.

While there are many different types of property damage, certain types tend to be more detrimental than others. In this guide, we'll take you through different types of property damage:


1. Fire Damage

Fire incidents are the most dreaded types of property damage that often cause extensive damage and may even ruin the entire property. According to research, around 339,500 home structure fires were reported in the US in 2019 alone. These events were responsible for a staggering 2,770 civilian deaths.


While the fire itself can cause serious burns, the dangers don't immediately disappear once the flames are put out. Certain more subtle post-fire hazards exist that are not widely recognized by the public. Let’s take a look at them individually:


Undermined Structure

Whether a structure was partially or extensively damaged, fire can significantly destabilize roofs, ceilings, or walls. They can collapse on anyone who enters the property for inspection. Therefore, it’s never a good idea to venture into a fire-damaged property until the firefighting professionals or home restoration experts have inspected and established the stability of the structures.


Smoke and Soot

Besides, post-fire content cleaning releases a lot of soot and toxic dust in the air, which may cause long-term damage to the lungs upon inhalation or too exposed eyes.

The smoke released from the combustion of household materials is typically filled with harmful toxins. The emissions from burning plastic, paints, furniture, and polymers don’t just dissipate. They leave behind soot, which spreads all over the space and penetrates deep into surfaces and your belongings.


Soot particles can also invade rooms where the flames never even reached. These barely visible layers of toxic particles can result in long-term health risks for anyone around. Keeping this in mind, everything from surfaces and HVAC system to ducts should also be effectively cleaned.


It's important to note here that insurance companies will not cover anything more than restoration jobs. You'll need to pay for the medical bills linked to fire-related health treatments on your own. Thus, it's extremely important to stay cautious when dealing with fire-damaged sites.


Gas Leaks

Moving on, heat from the fire can compromise the effectiveness and integrity of the safety features in cooking, grilling, or water heating appliances, as well as the brass and copper tanks, fillings, and valves. When that happens, the affected appliance may be subject to gas leaks, and you won't even know it.


Other Damage

In addition, parts of your property that were never impacted by fire, smoke, or soot may sustain water damage when the firefighting team sprays water to put down the flames. If not timely extracted, the standing water can wreak havoc in your home or commercial space (more about this later in the guide). In the end, the costs of fire, water, and mold damage remediation can be outrageously high. 

The aftermath of a hurricane

Water Damage

Society flooded after a storm

2.  Water Damage

Water damage may not be as destructive as fires, but they’re the most common types of property damage in the US. Based on industry estimates, around 14,000 Americans face a water damage emergency at home or office each day. Also, 98% of American basements are subject to some type of water damage throughout their lifetime.


It’s true that we can’t survive without water, but when it creeps into areas of your property where it shouldn’t be, and you fail to do anything about it, water damage becomes inevitable.


Moisture damage can adversely impact properties and people on different levels. When water invades your property, it can cause the floor to warp, discolor aesthetically pleasing painted walls, lead to contamination of surfaces and indoor air quality, trigger mold growth, prompt vermin infestation, and in the worst-case scenario, undermine the structural integrity of the property, significantly reducing its value. In many of the above-stated cases, water damage can set up poor living conditions for the occupants of the property.

But what makes water damage so prevalent? Because there are so many different ways in which moisture damage can occur. Let’s take a look at some common sources of water damage:


Natural Calamities

Heavy downpours, hurricanes, thunderstorms, and other natural disasters don’t occur very often, but when they do, they’ll send loads of rainwater straight down into your residential or commercial property. If you’re located in an area prone to flooding, this can occur quite frequently.


When a storm is predicted, you may take all the preventive measures ahead of time, but you don’t have control over the natural calamities, do you? This is what makes them scary. The extent of water damage depends on the severity of the storm.


Pipe Leaks

Compared to natural flooding, pipe leaks are a less severe type of water damage, but if they go undetected, they can be more troublesome than most homeowners think. If a pipe behind a wall bursts and you stay oblivious of the problem, the entire wall can sustain damage and develop a far-reaching colony of mold.


Likewise, a leaking drainage pipe or plumbing supply line in the soil underneath your concrete slab can be equally hectic in terms of repairs. In fact, a simple leak in the kitchen sink can be sufficient to damage the cabinet below. In each of these cases, not only can the repair costs be high, but the running water may give you unpleasant surprises in the form of hefty water bills at month-end.


Sewage Backups

When tree roots break into the outgoing drainage lines, they get blocked, resulting in sewage backups and toilet overflows. Apart from being unpleasant and disgusting, problems like these can be a health hazard for you and your family.


The wastewater contains bacteria, protozoa, viruses, and other harmful microorganisms that may cause illnesses to whoever gets exposed. According to studies, some of the diseases linked to sewage germs include:


Viral

     - Hepatitis A

     - Gastroenteritis

Bacterial

     - Diarrhea

     - Salmonellosis

     - Trachoma

     - Shigellosis

     - Melioidosis


Thus, it’s never a good idea to address sewage backup issues on your own. Always seek a professional water damage remediation service to deal with sewage backup issues.


