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  • Writer's pictureLisa Bea Smith

Moisture Intrusion in Buildings

Updated: Aug 21, 2019

Busy Bea Home Inspection looks for moisture intrusion problems! Moisture intrusion can damage building components, as well as possibly lead to health problems for the building's occupants. Some common moisture-related problems include: • Structural wood decay (damage to the “bones of the building”); • High indoor humidity and resulting condensation (damage to flooring, sheetrock, furniture, etc.) The climate issue in our area is high outdoor humidity and low indoor temperatures during summer months, which can “pull” moisture in through any cracks. • Foundation issues: undermined foundation, expansive soil causing volumetric changes • Metal corrosion (plumbing components, HVAC); • Mold growth: Mold can only grow in the presence of high levels of moisture. People with asthma, allergies, lung disease, or compromised immune systems can have serious reactions (possibly fatal) with exposure to elevated levels of airborne mold spores. (Others may also suffer effects from this exposure.)

Moisture or water vapor can become an issue by: • Air infiltration in high humidity climates - Air movement accounts for more than 98% of all water vapor movement in building interiors. Air naturally moves from high-pressure areas to lower ones by the easiest path possible, such as a hole or crack in the building envelope. Moisture transfer by air currents is very fast (in the range of several hundred cubic feet of air per minute). • Diffusion through building material • Leaks from roof: A roof leak may lead to the growth of visible mold colonies in the attic that can grow unnoticed. Roof penetrations increase the likelihood of water leaks due to failed gaskets, sealants and flashing. • Plumbing leaks: Plumbing (pipes and fixtures) can be the source of large amounts of moisture intrusion. If the wall is moist and/or discolored, then moisture damage can be already in progress. Most plumbing is hidden in the walls, so serious problems can begin unnoticed. • Flooding • Daily activities: (bathing, cooking, dishwashing and washing clothes; Indoor plants may also a significant source of high levels of humidity.) An exhaust fan should be present in all bathrooms and should be ducted to the exterior of the home, not the attic. All bathroom sinks should have functional overflow drains. Caulking around sinks and showers should be in good condition to insure that water does not get behind the walls. Also, if the water does not completely drain from the bathtub, there may be some structural weakening / settlement in in the floor beneath the tub. The water heater tank should be clean with no signs of rust.

Busy Bea Home Inspection LLC offers home inspections for new home buyers, maintenance inspections for home owners, and commercial inspections. Call 318-419-3108 to make an appointment. #moistureintrusion #wooddecay #waterleaks #homeinspection #wooddestroyingorganisms #moisturedamage

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