Industry Articles & News

Signs of Long-Term Damage

You’re definitely seeing damage, but was it all caused by last week’s storm or has some of it been around for years? 

It can be difficult to notice changes in places you see every day so even the most honest person can believe an incident caused more damage than it actually did. Besides your instincts, here are a few things to look for that will tell you if the damage is new or old: 

Ask the owners/property manager about timelines and prior repairs.
Sharpness of cracks: New cracks will be sharper than old ones. They don’t get worn down or rounded overnight, this happens over time.
Dust or organic debris in cracks: Again, layers of dust, dirt, and other organic debris don’t appear right away, it takes time for this to accumulate or grow inside cracks. 
Evidence of prior repairs: Newer drywall, screws, nails or wood in an area are a definite indication that a problem has already been addressed in the past. 
Paint within cracks or rounded over edge of crack: You may have to use magnification to see this clearly, but unless the room was painted yesterday it means that the crack has been there a while. 
Trim material taper cut to accommodate sagging floor, bowing or skewed walls: Get out that old trusty tape measure and find out if the trim material is different lengths in different parts of the room. If it is, the problem has been around at least as long as the trim.
Evidence of advanced corrosion: Corrosion is a process, not a one-time incident. If there is widespread corrosion on items this is not a new problem.
Efflorescence on masonry or concrete: This happens when water has moved through the material and left behind the telltale chalky white appearance on the wall (from salts) when the water evaporates. Again, this is a process, not a one-time incident.

If you need more assistance or a plan of repair for one of these situations give us a call. Our engineers are happy to help with all your building related issues.