water damage

How to Identify Water Damage

Article by:

Share On:


Broken pipes, floods, etc., can cause water to flood your house. This can cause water to damage your furniture and create major problems like mould, which grows after 24 hours. 


For this reason, you have to take immediate action to protect your house. Water damage also has negative effects on your family’s safety and health which you may only realize once it’s late. 


The first thing you need to do is to shut off the electricity and any source of leaking water. After taking the primary actions, you must call a professional to start the water damage restoration process properly. 


In the meantime, keep reading if you want to know what water damage is, the signs of it, and the steps to take to repair water damage and flood restoration.


What Is Water Damage?


Before getting into the article’s main subject, you need to understand what is considered water damage. 


In general, water damage happens when water destroys the interior of your home. Numerous factors can contribute to it, including the following.

  • A frozen pipe bursts and leaks, soaking your walls and ceilings.
  • Rain damages your walls and ceiling and leaks into your room.
  • The sinks or toilets overflow and soak your bathroom floors.
  • Appliances, such as dishwashers, begin to leak.
  • Sewage causes damage to your home.

These are among the most common reasons for water damage. Having learned about them, let’s move on to the next part and learn how to identify water damage.


10 Signs to Identify Water Damage


Before you look for signs, you must take action to prevent the leak from damaging your house further. Then you can start looking for signs. There are many signs that you can use to identify water damage. Let’s go through them one by one.


1. Paint and Wallpaper Damage


Symptoms of water damage include peeling paint or wallpaper. As a result of water exposure, paint and wallpaper lose their adhesion to drywall and sheetrock. The damage looks unsightly and can cause additional damage that is difficult to repair.


2. Dripping or Strange Noises


In a home, leaking water can sometimes create deceptive sounds that are difficult to detect. During quiet times, preferably at night, listen carefully. A scratching or rushing noise not typically associated with water can sometimes indicate a leak.


3. The Growth of Mould


Visible mould is an indication that there is a water problem. Mould can grow in a home if the moisture level is high. In ceilings and floors, mould often begins to grow in the seams. You can use several methods to remove the mould


Professional mould remediation companies such as Roar Engineering can detect, remove, and prevent future mould problems in large mould outbreaks.


4. Mouldy Smells


The smell of must is one of the key signs of water damage. Mould and dampness cause musty smells. Despite the absence of visible mould growth, musty smells can still occur. An odour associated with mould can be caused by moisture, poor air circulation, and darkness.


Covering up the odour problem won’t solve the problem. Finding the source of moisture build-up in your home is crucial if you notice any unpleasant odour.


5. A Warped Floor, Wall, or Ceiling


Hard surfaces, such as wood, drywall, and concrete, buckle and warp when exposed to water. The structural integrity of these materials is compromised when they absorb water, which can pose a hazard. In fact, that’s how water damage can cause walls to warp and floors to creak.


6. Health Issues


Many health issues are associated with mould, including respiratory infections, asthma, and severe allergic reactions. So if you have symptoms of respiratory health issues, it can be an indicator of a water-induced mould problem.


Make sure you check your home for damage before the brown spots appear. Preventive maintenance around the house doesn’t have to wait until disaster strikes. You can save money on costly repairs as well as eliminate potentially serious health concerns by acting now.


7. Discoloration or Stains


Ceilings and drywall stained by water are quite common. You should pay attention to this sign of water damage, even if painting over it seems to be the best thing to do in your eyes. The presence of stains and discoloration on drywall could be indicative of a leaky roof or leaking pipes behind it. 


You should call a professional if you notice discolorations or stains. Getting help from Roar Engineering structural engineers can be very beneficial if you have a specific problem. So, make sure to contact us if you encounter such issues. Make sure you read this article if you’d like to know more about the basics & benefits of hiring structural engineers.


8. Under the Sink Becomes Water Damaged


It’s hard to miss water leaking from a leaky sink or faucet in the kitchen or bathroom. Homeowners rarely inspect the plumbing. There is no problem with a small amount of moisture under the sink, but a continuous drip or leak can cause problems. 


9. Humid and Damp Environment


An undetected water leak can cause unexplained humidity or dampness in your home. Ensure that there is no water accumulating on surfaces like counters or walls. If you notice humid areas around the house, there is probably a leak nearby. 


10. Unexpected Rise in Utility Bills


There are times when utility bills go up, especially following the start of the cold season or when you are growing plants. However, if you face other unreasonable jumps in your water bills, it may be a sign of water leaks. 


Ways to Spot Water Damage


There are some other things you can do to spot hidden water damage.


1. Light Up Pipes With a Flashlight


You can inspect the pipes underneath sinks and around toilets with a flashlight. A corroded connection around a hidden water source often indicates hidden damage in these areas. Even the smallest leak can damage surrounding materials and increase water bills.


