What is moisture mapping?

When water damage occurs, the first question property owners, insurance companies and clean up crews all ask is: how extensive is the damage? Moisture mapping is a way of visually representing the moisture levels in a property so everyone can clearly understand where the wet zone (damage) ends and the dry zone (undamaged) begins. 

So will I get a moisture map of my property?

A moisture map can be presented as a paper map or a computer summary, but it may also be marked on the material (usually walls or floor) in question, perhaps with chalk, pen, tape or another marking material. Making marks on your property ensures that it’s very clear to everyone involved where the wet zone ends and the dry zone begins. Depending on the type and extent of the damage, you may need to not walk on the wet zone, for example, so having a visual boundary is very useful.

How is moisture measured?

Moisture can be detected in a variety of ways, some more sophisticated than others (ever stepped on a soggy carpet?) so the high tech tools are typically only used around the perimeter of the wet zone, to understand exactly where the wet zone and dry zone meet. These tools include infrared cameras and moisture meters.

Why does this moisture map say my dry zone is damp too?

All buildings have a certain level of naturally occurring moisture. If you’ve been given a printed moisture map, it may indicate this level as the moisture of the dry zone. It may also vary across the building, and again this can be completely normal. As an extreme example, picture a leisure centre – the sauna and swimming pool areas will be incredibly moist, without a leak, the changing room (with its showers) quite moist and reception less moist.

Will my moisture map change?

Yes. One of the most useful features of moisture mapping is that it lets us know if the damp is spreading or shrinking. For example, if pipe bursts under the floor then an hour-by-hour update would show the water spreading then stopping when the mains water supply was switched off. The wet zone might shrink as efforts were made to dry out the property, but grow again if the water was switched back on before an effective repair was completed. Typically, moisture mapping will be done at long intervals – less than once a week – as it takes time to dry a property but spot checks will occur if the contractor doing the drying has any concerns.

Why do I have islands of damp on my moisture map?

Water moves in consistent ways, but that doesn’t mean it will affect a room evenly. This is particularly true where the water is moving mainly through hidden channels and the effects are being seen at one remove, such as when water is underneath floorboards.