How to Tell If Water Damage Is New or Old?

how to tell if water damage is new or old?

Water Damage Signs Can Tell You How Old Your Water Damage Is

When inspecting water damage in your house or company, determining the age of the damage can be challenging. Water damage is something that many new homeowners, people moving into an apartment, property owners in between renters, or even those merely redecorating encounter across. Is it just superficial damage that needs to be cleaned up quickly? Water damage that has been dealt with at the source and no longer poses a threat? Or is it something more serious that requires the help of a Southeast Water Restorations' professional cleanup and restoration company?


If you suspect you have discovered water damage, the following guidelines can assist you in determining if the damage is recent or old: When inspecting water damage in your house or company, determining the age of the damage can be challenging. Water damage is something that many new homeowners, people moving into an apartment, property owners in between renters, or even those merely redecorating encounter across. Is it just superficial damage that needs to be cleaned up quickly? Damage that has been dealt with at the source and no longer poses a threat? Or is it something more serious that requires the help of a Southeast Water Restorations' professional cleanup and restoration company?

  • If you are able to reach the area safely, try to touch the water damage. This method can tell you a lot; if the water is still wet and the walls and ceiling around it are firm, the water damage is new. If what you touch is squishy, as are the surrounding walls, the water damage is most likely ancient.

  • Take into account the history of the property or company. Try to recollect when, if at all, any previous injury happened, as well as the severity of it. Also, be mindful of your surroundings; evaluate how many storms the property typically sees and how severe the weather is in your area. Finally, be mindful of the layout and potential "hot areas" for water damage, since this will help you determine whether the damage you've found is new or old.

  • Look for degradation in and around the damaged region, since this could suggest that the damage has been there for a long time.

  • Mold can take several days to appear following water damage, so keep a watch out for it. If mold develops mold mitigation microbials will need to be sprayed.

  • Look for circles on the walls or surfaces that have been harmed. Rings around water damage can help you establish whether the damage is recent or old, just like the amount of rings on a tree can tell you how old it is. A dark spot without any rings surrounding it usually indicates that the injury is recent. However, if you observe a lot of distinct colored rings, it could suggest the region has been drenched, dried, and old several times. Take a look at some of the images below to see if it looks like your water damage.


  • Finally, look over all of the materials that have been harmed. Water can be trapped by thicker paint and/or tiles, resulting in leaks. Even a modest water blotch can suggest that water has been accumulating behind the materials for a long time, but more evident symptoms, such as ceiling bubbles from water, can also signal escalating damage.

Water Damage Tips to Minimize Damages

Remember that simply because water damage is ancient (or appears to be old), it doesn't mean you should wait. Water damage can worsen over time if left unchecked; how quickly this happens depends on how much water is present, in which locations, and the age of the home or business. Obtain an inspection or confirm with your property owner to ensure that whatever remains is only superficial.


Even if you're not sure you're dealing with water damage, it's critical to act fast. Here are some examples of how water damage might worsen:

  • The longer water damage is left unattended, the more it will spread. Even a little amount of damage can worsen over time, becoming much more serious. Pipes can leak and cause major damage in a matter of days, even if you don't detect it right away; what's more dangerous is when the water damage is hidden behind a wall or other impediment.

  • Flooding is a possibility, particularly with older appliances like washing machines and dishwashers.

Want a Property Inspection?

If you'd like a property inspection, contact Southeast Water Restoration. Our thorough inspection procedure starts with an initial damage assessment, during which our professionals examine the extent of the damage to decide the best course of action, as well as any safety concerns or risks, such as asbestos or lead, that may be present. If the source of water hasn't been turned off yet, it should be done as quickly as feasible. We'll check for contaminants and classify the water into one of three categories once the water has been turned off.

The level of water damage indicated by the category level. This decision is critical since the category has an impact on the water damage restoration process and ensures that the cleanup is completed according to industry standards and specifications. Finally, to prevent rust or furniture stains on the carpet, we'll move and block furniture.

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Call Southeast Water Restoration at your first sign of water damage or mold growth. We are here to help you not profit off of yo

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Tips to Assess Water Damage

When assessing whether your water damage is old or fresh, it's important to note any stains on your property that have been created by water damage. In addition, any storms that could cause hidden water damage to the surface, such as a rainstorm, should be kept in mind.

  • Know your property: since tiny leaks might take months to emerge, and you'll be able to diagnose your problem faster if you know what's new and what's old.
  • Feel the Place: Feel the spot since it will tell you a lot about the age of the water damage. A newer place will be damp, but your drywall or ceiling will be sturdy, but an older spot will be mushy and squishy due to water absorption.
  • Look for Rings: If you notice a darker patch with no rings around it, it means that the water damage is new. Water damage that is older will have rings around it, and the more rings, like a tree, the older it is. Rings of various tints and colors indicate that the region has been wet, dried, drenched, dried, and so on.
  • Examine the Resources: It's vital to understand the materials that make up your walls and ceilings, as things like thick paint or tiles can retain water. If this is the case, even a small water spot can signal that a large amount of water has accumulated over time.
  • Mold Inspection: When bacteria have had time to proliferate, it signifies the water damage has been present for two to three days.
  • Decay: Your substance doesn't usually decay after it has been damaged by water for the first time. When your material has deteriorated, it has been subjected to standing water or flooding on a regular basis.

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