The most obvious sign of water damage is a wet carpet with standing water, but not all water damages are as easy to see. If you can’t find any standing water, but your house feels clammy, or there’s an odd musty smell, it can mean a water problem.
How to Spot Water Damage:
In some cases, water damage is easy to spot when water is dripping from your ceiling. But in many other cases, it can be challenging. But there are several signs that you can see that indicate potential water damage. They include condensation on windows and walls, bubbling paint, a bad smell, mold, and peeling wallpaper.
In this blog post, I will explain how you can detect water damage. What are the signs of water damage in your ceiling? How can you spot water damage under your floor or in your wall?
- 1 Does Water Damage Show Immediately?
- 2 Can You Detect Water Damage?
- 3 Early Signs of Water Damage on the Ceiling
- 4 Signs of Water Damage under the floor
- 4.1 ● Water damage under the floor: Buckling
- 4.2 ● Water damage under the floor: Crowning
- 4.3 ● Water damage under the floor: Cupping
- 4.4 ● Water damage under the floor: Discoloration
- 4.5 ● Water damage under the floor: Warping
- 4.6 ● Water damage under the floor: Odors:
- 4.7 You think you have a problem but can not find a cause
- 5 How to detect water damage in walls
- 6 What Do You Spray on Walls After Flood?
- 7 How Do You Know if Your Motherboard Has Water Damage?
Does Water Damage Show Immediately?
Unfortunately, water damage doesn’t always happen in an instant. It is a problem that may take a while to notice. The duration for identifying this problem in your home depends on the amount of water leaking. Large water leaks will be noticed almost immediately. Tiny leaks may take much longer before you spot them. Some can take weeks or more.
The size of the leak, the location, the type of leak, and the materials involved mainly determine how long before you notice the damage. More significant leaks allow more water to enter your home, which takes a shorter time to see. A minor leak inside a wall will take more time to show. And a material like drywall will show water damage much clearer than bare concrete.
Also, the type of leak can play a significant factor. A small crack in your roof that leaks during rain and a specific wind direction will be much harder to spot. Particularly when these specific circumstances only happen once in a while.
Can You Detect Water Damage?
When you see water dripping from your ceiling, it is clear you have a problem. But in some other instances, it will be much harder to know you have a problem. The faster you fix the leak, the less damage it can do. Knowing how to detect and see the signs of water damage can be a great help.
Some of the signs you should look out for when assessing for water damage include:
● Water Stains
One of the most apparent signs of water damage in your home is water stains. The size of these stains indicates the size of water leaks – bigger stains indicate bigger water leaks. These stains mostly show on the walls and ceilings. When assessing your home for water leaks and damage, ensure you pay adequate attention to the corners where the floors, walls, and ceilings meet. In case of any water stains or discoloration, take time to locate the source of the leaks and address them effectively.
Always use a suitable primer when you have found and fixed the water leak and want to repair the paint damage. The primer will form a layer between the new paint’s water-damaged paint. Without the primer, the water stain will be visible again.
● Dampness and Humidity
Unexplained dampness or humidity in your home is another telltale sign for an unidentified water leak. You should check for moist surfaces such as walls and counters that shouldn’t be accumulating any water. The culprit is a nearby leak that should be found and fixed.
Always know that water can travel quite some distance and travels downwards. I have seen cases where the leak was in the roof but only showed near the floor. The water found its way through the wall and did not cause visible damage until it reached the floor.
Mold is another symptom of water damage in your home. It thrives in damp and moist places, which explains why it likes water leaks. Mold is linked to many health issues, including allergic reactions and respiratory and skin conditions.
Visible mold can indicate water leaks in your home but can also result from humidity issues. Either way, it should be addressed immediately to mitigate its effects. After fixing the source, you still have to remove the mold. When mold is also inside your wall or ceiling, particularly with porous materials, I recommend asking a professional for help. Do not underestimate mold.
● Dripping/ Strange Noises
Every homeowner is familiar with the sound of dripping water. However, leaking water sounds can be deceptive, which necessitates why you should be cautious about every water sound you hear.
The ideal time to listen to assess water sounds in your home is at night – when it is quietest. Besides, you can also identify these leaks by rushing or scratching noises.
● Paint Damage/ Soft Spots
Paint and wood are highly vulnerable to water damage. Therefore, it is vital to focus on them when assessing your home for water damage. Some of the features to look out for include peeling paint and warped floorboards, mainly resulting from water damage.
These effects can also affect walls and ceilings, especially the wooden and painted ones.
● Health Issues
Mold is linked with many health issues. If you have health issues with unknown causes, do a mold check. It does not mean mold is the cause, but it better be safe than sorry. Assess the property for water leaks when home occupants suddenly start having symptoms that could be related to mold.
Delays in assessing and fixing the water leak source often result in more extensive damages. Addressing these damages as early as possible is the key to saving money and safeguarding your home occupants from potentially severe health concerns.
Early Signs of Water Damage on the Ceiling
The ceiling is one of the most affected areas from water leaks, particularly the ceiling under the roof. It is among the primary places you should consider when assessing your home for water damage. Understand that the leak itself does not need to be right above the visible damage. Particularly with a sloped roof, water will find its way down.
Some of the signs to look out for when assessing the ceiling include:
- Discoloration – yellow, brown, or copper stains
- Mold or mildew
- Newly formed cracks
- Peeling paint
Ceiling water damage may result from roof leaks. Act as you identify one or more of the above signs on your ceiling. If you do not know how to do it yourself, ask a professional for help. They have a lot of experience and often can find the culprit quickly.
