Doing a Water Damage Assessment

Incorrect water damage assessment to any material such as wood or drywall (plasterboard) or even water susceptible metal may lead to unforeseen consequences which include underestimating the damage or failing to recognize the damage, which can cause more damage. For example, if you under report the damages, an insurance company will restrict you. If it does not recognize damage, damaged wood or material can lead to further wet rot that you may not fully recognize until much later. An accurate water damage assessment increases the likelihood that your insurance company will pay you properly, and insures you can repair or replace the damaged material.


  1. Allow materials and structures to completely dry. Drying reveals damage to the material.
  2. Examine the surfaces of wood, walls or even “water deformation” ceilings including blistering, swelling or fraying. Blister formation consists of bubbles or raised pockets of material such as paint, plaster or laminate where the surface material actually pulls away or elevates the underlying layers. Swelling is made up of solid materials that are swollen with water, then keep a swollen look once dried and frayed consists of fibrous edges where grains of wood cloth or other material become soaked.
  3. Check floor panels, ceiling panels or walls of visual signs of secondary structural stress such as buckling of adjacent sections, bowing of individual sections or corner compression. Buckling occurs as a consequence of swelling and consists of one or more swollen structures pressing against each other until one slips or causes the material to curve (bow). Corner compression also produces inflammation and consists of wrinkled corners mashed or compressed between two adjacent panels.
  4. Inspect any exposed metal surfaces for oxidation that appears as red powder or brick color, indicating elemental iron deposits.
  5. Look for erosion on surfaces or even on the ground around foundations or landscaped areas such as stone paths. Erosion on the tiles consists of bits of washed sand, so the asphalt tile appears as smooth as a worn tire. Erosion messages around the foundation of your home or around patio or stone walkways can appear as pockets or holes in areas once filled with dirt and these holes are deepened with additional rain or leaking that removes dirt.
  6. Inspect walls, ceilings, and floors for stains. These spots will appear as wet pockets when all has dried. These stains indicate water has penetrated into the structure and could have caused wet rot or mold.
  7. Examine garage floors or concrete basement walls for filtration indicates internal cracks where water was collected. These inner water bags can create pressure and cause surface cracks.
  8. Inspect garage floors or concrete basement walls for cracks resulting from changes in ground due to rain. These cracks let the water flow freely in a room or even on a floor, creating more damage.
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