2. Check your Windows


Run your hand over the window trim to check for leaks. Despite its appearance, wood is compromised by regular exposure to water. It is likely that surrounding materials are also affected if it crumbles or peels.


3. Check All Appliances 


You must check all the appliances and gadgets around your house. You should check water heaters, washing machines, dishwashers, garbage disposals, and refrigerators. 


Check the water supply for leaking hoses, faulty pipe connections, and worn hoses. It would be best if you also inspected the interior of your appliances and air conditioner.


4. Use Your Nose


You can detect water damage using your sense of smell. Water-damaged walls, floors and carpets give off a distinct smell that indicates hidden plumbing issues, including leaking appliance hoses and dripping sink pipes.


8 Tips to Repair Water Damage


Now that you know the signs of it, it’s time to learn how to repair water damage. Here are some useful tips for flood damage repair. 


1. Make Sure The Power Is Off


Electricity and water are obviously not the safest combinations out there. If you must stand or enter wet areas to shut off the power, leave it alone and call an electrician. Turn off the electricity before reentering a flood-damaged home.


2. Contact Your Insurance Company


There are different types of homeowners’ insurance, so your coverage will vary. A claims adjuster will inspect the damage to determine whether the insurance policy covers it.


Take photos of all items before, during, and after cleanup to document their values. An adjuster will be able to assess the damage more easily if this information is provided.


3. Make Sure the Affected Area Is Dried Out


You should drain water from the house as soon as possible to prevent additional damage. Make sure the affected area is well-ventilated using fans. Consider renting a large-capacity dehumidifier to thoroughly dry wood, carpet, and other materials around a larger area. Water damage repair should leave no moisture behind.


4. Ensure that the Remaining Materials Are Disinfected


Before you begin working, disinfect the entire area after removing damaged components. A bleach solution is the most common choice, but several homemade options exist. Make sure no mould spores remain in the area before you begin water damage repair.


5. Gear Up for Protection


You should wear protective clothing when you re-enter your home. This includes rubber boots and gloves. If you do this, you will be protected from injuries that can be infected by bacteria-filled water.


6. You Should Replace Damaged Wood


You will have to replace all deformed wood, especially flooring, rotten wood, and mouldy or mildewed wood. During and following a water damage repair project, you should be sure to replace the wood if it’s a structural component of your house.


7. Dry Out Water Damage and Humidity


It is possible to prevent carpet stains by removing wood furniture from wet carpet areas and covering the feet with tin foil. If you have rugs on wet flooring, remove them as well.


Any items that are too damaged or unsafe to use should be thrown away after flood restoration.


You can remove standing water with buckets or plastic tubs if there is a lot. You can then use a mop to absorb water in areas that are difficult to reach. After most of the water has been removed, go to a local hardware or grocery store and rent a wet-dry vacuum to get rid of everything, allowing the area to ventilate and dry completely. 


After the standing water is gone, dealing with damp household items is still necessary, especially if you live in a humid climate. You can remove humidity with central air conditioning if your electricity is restored. Using a floor fan or a dehumidifier can also help dry damp areas of your home.


8. Inspect for Mould


Ensure that damaged materials do not have mould or mildew. If a problem has been lingering for a long time, like mould caused by condensation in an attic, the mould may have begun growing long ago. 


You need to be very careful if you find mould or mildew issues. All mould damages the materials it infests; some are even toxic to humans. If there is a small mould issue, remove the material, bag it, and dispose of it as soon as possible. 


To avoid spore contamination, get out of the area, shut down any airflow, and call a professional. This inspection and water damage repair will continue as mould can appear in hidden places like inside the walls or under floors.




Any type of water damage is dangerous to your health and property. Take care of it as soon as possible to avoid disaster. Furthermore, some affected areas are hidden from view and difficult to spot.


Getting help from a professional in the water damage restoration area is the wisest decision. Our expert team has professionals in different fields, such as water damage, snow lead, wind damage, etc., and is available 24/7 to help solve your problems. 


How to Identify Water Damage FAQ


How Long Does it Take for Water Damage to Show?


In most cases, water damages your home’s infrastructure within one hour to a full day. Affected furniture or drywall will show signs such as bulging, cracking, and swelling.

Does water damage get worse over time?


Yes. Water damage can worsen over time if you don’t take care of it. The speed at which that occurs depends on how much water we’re talking about, where it is located, and how old the building is.


What should I do immediately after water damage?


After water damage, you should: 

  1. Contact your insurance company.
  2. Make sure you take safety precautions, such as shutting off the electricity.
  3. Clean up.
  4. Contact a professional.
  5. Replace the damaged stuff, such as flooring and walls.

What are the side effects of water damage?


The growth and spread of mould and mildew are among the most devastating effects of water damage. Within a couple of days, mould can begin to grow in water-logged areas. Aside from damaging the structural integrity of your home, it is also harmful to your and your family’s health. 


These health issues might include headaches, chronic coughing, breath shortness, fatigue, etc.