Signs of Water Damage under the floor
Water damage under the floor can be challenging to spot. After a natural disaster like a flood, most homeowners will understand that there can be a problem under their floor. If you have a crawl space under your floor, it is the best place to check for issues. Standing water is, of course, something that should be handled immediately. In case of severe moisture, try to locate the source.
But if the cause is not that obvious, and you do not have a crawl space, you can look at other signs:
● Water damage under the floor: Buckling
Buckling occurs when your flooring detaches from the subflooring underneath. Your floor can either peel upwards or separate at the seams.
● Water damage under the floor: Crowning
Crowning occurs when the flooring shrinks due to a loss of moisture. It shows on the floor as rounded planks with the mid-part high and the edges low.
● Water damage under the floor: Cupping
Cupping is the opposite of crowning. Your flooring absorbs moisture, resulting in the plank edges curling upwards and the middle section slightly depressed.
● Water damage under the floor: Discoloration
Color changes are a sign of mold or mildew, no matter how small. Always inspect your flooring for new stains and discolored dark spots for mold growth.
● Water damage under the floor: Warping
Any strange incidents of peeling, cracking, or bubbling in your flooring are a sign of water damage.
● Water damage under the floor: Odors:
Mold and mildew are characterized by unusual odors in your flooring or subflooring. When you notice strange smells, always try to find the cause. It will be a false alarm in many cases, but it is essential to fix this when the odor is caused by mold.
You think you have a problem but can not find a cause
There are situations where you just have a feeling something is not ok. But somehow you can not find the reason. In that case, I recommend asking a professional for help. The sooner you find the reason, the cheaper it will be in the end. In many cases, water damage will only get worse and can even cause floor collapses or other nasty things.
And in case there is no problem, knowing this can feel like a big relief.
How to detect water damage in walls
Water damage in walls can be hard to detect. If water is dripping from your wall or your paint shows watermarks, it is clear you have a problem. But if that is not the case, there are various signs that will show you have a problem.
Here are a few things to look out for when checking your home for water damage in your walls:
- Musty odors: These odors occur due to excessive water absorption into drywalls, among other related materials.
- Mold growth: The occurrence of mold on your walls without any known plumbing repairs is a sign of an underlying water leak. Locate the leak and fix it immediately to prevent further damage.
- Visible signs: It is possible to identify a water leak in your walls through visible signs such as peeling wall paint or wallpaper, warped walls, and water stains.
Know that most water damages don’t happen overnight. Often it starts really small and gets bigger over time. Until it is big enough that the signs are visible. With this type of water damage, always do a thorough check for mold.
Mold can be difficult to detect and can be present inside your wall. If you are unclear how to do this, I recommend asking a professional for help. And always fix the leak first. When the water damage signs suddenly go away, it probably means they will return as sudden another time. Leaks don’t fix themselves (normally).
What Do You Spray on Walls After Flood?
Floods are among the most severe causes of water damage and mold. It is advisable to take adequate protective measures to prevent mold after floodwater damage, especially on walls and floors. Spraying household chlorine on the wall studs is one of the effective measures.
Despite being readily available and an affordable disinfectant, household chlorine can kill a range of bacteria and mold. As a result, this protects your home from the adverse effects of mold and mildew after water damage.
But before starting, ensure the walls and floor are really dry. Open doors and windows, use a fan. You can use a dehumidifier to shorten the drying speed further. To fight against mold, proper ventilation is key. And I recommend thoroughly cleaning the surface before spraying the concentration. Use appropriate eye and hand protection when working with chlorine.
How Do You Know if Your Motherboard Has Water Damage?
The motherboard is your computer’s brain. It connects the vital components in your machine allows them to work together for effective performance. However, water is the biggest enemy of electronics, and your motherboard is no exception.
In the event of water damage to your computer and motherboard, you should look out for the following signs:
- Corrosion: Corrosion near the solder joints. This is a clear sign something has happened.
- Moisture outside: Moisture outside the computer or laptop. Particularly near the location where the air is blown out of the computer or laptop.
- Moisture inside: Moisture inside the computer case.
- Bubbles: Bubbles under the computer screen
- Discoloration: Discoloration near the motherboard
- Sticky keyboard: In the case of a sticky keyboard, you know something has happened. If you have a separate keyboard, check the computer if it has a problem. If you have a laptop, you can be pretty sure that the electronics under the keyboard have a problem.
If your computer or laptop suddenly stops working, it is clear there is a problem. If you expect water damage do the following:
● Step 1. Powering down:
Power down the computer immediately. I recommend doing this quickly by just pressing and keeping the power button pressed. This will turn off the computer immediately.
● Step 2. Disconnect the power:
Disconnect the mains from the computer. In the case of the desktop, remove the cable at the back of the computer. In the case of a laptop, disconnect the power supply and the battery if possible.
● Step 3. Wipe clean:
Wipe off any excess liquid with a dry cloth or towel
● Step 4. Let it dry:
When all excess liquid has been removed, let the computer dry. If you open the case, this will go faster. But take your time. Try to avoid powering on too quickly. You want to ensure all moisture is gone. And this can take several days.
● Step 5. Turn on:
If you have ensured that the water and moisture have gone, you can try to turn on the computer. If the amount of water was small and you acted quickly, it often will still work. If it does not work, I recommend bringing it to a computer repair shop for a professional analysis and assessment.
Even when your computer works fine after the incident, it does not mean that the water did not do any damage. Corrosion is something that can start and result in problems after some time. If you know what you are doing, you can clean the electronics. Or ask a professional for help.