When most people think of water in their homes, they assume this is a good thing. After all, how did we function before indoor plumbing? Except water must be contained, or else it can do great damage to a home. Water supply and drain pipes are designed to deal with water, while drywall, wood framing and floor boards can easily be damaged by water.
Here in Southern California, our air is relatively dry, and we generally do not give much thought to moisture damage. A little drip or leak, eh, it will dry right? Well, sometimes.
I have seen homes where a leaking pipe causes relatively little damage because a well ventilated crawlspace acted like a natural blow dryer to keep damage down to a minimum.
But a problem that arrises from our lazie-faire attitude about moisture is that it can go unchecked over long periods of time, and combine with other sources of moisture to cause significant damage.
The main source of moisture intrusion into the building structure is from bathrooms where the caulking is either worn or nonexistent. Now imagine this water works it’s way from the side of your shower down the interior of the walls. Now under the house, you have old and corroded water pipes that water is slowly dripping out of. No matter how arid our air is, it can’t dry out two sources of water. Now imagine this building also lacks gutters, and rain water is getting into the foundation area, as I discussed in a previous blog post. Now we have all three sources of water combining to make a very moist environment. This can lead to rotting wood, mold, and foundation deterioration. Not to mention, the moisture becomes very attractive to insects.
Do not let the dry Los Angeles air fool you, moisture damage can and does happen here. All of this is another reason to have a Home Inspection before making any property purchase.