When you spot water damage in your home, it is not always obvious if the water damage is old or new. The age of the water damage matters, as it can impact the steps you take to stop further water damage and can impact the restoration process. The following information can help you determine the age of water damage in your home.
1. Identify the Material
When determining if water damage is new or old, the material matters.
With more porous material, such as carpeting, drywall, and even hardwood floors, any contact with water can leave behind water stains. It doesn't take much water to have a negative impact on porous materials, so you will need to do a little more investigation to determine the age of the water damage.
With hard materials such as bricks, it can take a long time for water to do visible damage to this type of material. If you can see visible damage to this type of material, it was more than likely caused by some older water damage.
2. Pay Attention to the Rings
With water damage to a porous material, rings are generally left behind. As water soaks into the material, it spreads out. When the water dries from the material, it leaves behind a nice ring of damage.
The size of the ring depends upon how much water soaked into the material. If the ring is still moist, the water damage is new. If the ring is dried, the water damage is old.
If there are multiple dried rings, that is an indication that the water damage is ongoing over time. Ongoing water damage can be caused by a leak that only allows in the water when it rains outside, for example.
3. Feel the Material
Your sense of touch is important when it comes to assessing if water damage is new or old. If the water damage is wet or damp, that means the water damage is new. If the water damage feels soft, that more than likely means the water damage is old. Water tends to degrade materials over time, making them softer and less firm.
Keep in mind that some materials, like bricks or tile, may not get soft no matter how much water they are exposed to overtime.
4. Look for Mold
Water damage is often accompanied by mold. It doesn't take mold long to show up. Mold often shows up within a day or two when water damage occurs. If the mold growth is limited, the water damage may be new. If the mold growth is extensive, that generally means the water damage has been occurring for more than a few days.
Keep in mind that mold damage doesn't always accompany water damage. Mold doesn't like to grow in very hot or cold environments. If you use HEPA filters in your home, you are less likely to have mold spores present as well.
If you spot water damage, use the tips above to determine how old the water damage is. This can help you determine how to treat the water damage and how to stop further water damage. Work with a water damage restoration company to assess and repair the damage for the best results.