Although all water damage is a cause for concern, determining whether it is new or old can help you evaluate the extent of the problem.
To determine the severity and age of water damage:
Perform a visual Inspection
A visual inspection will let you find the signs of water damage: stains, discoloration, peeling paint, or mold growth. Take note of any areas that appear damp or have an active water source nearby. Look for rings or discoloration around wet spots – as water evaporates or dries, it can leave behind residue or mineral deposits, resulting in rings or stains. More rings usually means older water damage from repeated wetting and drying. A variety of colors means older damage, while a single dark spot typically means new damage. Keep in mind that water damage in one area does not mean that the leak is in that area. Water can travel far, so you may need to follow it to find the source of the leak.
Touch wet spots
Wearing appropriate safety equipment (in case of mold), touch any wet spots. If the spots are slightly worn away but still quite tough, the damage is probably new. If the spots are soft and spongy, the damage is old and more extensive. The longer a leak is allowed to continue, the more the water will eat away at wood, drywall, and other building materials.
Check for mold
Mold can start to grow on a damp surface within a day or two. It usually starts in a small spot, but spreads the older the damage is. Therefore, a small mold footprint means new water damage and a large mold footprint means old water damage (or a large leak).
We buy houses with all kinds of water damage. If you are interested in selling, reach out to us to see what we can do for you!