Located in Hillsborough, NJ
Serving Somerset County
Hunterdon County

(908) 837-9066

Small Handyman Jobs
Complete Remodeling Services
Affordable Pricing
State Licensed & Fully Insured

Lic # 13VH01719900

Home Remodeling - Improvements - Maintenance & Repairs

HOME MAINTENANCE - Water Damage..explore it, don't ignore it.

If it doesn't look right... Ever drive down the road and hear a strange noise coming from under your car? You have two choices. You can turn the radio up louder or have it checked out. So is the same around the home. When something doesn't look right or sound right, you can either ignore it or fix it. Not all problems are a matter of ignoring it though. Sometimes a problem isn't noticeable until it's much too late. Such is an instance I'm about to discuss.

I received a call about a small irregularity in the bathroom ceiling. Upon arriving at the home, I knew exactly what it was. A leak in the home plumbing. Upon carefully cutting out the ceiling, a small leak on the cold water side leading to the upstairs bathroom tub fixture was noticed. This was not a huge leak, but rather a constant slow drip, drip, drip. The drip was about every 5 to 10 seconds. What the customer didn't notice was the softness of the sheetrock wall. However, I did. My plumber came in and immediately fixed the leak. Then I went to work checking things out.

At this point, you might think it's time to patch the ceiling and fix the wall. Not so quick. This leak had been going on for quite a long time, without the customer noticing. Before the sign was even noticeable, the water had spread and caused significant unseen damage. Keep in mind this was not the type of customer to ignore things. Because it was a slow drip, the water had a chance to slowly run in any convenient direction over a long period of time before it finally came through any material such as sheetrock.


Rip out one entire wall of the bathroom and all insulation. Mold had started to form on paper of insulation.
Rip out MDF wainscoting throughout bathroom along with baseboard and chair moulding. MDF bowed from water.
Replace ceiling in bathroom. Popcorn gone.
Rip out finished basement ceiling which was 12x12" ceiling tiles. Water caused staining in several large areas.
Water ran between hardwood floor and 3/4" plywood sub-floor causing cupping of planks.
Rip out 550 SF of hardwood flooring. Could not match existing floor to damaged floor. Total cupped: 90SF+/-.

Obviously the cost was significant. There were other costs associated with the damaged items. For example, all the baseboard moulding had to be removed in order to allow for the old floor to be ripped out. The hardwood was installed under the baseboard instead of under the shoe moulding. The bathroom pretty much required a complete remodel with the exception of a sink and toilet. This slight drip ended up costing several thousand dollars to repair. Homeowner's insurance was used.

The image at the right is the bathroom after it's completed remodel and repairs. Upgrades were done such as different type of wainscoting to replace the MDF sheet type previously used. All moulding was wood instead of MDF. Instead of chairrail, a wainscot cap was used for aesthetic appearance. Crown moulding was added.

It's always amazing to realized how a few gallons of water can cause so much damage. Don't believe me? Dump a 5 gallon bucket of water on your driveway and watch how far it spreads. Now imagine that same 5 gallons in your ceiling, finding every seam, ductwork hole, and electrical cutout to run down onto the lower level ceiling.


When you notice something different about your home (walls, heater sound, smell, etc.), explore it instead of ignoring it. You might not always be able to prevent damage, but you may minimize it to a degree.

Check your sump pump regularly for proper operation. Run water into the pit and make sure it comes on properly. If it doesn't work properly the first time, fix it. Tapping the pipe to get it to come on is not fixing it.

Close off outside faucets for the winter. If you have a frost free faucet, make sure you disconnect the hose from it. Leaving the hose hooked up causes water to stay inside the part of the faucet that would drain itself. It will freeze and that can cause the house side of your faucet to freeze. When it thaws, water will be spraying all over your basement or inside the walls of your home.

If you notice a slightly brown or discolored spot on your ceiling, check it out. It may feel a little soft when you push on it. This is a sign of water. Even if it doesn't feel soft, have it checked out. The money you pay for a service call can save hundreds or thousands down the road.

Call (908) 837-9066 for your home remodeling and improvement needs.


Site Map