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Tag Archives: Water Damage

rain on deck

Three Types of Common Water Damage

We all know water is to be avoided at all costs when it comes to home maintenance. Water and moisture can do immense amounts of damage to all types of building materials over time, with wood being particularly susceptible to its damaging effects.

As a property owner, you should be aware of three common sources of water intrusion harmful to your property.

  1. Water can penetrate your home during storms with wind-driven rain. 
  2. Floods from local water sources and rapid rainfall. 
  3. Internal plumbing leaks and burst pipes.

Each of these three sources has its own playbook for dealing with them.

Rain is inevitable, and you’re going to have to deal with water coming down onto your roof, trying to get in through the ceiling and coming in through the windows and siding via wind. After a storm, do a check of ceilings and walls near the ceiling, door and window for water leaks. 

If you get a lot of rain in a short period of time, it can cause localized “flooding” on your property. Make sure the ground is properly graded to give run-off water somewhere to go away from your home. If your property is perfectly flat or the grade runs towards your house, water will pool around your foundation, eventually leading to problems. 

If you own a home in an area highly prone to flooding, make sure you have a flood plan and all the appropriate insurance information you need in the event of a flood. It’s hard to mitigate and prepare for a flood of the Russian River, so make sure you pay attention to local codes and regulations, which are usually crafted to help residents deal with such issues.

Do an annual check-up each year on the plumbing throughout your home. Pay close attention to connections and junctions and look for evidence of slow leaks – like mineral trails or buildups that may or may not also be wet. Evidence of slow drip patterns can also provide hints to a slow-growing problem. It’s always a good idea to make friends with a plumber you can trust.

In the event water does manage to make it into your home, we are here and ready to help. Whether you’re looking at minor or extensive damage, RCS Cares specialize in water damage recovery and can help you get your property back to normal as soon as possible. Contact us at 707-570-0555 to talk about your project today.

wall with cracks

Why a Cracked Foundation is Dangerous

Even in the most solidly built home, there may eventually come a day when you notice small cracks in the foundation.

Maybe there is water leaking in or unfortunately, a musty, moldy smell permeates into everything stored in the basement.

Those seemingly innocent small cracks can lead to bigger and in some cases, dangerous conditions.

When Cracks Need Professional Attention

Minor hairline cracks in the foundation may not be a big deal. As long as they don’t become larger or start spreading to other areas.

Typically, once a crack becomes larger than 1/16 of an inch is the time to call for inspection and repair. Once the cracks become larger, it means the potential for more extensive and expensive damage may be right around the corner. A professional inspection will let you know for sure.
The danger of large cracks is that eventually, they can cause the concrete foundation to begin crumbling and deteriorating. The larger the crack, particularly if forming at an angle, the potential for damage to your foundation increases.

Cracks can also allow the foundation to shift. When shifting begins, you’ll have a harder time opening and closing doors and windows because the structure of your foundation has been compromised.

Potential for Water Damage

You don’t have to be a foundation repair expert to know that where there are cracks, there is the potential for moisture and water to seep into your home.

After a heavy rain, you may notice the basement is damp or even flooded depending on the foundation damage.

If left unchecked, excessive water causes a lot of damage to foundations. Water weakens foundation walls which may result in bulging, further cracking or even buckling.


On top of that, where there is excessive moisture, dampness and water, there is an increased potential for mold.

While mold can be extremely dangerous for those with respiratory issues, it is also extremely damaging to your home.

From carpeting to furniture to personal belongings, once mold begins growing on these items, they will be destroyed unless properly dried, cleaned, and disinfected.

Mold also wreaks havoc on a home’s structural components, eating away at wood and corroding metal.

Active mold releases airborne mold spores especially when disturbed. These mold spores can spread throughout your home settling into places you can’t even see such as in foundation cracks/gaps, behind drywall, above ceilings, and under floors.

Professional Inspections and Repair

You don’t want your home placed in danger because you ignored what you thought was a small crack in the foundation.

The best course of action is to call a professional to inspect and analyze the situation. They can repair existing damage, offer solutions to divert water and help prevent future damage to your home.

Since it doesn’t take long for mold to set in and spread, the next call is to a professional mold remediation company, who can identify all sources of mold and properly remediate the situation.

Professional mold remediation restores the integrity of places in your basement where mold has already taken root and eliminates the spread. Not only does this save your home from the damaging effects of mold but restores air quality and eases health symptoms.


These are some of the reasons why a cracked foundation is dangerous.

For the all-too-common mold that goes along with foundation and water damage, reach out to a professional remediation company to get rid of destructive mold before it takes over.

In Santa Rosa and surrounding areas in Sonoma County, schedule an appointment with RCS. Our mold remediation specialists can thoroughly inspect and remediate mold in your home caused by foundation damage and more.

leaking toilet flooded bathroom

How Serious is Your Water Damage?

