An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure. ~ Benjamin Franklin
Guilderland, NY – Every year I get several dozen calls about a sagging floor in a bathroom, paint that is bubbling or chipping, or signs of pests. The customer usually does a great job explaining the problem and wants us to come and take a look. My first thought is: where is the water coming from? Whether it’s from Mother Nature or the home’s water supply we always have to look for the source. Once I meet with the customer to look over the problem, I then start to look for the source. If there is a leak I like to look in the attic and in the basement. If the drywall in a living area is stained or discolored I like to look above and below the leak area and on any outside walls. In most cases, the source is pretty easy to find. And once the source has been located then we need to fix that problem first before we move to the cosmetic or structural work the water damaged caused.
If or when this type of situation happens to you as a homeowner, I always recommend calling us at the first sign of water or change in the appearance of wall, ceiling or floor surface. Letting leaks and water damage continue over time is just asking for problems. Not only do we continue to see the observable damage, but prolonged neglect or lack of attention to water damage will eventually damage the very bones of your home (structural framing and foundation). I have seen small leaks around toilets that have been neglected for years end up being a complete floor and wall redo. What you see on the surface of a water leak, whether it’s ceiling drywall or floor tile may look innocent, but underneath all the necessary components of the floor or ceiling are being damaged.
One of the hardest parts of my job is showing a customer the amount and scope of damage that a small toilet leak or leaky shower faucet has caused. We will do what we have to in order to fix the leak and all the damaged items, but a lot of the time early maintenance would have prevented the situation in the first place—including the additional cost. All homes, new and old require maintenance. I have read numerous articles over the years about what a homeowner can expect in terms of yearly maintenance on a home. Some of the articles talk about the need to spend 1% to 2% of the homes value on routine maintenance. This number maybe true, but I know for my home some years I only spend $500.00 and others I spend $5000.00. For me, the key is not how much you may or may not have to spend, but to just pay attention to your house. In my mind, maintenance is all about prevention. Walk around your house several times during each season (inside and out) and look for changes in paint color/staining, areas where water could enter the home, squeaky floors, loose floor or wall tile, wet areas in cabinets or in the basement, pests, etc. If something doesn’t look right, have it checked out. Prevention now will save you time and money in the long run.