According to Water Damage Defense, water damage causes costs of $2.5 billion every year, with an average water damage insurance claim of $6,965.

In order to keep any water damage in your home to a minimum, it’s important to be able to detect water damage threats early on, before they cause thousands of dollars of damage.

Learning how to tell if water damage is new or old is a key part of stopping water damage early. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

How to Tell If Water Damage Is New Or Old

Before you call someone to repair your water damage, use these techniques to assess your home’s water damage so you can give the technicians some idea of what they’re going to have to work with.

Examine Spots For Rings

You can often find water damage spots because they discolor drywall, ceiling panels, and other common house materials. If you have a discolored spot in your home, examine it closely.

If you find rings in your ceiling water damage, there’s a good chance that you have old water damage. Why is that?

When water first seeps into your home, it eventually dries out and leaves water stains on ceiling or wall areas. But if the same spot leaks again, then it will soak into the discolored area and leave another spot when it dries.

Water Damage

Since the two spots are probably not exactly the same size, you can then see two distinct borders. That’s why finding a water stain on kitchen ceiling or wall areas with multiple rings suggests that your leak has been recurring for some time.

Check the Feel of Your Home’s Material

Feel the spots in your home that have been discolored or otherwise affected by water damage. Recent water damaged materials should still feel somewhat strong and sturdy, albeit wet.

On the other hand, areas that were damaged a while ago will have broken down and lost their structural integrity. They may feel soft or mushy. If it feels like it no longer provides any support, it probably doesn’t.

Account For Differences In Material Properties

Different materials manifest water leaks differently. Drywall quickly absorbs water, so just a small amount of water becomes quickly evident.

Thicker materials like wood, on the other hand, can absorb a lot of water without it ever soaking all the way through so that you can see it with your own eyes. That means, if you see signs of water damage in solid wood, there may be a lot more water damage than it seems.

Check For Mold

If you want to know how old is water damage in your home, keep in mind that mold takes a few days to grow. It also requires a consistently wet environment to live and spread properly. Finding signs of mold or mildew can suggest that your home has been suffering water damage for at least a few days, maybe longer.

Once you’ve assessed your home’s water damage, you’ll want to find the best water damage cleanup and restoration available.

Keep Your Home In Top Condition

We hope you learned something helpful about how to tell if water damage is new or old. To read more about culture, lifestyle, tech, and more, check out our other pages.