Water damage - now what? Helpful tips from Engel & Völkers

An annoyance of the wet kind: Water damage. If discovered early, the damage is usually manageable. However, the later the owners or residents become aware of the problem, the more dramatic the consequences: The building fabric is at risk. If the damage occurs at sub-zero temperatures, frost intensifies the impact. In the worst case, the freezing water can even crack the masonry. Last but not least, the water bill increases when large quantities of the elixir of life seep away unnoticed. Find out here what you can do, what measures you should ideally take first and who bears the costs of the damage!

Hamburg - Water damage - annoying and expensive. Who bears the costs and what initial measures should be taken? Engel und Völkers explains. Don't miss out!

Constant dripping wears the stone

Even small amounts of water can cause considerable damage. Floors swell or walls become soaked if the damage occurs to a water-bearing pipe. You are thus better off if there is a sudden and considerable leakage of water: This is something you will notice almost immediately. If the basement or hallway is already flooded, take urgent action. Turning off the supply line prevents the damage from spreading. If an apartment building is affected and the water is dripping from the ceiling, first place a bucket to catch the water before informing anyone.

Who to call?

As with all emergencies and disruptions, there are also emergency services for water damage that will respond to your call even on weekends. However, if this service is not included in your insurance cover, you may have to bear the costs yourself. Therefore, check the cover provided by the insurance company before taking out a policy. And speaking of insurance: It is necessary to have the damage assessed by an expert in order to determine the amount of damage. This is far easier to accomplish if the impacts are still visible and the emergency service has not long since repaired the fault. However, you can take any measure that minimises the extent of the damage. N.B.: Take photos of the damage and present them to the assessor. Otherwise, he will not be able to make an accurate assessment.

Have repairs carried out

Once the assessor has inspected the damage, you or your insurance company can commission a company to repair the damage. Simply repairing the broken pipe is rarely enough. If the heating system or the wall plaster has suffered damage, you will have to deal with several workmen in your property at the same time. Unlike after a motor vehicle accident, professionally remediated water damage has little effect on the property prices that can be achieved.

Drying the water damage

In summer, rooms dry relatively quickly if they are well ventilated. In winter, fans can be helpful. An expert will assess which measures make sense and how often they should be carried out to achieve the best results. Do not cut corners here! Moisture in the walls leads to mould growth with all of the known negative consequences for health. The drying process cannot always eliminate damage to soaked objects stored in flooded basements: Furniture with water-soaked wood or upholstery will never be as beautiful after drying as it was before. Even if it hurts: Part with it!

Reducing the risks

Water damage in an unoccupied property is extremely unpleasant. It is usually noticed far too late. If you want to sell your property, minimise the risks by turning off the water and the heating system. As long as the temperatures outside are not significantly below zero, the building will not sustain any damage. Drain the water from the heating system so that it does not freeze and thus burst the radiators.

At a glance

Take action as soon as you notice the damage. A good insurance policy will cover the costs for immediate measures and for remediation. Some insurers even commission companies to do this. Any insurance whose coverage does not include the cost of the emergency services is, in our view, less recommendable.

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