While any type of water damage is serious and requires immediate attention for cleanup and restoration, local Sonoma County professional restoration specialists assess and officially categorize water damage.

In accordance with Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification standards, there are three different types or categories of water damage.

Category I – Clean Water Damage

Category 1 water damage is the least destructive according to the standards.

Clean water means that the water is free of contaminants, toxins and sewage. It includes cleanup for water damage cause by broken water lines, leaky water pipes, an overflow of rainwater or a clean yet overflowing toilet.

For this type of water damage, professionals find it the easiest to clean, dry and restore without long-term or serious consequences for the homeowner, provided that the cleanup takes place within 48 hours from the incident.

If cleanup is postponed, category 1 water damage can change to a category 2 fairly quickly.

Category 2 – Grey Water Damage

The next category moves up the damage scale.

Grey water indicates that the damage is caused primarily by malfunctioning appliances like sump pumps, toilets or washing machines.

While more water and some mild chemicals like laundry soap may be involved, it still does not contain anything which poses immediate harm to residents.

Although there are not serious health threats, there may still be a level of mild to serious contamination with grey water damage.

The biggest problem with grey water damage is that if left unclean or not disinfected quickly, the potential for untreated waste, mold or mildew to set in, grow and cause further problems for homeowners in the future.

Category 3 – Black Water Damage

As you can probably guess, category 3 water damage is the most toxic and dangerous of all.

Because it contains toxins, active viruses and bacteria, the danger of spreading disease and illness is high.

Immediate cleanup, drying and disinfecting should take place to prevent damage to the owner’s health, property and home structure.

Black water damage is produced by natural floods, swelling ground water or sewage.

Swift action includes damaged property removal for deep cleaning and complete drying, followed by an intense disinfection protocol.


Regardless of the category of your water damage, call in the professionals at RCS in Santa Rosa.

Our experienced and certified professionals quickly carry out restoration procedures so you can return to a clean, healthy and safe home.



wood rot under home

The Danger of Mold and Wood Rot After Water Damage

One of the more dangerous things that can happen to a homeowner is to experience water damage.

Whether caused by heavy rains, a failed sump pump or an undetected leaking pipe, water damage is quite simply, devastating.

It compromises the very structural integrity of your home, in addition to causing permanent damage or loss of personal items.

If not cleaned and dried quickly, mold and wood rot sets in and causes even more extensive damage.

The Dangers of Mold Due to Water Damage

If water damage is not completely dried and cleaned, mold can set in within days.

The deceiving part of DIY drying and cleaning after water damage is that areas that appear to be clean and dry are really not.

Interior and exterior walls and flooring are capable of retaining moisture inside even though appearing outwardly dry.

It takes a professional mold remediation company to be able to spot these hidden areas and make sure everything is completely dry.

Mold grows quickly under damp conditions. Once mold takes over, it produces mold spores and when disturbed, these mold spores become airborne and spread to other areas throughout your home.

When mold spores become airborne, they are easily inhaled and spell disaster for anyone suffering from compromised immune systems, asthma, allergies, or other lung afflictions.

The Dangers of Wood Rot Due to Water Damage

Wood rot is what happens when mold and mildew settle into any wooden structure or surface.

Over time, mold grows and eats away at moist, water-soaked wood. As mold grows and eats away at more of the wood, it causes serious and expensive structural damage to your home.

When wood rot sets in, nothing short of replacing the rotted wood and calling in a professional mold remediation team can fix the problem.

Wood rot commonly shows up in interior and exterior walls, attics, basements and crawlspaces.

Other than flooding, an undetected water leak through cracks in the foundation, clogged gutters, holes in the roof or uninsulated/unprotected concrete or dirt crawlspace floors are prime spots for the formation of mold and wood rot.

Preventing Mold and Wood Rot

The best way to prevent mold and wood rot damage is to find and nip water problems in the bud before they turn into bigger, more expensive and dangerous structural issues.

  • If you notice a musty odor in certain areas of your home, there is mold growing somewhere in the area.
  • Pay close attention to and immediately repair any leaks, drips, cracks or clogged gutters and downspouts.
  • Check crawlspaces and watch for wood damage or moist, damp conditions.
  • Use treated wood or completely seal any structural repairs or remodeling projects requiring wood.


At the end of the day, these are serious issues best handled by professionals.

For inspection, repair and restoration, call in the professionals at RCS. Let our years of experience work for you to fix the structural and eliminate the health risks that come along with mold and wood rot due to water damage.

blk-white photo of interior

When It’s Safe to Return to a Flood Damaged Home

In the aftermath of water or flood damage to your home, knowing when it’s safe to return to inspect the damage and gather what you can salvage from the mess is crucial for your health and safety.

As a first step to getting life back to normal, you’ll need to return to your home as soon as safely possible to evaluate the damage and begin the water damage restoration process.

Here’s when to know it’s safe to return home for inspection and when to move back in after water damage has impacted your home.

