You Fixed the Leak – Now What?

Having survived one of the worst winters in recent memory, many homeowners are either hiring home improvement contractors in Grand Rapids or beginning on their own to address any home issues caused by the snow, ice, and crazy temperatures. For many homeowners, roof issues have “come to light,” either immediately as the snow melted or recently during our heavy rain storms.

If you’re lucky, you may discover only small issues with roof or window leaks, and you may have the skills to easily fix them yourself, or hire home improvement contractors in Grand Rapids to quickly repair them for you. On a roof, you’ll commonly find a leak from a cracked shingle, torn rubber around a plumbing vent boot, a cracked roof vent, or flashing. The first step to deal with roof issues is to fix the leak, whether that means replacing a faulty roof, or simply fixing a cracked seal.

Once a small leak is fixed, however, it’s critical to assess the damage from the leak, including all building materials. Mold on structural members, dark stains on ceilings, or crumbling drywall will need to be addressed. Apart from that, you should assess your insulation to see whether it can be salvaged or replaced. The best thing to do with the insulation depends on several factors:

  • Extent and length of time the leak was occurring. If the leak was repaired within a short period of time, there’s a better chance that no mold is growing in your attic, because mold relies on a damp surface to start, and an ongoing wet environment to grow. Once the dampness has been abated, mold is unable to grow.
  • Type of insulation, which we’ll describe later.
  • Condition of remaining insulation. If your insulation is inadequate and you were thinking of replacing or improving your insulation anyway, it is a great time to address damp, damaged insulation. A logical next step may be to start looking for insulation contractors in Grand Rapids.

According to many experts, as long as the water source is not contaminated by flood water or other contaminated water, you can often dry out fiberglass batt insulation. In some cases, it may be best to remove the fiberglass insulation to dry it out, because it must be exposed to air to dry. After drying, check to make sure the air gaps have not become compressed, reducing the insulation’s R value.

On the other hand, loose-fill insulation types should generally be removed and replaced, because they can lose their R value after they become wet. Cellulose may have soggy thin layer on the outside, which is evidence of reduced R value. The easiest way to handle that is to add more cellulose insulation after it dries.

The best time to think about new insulation for an existing home is often when you are doing renovations – whether you’re remodeling or repairing things like a roof leak. If you need a professional’s opinion about your insulation in the aftermath of a water leak, or if you have several projects and need to prioritize, contact GreenFIT Homes to arrange an inspection by home improvement specialists in Grand Rapids. Whether you need a home performance analysis or you are looking for insulation contractors in Grand Rapids, GreenFIT can assist with your after-the-leak decision making.

Photo: Anne Hornyak

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