How to Know If Water Damage is Fresh or Old
Water damage is known to be the most common form of property damage because of the numerous ways that it can happen. Natural events like rainstorms and flooding can easily lead to water damage, but there are also internal issues like pipe bursts and sewage backups that can allow excess water into your residential or commercial property, damaging it in the process.
In some situations, the damage can be concealed, so you might not notice it right away. This can leave you wondering just how long ago the damage happened. As time passes, water damage that goes unaddressed will worsen and cause more harm. So figuring out whether a material has experienced fresh or old water damage can give you an idea of the extent of the damage as well as the urgency of having the damage restored.
If you find water damage but are unsure when it happened, use the following tips to help find out if it is fresh or old water damage.
Touch the Affected Area
Feeling the spot that has experienced water damage is a good way to figure out whether the harm occurred recently or has been there are a while. Fresh water damage will be wet, but the material will still be firm and not soft. Old water damage will create a soft, mushy spot because of the amount of time the material has had to absorb the moisture.
For example, drywall that has sustained fresh water damage will be damp but still stable. You wouldn’t feel concerned about its structural integrity just yet, because the water has not significantly harmed the drywall. Drywall that has older water damage, however, will have a softer texture, because enough time has passed for it to not only continually absorb water, but for that moisture to harm the drywall.
Inspect the Area for Rings
Staining and discoloration are among the common signs of water damage. More specifically, rings have been known to develop on softer materials, such as drywall, when they have been harmed by water. This is common for water damage cases where the harm occurs intermittently.
When the material takes on the excess water, it can eventually cause the material to change color and stain. Much like trees, the more rings you see, the older it is — the longer it has been damaged. So if you notice that a material has been stained with multiple rings, this can indicate old water damage.
For example, if a pipe is leaking water onto drywall, then there will not be a continuous water supply. Instead, the water that leaks may dry up on the material before it leaks again. However, you will later see that the water still leaves a mark in the form of rings.
When water damage occurs, there is a good chance mold growth will soon follow. This is because water damage creates the ideal conditions for mold spores to grow and form colonies.
Mold needs moisture and an organic food source to grow. Once the mold spores encounter both, then this triggers mold growth. The mold damages the materials it has affected, eating away at the surfaces. So, in addition to the damage from the water, the mold will further harm the material. Eventually, mold can cause enough damage to affect the building’s structural integrity.
Knowing this, if you find mold growing in your home or building, then there is a good chance water damage has occurred somewhere.
Within 48 hours, visible mold growth can be found in areas affected by water damage. So, at the least, the section has been damaged for around two days.
Professional Water Damage Restoration Services
If you discover that your residential or commercial property has sustained water damage — whether it is older or newer, a large area or a small section — you should address the situation as soon as possible. The water damage will only worsen with time, and mold growth may soon follow. With cases of old water damage, it may only be a matter of time until the affected materials become so unstable that they collapse.
When dealing with water damage, get in touch with a professional water damage restoration company promptly. Regardless of how long it has been since the damage first occurred, professional technicians have the knowledge and equipment to help you and your property. However, the sooner you get help, the less damage there will be to deal with.
After removing any excess water and moisture from your property, water restoration professionals will thoroughly dry out the affected areas and materials. From there, they restore the damage and clean the space. If mold has grown as a result, then they can provide mold remediation services as well. With professional help, your property will be safe, clean, and restored to its former condition.