Perform a Well-Lit Inspection

Knowing that a flood or major water damage affects structural components, electrical and HVAC systems in addition to damaging personal belongings, it’s best to return to assess damage during daylight hours once hopefully, the water has receded.

The sunlight will give you a better view of how much damage you’re looking at and you’ll be better able to avoid walking into any danger zones because you can’t see them in darkness.

If there’s standing water, call a water damage restoration company to pump the water out of the area quickly and safely.

Electrical Damage

As you probably already know, water and electricity do not mix.

If you can safely get to the main breaker, turn off the power.

However, if there’s standing water or wet areas between you and the main circuit box, don’t risk attempting to turn off the power. Never walk through or stand in water to try to cut the power in your home.

Call a qualified electrician and explain the situation. Turn the electrical system over to the professionals who are trained to deal with live power after water damage or a flood.

Until your home has been inspected by an electrician who will assess any damage done to your home’s electrical system, the risk for electric shock is high and should be avoided.

Gas Leaks

Another serious threat to your safety is the potential for gas leaks.

If you smell the “rotten egg” odor of gas, exit the home and contact the electric company immediately to report the smell of gas in your flooded or water damaged home.

Avoid starting a sump pump or other piece of equipment that could cause a spark or ignite a flame.

Contact Water Damage Restoration Professionals

While you may need to inspect water or flood damage to your home, the aftermath and safe cleanup is better left to water damage restoration professionals.

The professionals can walk you through the process of restoring and repairing damage to your home.

In the meantime, let them safely dry, clean and sanitize affected things in your home before you return to stay.

Knowing that a professional restoration company has inspected and addressed damage including structural integrity, electrical and HVAC systems and water supply if applicable gives you the peace of mind that you’re returning to a safe and healthy environment.


Depending on the extent, water damage to your home can be traumatic to you, your family and to the home itself.

Don’t hesitate to contact a professional water damage restoration company when it comes to taking the steps you need to repair the damage.

To restore your home and property in Sonoma County, call the water damage repair and restoration specialists at RCS in Santa Rosa.

house for sale

Is Buying a Home with Water Damage a Deal Breaker?

Even in today’s wild real estate market, it’s still an exciting time to buy a home.

Before you dive in on a deal too good to pass up, it still pays to take the time to do your due diligence, ask questions and keep an eye on the details.

While touring the home and along with a home inspection, keep your eyes open for what could be water damage.

Is Buying a Home with Signs of Water Damage a Deal Breaker?

A home with signs of water damage isn’t necessarily off the table. Along with your home inspector’s recommendations, it depends on the extent of the damage, if efforts have been made to correct the issues or if a price reduction to cover repair costs can be negotiated.

Here’s what to look for:

Exterior Conditions

There’s more to look at than curb appeal. Here are some red-flag items.

  • Wet, soggy lawn
  • Standing water or puddles around sidewalks or foundation of home
  • Condition of gutters and downspouts
  • Grading toward or away from the house
  • General position of home – at the bottom of a hill, position to neighboring properties
  • Mold or black spots on exterior of home
  • Rotting wood
  • Rusty hose bibs, fencing, outdoor decorations
  • Roof Inspection

Ask the seller about the age and condition of the roof. Note any missing shingles and inspect the attic and ceilings for any signs of water leaks or damage.

Interior Conditions

Smell for Mold

If there is a musty smell, it’s a telltale sign of excess humidity and more than likely, mold.

Listen for Drips

While touring the home, listen for the sound of dripping water. Inspect the pipes and plumbing under sinks and in the basement for leaks.

Water Spots, Rings or Stains

Check for brown or yellow discolored stains especially on ceilings, walls, floors, around windows and doors.

Look for hard water stains in showers, tubs, sinks and toilets. Hard water spots are caused by standing hard water which may mean a problem with the plumbing. It may also indicate slow draining sinks or tubs.

Notice any condensation on the windows or damp walls which could be due to some kind of a moisture or high humidity problem.

Sagging Ceilings, Bulging Drywall

If ceilings or walls have water damage stains, they can be hidden with paint. However, there’s no mistaking sagging ceilings or bulging drywall which has potentially absorbed and is holding excess water. Also check for bubbling or warped drywall.

Speaking of paint, check for signs of damaged paint such as peeling, bubbling or discoloration.

Watch for any obvious cracks in walls and ceilings.

Wood Rot

In addition to checking the condition of wooden molding, floors and doors, take a look around at any wood furniture in the home for signs of water damage such as swelling or bulging.

Lower Level

Check for the presence of foundation wall repairs, sump pumps/crocks, dehumidifiers or new floor coverings.


With the help of a water damage cleanup and restoration company, buying a home with past or present water damage doesn’t have to be a deal breaker.

In Sonoma County, call RCS in Santa Rosa for all of your water damage cleanup, restoration and mold remediation needs.