Flooded Appliances

Home appliances that are designed to make our lives easy can sometimes give you a tough time, particularly in the form of water damage. For example, Dishwasher and refrigerator leaks are a common household problem that can cause a lot of moisture damage indoors.

Likewise, if your washing machine's supply line gives way, the appliance can flood the laundry room or even the entire house. Not to forget faulty hot water heaters and air conditioners, the primary suspects for water damage.

Mold spots

Mold Damage

Mold on concrete wall

3.  Mold Damage

When moisture damage is not timely addressed, it exacerbates mold damage. Mold is a heterotrophic type of fungi that requires moisture and organic matter to grow and thrive. It’s usually found in the dark and damp areas of your properties, and it contributes to health issues.


While mold spores are all over the space, including on carpets, fabric, wooden surfaces, paper, etc., mold colonies will only form where there's lots of moisture. As a result, they’ll infest surfaces around leaky pipes, sinks, showers, bathtubs, and in crawl spaces, attics, and basements.


Mold infestations typically begin with negligible spots that proliferate at massive speeds. Its color will depend on the type of mold you're dealing with. It can be white, black, or just about any other color and appear velvety, cottony, or powdery. At its earliest states, mold may even be invisible. Or it might be hiding behind sinks or walls, making them hard to track.


Signs of Mold

If you suspect mold presence at home, look for other signs of mold such as an earthy, musty odor, especially around your heating or air conditioning system. This happens when your air conditioning unit is placed in a heated closet or basement during the winter or when you don't get the appliances regularly inspected by an HVAC specialist.


Peeling wallpaper is another common sign of mold. While some scruffiness and discoloration are inevitable, unusual surface abnormalities and peeling such as cracking or bubbling can indicate moisture present inside the wall, which is a precursor to mold.


In addition, flooded sinks or toilets signify that mold is on its way. Most homeowners recognize a correlation between basement flooding and mold but fail to understand that leaking sink pipes and overflowing bathtubs can also pave the way for mold invasions.


Moreover, your own health conditions can be a good sign of mold presence. If you or a family member has been experiencing sneezing fits and a runny nose and the cold just doesn't seem to go away, mold can be the culprit. To confirm this, see if the symptoms tend to exacerbate when you’re doing your laundry or after spending time in a specific area of your home. If results are positive, you’re probably dealing with mold.


Similarly, if you or a loved one who has a pre-existing respiratory problem notes that the breathing issues tend to worsen after spending long hours at home, mold might be lurking around. If it manages to infest your clothes, you may experience skin irritation. To other people, it may cause a feeling of fatigue from time to time.


The persistence of these health conditions is thus a clear sign of mold infestation. Thus, it’s critical to protect oneself from these common types of mold:


Types of Mold

Now that you know what mold damage is and how where to look for it, it’s time to learn about the different types of indoor mold:


Aspergillus: This type of mold appears in dark spots of white, gray, or green and gives out a powdery look. It normally thrives in basements, attics, walls, fabrics, and dry food items. Exposure to this mold type can cause asthma attacks, respiratory inflammation, and lung infections.


Cladosporium: This unique mold type grows in both cold and warm weather conditions. Normally found on carpets, upholsteries, fabrics, cupboards, and floorboards, Cladosporium is a brown or olive-green colored mold with a suede-like texture. Exposure to this mold has been linked to asthma, sinusitis, skin rash, and lung infections. It may also cause allergic reactions to the nose, skin, eyes, and throat.


Penicillin: Often found in water-damaged properties, Penicillin is green or blue in color with a velvety texture. Because its spores can easily become airborne, this mold is known to spread quickly. Exposure to Penicillin can lead to pulmonary inflammation, asthma, or even chronic sinusitis (in case of prolonged exposure). 

Rodent invasion

Critter Infestation

Rat in the kitchen

4.  Critter Invasions

Finally, animal or pest invasion is another type of property damage that you need to stay vigilant about. Many creatures find their way into homes in search of food, shelter, and warmth. These may carry diseases that can be spread to humans. Rodents, for instance, are known to spread life-threatening diseases such as salmonella and Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS).


Bacteria and viruses from these creatures are transmitted through fleas living on them, or when someone gets exposed to the droppings left behind by these critters. To stay safe, you need to get rid of these invaders, and seek professional biohazard services to decontaminate the indoor space.


Conclusion

To sum it up, your property remains under constant threat of several different types of problems. We discussed the most common and detrimental types of property damage in this guide. Do your best to prevent these issues and make your residential or commercial space a healthy place for everyone.


If you still face fire, water, mold, or critter infestation, contact A+ Renewz for quick and efficient inspection and remediation. 

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