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Bathroom Water Damage

Liz ODonnell
damaged wall

Learn how to prevent and repair bathroom water damage in order to protect your home. Water damage can wreak havoc in your home if it isn't managed properly. Unchecked damage can lead to mold or mildew. It can also destroy floorboards, ceilings and wall boards if left too long.

Preventing Bathroom Water Damage

  • Inspect the shower. Water can leak into the walls of your home through cracked tiles and caulking or through missing grout. Replace any missing or damaged tiles or grout between the tiles as soon as possible. Check that the shower drains are clear and unclogged. Ensure the shower head is on tightly and not leaking and check for discoloration near the drain. It could be the sign of a leak.
  • Check for leaks in and under the sink. Check regularly to make sure the sink doesn't leak. Again, notice any discolorations this could be the sign of a leak. Check the faucet and also check for drips in the pipes below the sink or in the sink cabinet.
  • Notice the area around the toilet. A leaky toilet can cause plenty of water damage in the floorboards and walls around the bathroom. Inspect regularly for leaks around the toilet and adjoining pipes.

Repairing Bathroom Water Damage

  • Turn off the water source. If the water damage is caused by a leaky or damaged pipe, turn off the water in your home and call a plumber to repair it. Clean up any spills or stains you see. Once you spot water damage, it is usually in a state of ill repair. If you can catch a leak early, you can avoid much more costly damage. Toilets usually have a water turn off handle behind the bowl.
  • Assess the severity of the damage. If water has been left for a long time, the damage may be more than cosmetic. It may be structural. Before you make any surface-level repairs such as cleaning a stain or repainting a surface, check to be sure floorboards and wallboards are still structurally secure. If your bathroom or adjoining rooms are carpeted, the water can cause mold and mildew to grow. Be sure to check the carpet pads and the floor underneath for damage.
  • Consider a remodel. If the damage to your bathroom is extensive and your budget or insurance plan allows for it, consider remodeling. Bathrooms raise the resell value of a home. So if you have extensive repair work to do, that could be a good time to replace fixtures and floors and raise the value and functionality of your home.
  • Know the laws. Before repairing water damage, be aware of your local building codes. Some of the work may require a permit. Also, plumbing and electrical work needs to be performed by a licensed expert.
  • Take precautions. Sewage can be hazardous to your health. If you are cleaning up any sewage leaks or overflow, protect your health. Wear rubber gloves and boots and consider wearing a mask. Wash your work clothes immediately after you finish cleaning. Use industrial strength garbage bags to throw away rags and supplies.
  • Use a shop vac. Buy or rent a shop vac to remove any water in your home. A shop vac will be much faster than a mop if you are dealing with significant amounts of water damage.
  • Disinfect the damaged areas. Use bleach or another disinfectant to clean any areas that have been affected by the water damage. Make sure to use proper ventilation during the clean up and after. To prevent mold and mildew, run the fan and let the damaged area dry properly.

Ongoing Maintenance

Continue to check regularly for leaks and damage. Keep your eyes open to signs of mold. If left unchecked it can be a health hazard to people living in your home. If you are unsure if you have damage or if you need help repairing damage, call in an expert.

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Bathroom Water Damage