Common Signs of Water Damage and How to Spot Them

No matter how prepared or experienced a property owner is, water damage can strike at any time without warning. No one will prevent it completely. Once it happens, catching it quickly is the primary goal. The longer you wait to get it fixed, the more it is going to cost you. Familiarize yourself with the signs of water damage and be on the lookout at all times.

Puddling – this is the most obvious way to spot water damage. Maybe someone just spilled a drink, but then again, maybe they didn’t. Unfortunately, if a puddle has already formed, chances are good that water damage has been present for a while.

Discoloration – the most common signs of water damage. Whenever there is water leaking of any kind, discoloration will not be far behind. Look for it especially on ceilings under bathrooms and appliances that use water. Yellow and brown marks will appear anywhere that water has fallen and dried.

Musty Odor – Drywall acts like a sponge and can soak up water. If that water is left for a long time, it will start to give off a musty smell. If you continuously smell something off, chances are that there is a water leak nearby. If no stains are visible the leak is most likely on a lower level. If the musty smell seems to be most prominent after a heavy rain or snow thaw, check for issues with the foundation of your building.

Changes in Texture – water damaged floors might not show any discoloration; especially if they are already a darker color or carpeted. Feel for any areas that are warping, buckling or sagging. Wood and laminate expand when they absorb water. That will create gaps between floorboards. The sub-floor can also absorb water and rot creating sagging. You should be able to feel the raised or lowered areas of the floor as you walk across it. This can happen in corners and along walls. Water can leak from pipes in the walls and drip down to damage the floor. It will not always be in the middle of the room where it can easily be found.

High Utility Bill – always check your water bill for anomalies. Was the water bill extra high this month and you’re not sure why? It could be because there is a water leak that has been continuously running all month. Of course, it could also have been that staff party you had last week. This is not the most accurate way to find a water leak, but if your bills are abnormally high month after month with no explanation, it might be time to start looking for water damage.

If any of these signs of water damage are present in your building, it is important to take care of them as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more expensive it is going to be to fix. The first thing you need to do is locate the leak. Check exposed piping under sinks and toilets first. Then check all appliances that use water like dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerators, etc. These are the biggest culprits for causing water damage. Shut off water to the broken appliance to stop the leak from getting worse and then call an expert!

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