Some common water damage issues with a water loss from a broken pipe or supply line!
Any home with indoor plumbing has water pipes in it. Indoor water lines can cause plumbing problems. On this page I will focus on issues surrounding a broken pipe, or water supply line. The supply lines are pipes of usually copper or PVC that have water in them under pressure, and the water flows through these pipes to a faucet, toilet, spigot, or shower when the valve is opened. When one of these pipes break, the water will continue to flow out of the break until the water flow is shut off behind the point of the break.
When determining the extent of the damage, it is best to start at the point of the break and work out from that point. Some things to remember when tracking damage, is that water tends toward the path of least resistance. So if the break is in an upstairs bathroom, you can expect it to work its way down to other levels. Water against dry wall will “wick” up the wall. Fabrics and carpets will absorb the water and hold a great deal of it in place.
The good thing about a water line break is that it is fresh water and it is potable. This means that because there are no microbes, viruses, or other contaminates in the water, more structure and belongings can be saved than with other loss sources. If the structure or environment the water flows though is unsanitary however, the water’s category rating can change.
The category of water loss when the water source is fresh or potable is 1; other water sources are discussed on other pages of this site. A Category 1 loss has the greatest potential to save materials because it is clean. No materials have to be removed based on contamination levels, and odor takes longer to set in. Any removals will be based on damage directly caused by the water, or an inability to dry a material in place with its current construction or configuration. Delamination of carpet is mentioned here.
Another issue that would require removal is swollen particle board. Particle board or pressed board is used in a lot of furniture and cabinet construction and will swell when water absorbs into it. This swelling is permanent and can cause weakness in the piece of furniture or cabinet as well as an unsightly blemish. Because water lines usually provide water to bathrooms and kitchens, these rooms are the most likely rooms to be affected by a water pipe break. Because most kitchens and bathrooms have cabinets or vanities that are usually constructed with particle board, water damage from a busted water line can get expensive very fast.
Vinyl flooring, also common in kitchens and bathrooms is another building material that may need to be removed on a fresh water damage loss. Vinyl or linoleum is a vapor barrier which will trap moisture underneath of it. Once moisture has gotten underneath of a vinyl or linoleum floor it is almost impossible to dry without removing the flooring itself.
Other flooring types that can sometimes be dried, but offer difficulties of their own are ceramic or stone floor coverings and wood. These flooring can be dried if circumstances are right, but the construction or install of the flooring can prevent it from being salvageable.
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