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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How Do I Know If Water Damage Is Fresh or Old?

4/5/2022 (Permalink)

Water damage is bad for anyone living in the building. Water damage not only causes unsightly water stains, swollen wood, and destroys drywall, but it also causes a nasty, musty odor and mold growth. That’s why it’s essential to know if water damage is fresh or old. 

Maybe you are thinking about buying a house, and you notice signs of water damage. Or you’ve discovered unnoticed water damage in a crawl space, basement, or attic. In that case, it’s crucial to know if the damage is fresh or old. This is because the age of water damage can impact the cost of repairs. 

Leaks or prolonged condensation over a period of time cause water-damaged spots. Unchecked water leaks can cause walls or ceilings to sag or bulge and result in structural damage and mold growth. Therefore, it is crucial to inspect and take mitigation steps to repair water damage.

This article features some ways to help you identify the age of water damage.

How to Determine the Extent of Water Damage

Here are a few tell-tale signs to help determine the extent of water damage and how long it’s been there. 

1. Number of rings

Soft materials like drywall and wooden floors develop rings when they experience water damage over an extended period. This is because water soaks into these materials, resulting in discoloration that dries, leaving a stain behind. 

How can you tell if water damage is new or old? Just like a tree — the more rings, the older the water damage is.

2. Touch the affected area

Areas with old water damage will feel soft but not necessarily damp. For example, suppose a wooden floor or drywall has experienced recent water damage. In that case, it will feel moist but still relatively firm. However, If the patch is dry but soft and deteriorating, it’s probably old water damage. 

3. Signs of visible mold growth

Mold usually doesn’t happen overnight. Mold growth creeps up at least a few days after water damage. The presence of mold spores and black mold growth clearly indicates that the water damage spots are at least a few days old. However, it could be much older. The presence of mold growth in cold areas indicates high water damage. 

Water Damage Restoration Process

If you notice any signs of water damage, it’s vital to act quickly. Over time, water can impact your home’s structure. However, it also causes unsightly patches and mold growth that need resolving urgently. 

How can you mitigate the effects of new or old water damage? 

Water extraction

The first step is to remove excess water from your house to prevent more damage to your structure. This also reduces the chances of mold growth. 

Drying and dehumidification

Mold multiplies in humid conditions, so it is crucial to remove excess water. Implementing a drying and dehumidification process removes moisture from the air and structure. This is the best way to prevent mold growth and restore water damage. 

Cleaning and disinfecting

Floods and burst sewage pipes cause contaminants to enter your home. And these substances can expose you and your family to serious health risks. Water damage specialists have the equipment and technology to sanitize surfaces and disinfect affected areas.

Reconstruction and repairs

After performing water extraction, drying, and dehumidification, the reconstruction and repairs stage begins. The reconstruction team aims to bring your home or commercial building to a preloss state. 

Call for Help ASAP

SERVPRO has been helping residents in Dallas for years to mitigate the problems caused by new or old water damage. 

Call us today at (214) 272-7600 to learn about our Dallas water damage remediation services. Our staff is fully trained and experienced in emergency fire damage restoration for your business and home. 

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