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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How to Determine if Water Damage is New or Old

5/7/2020 (Permalink)

Water damage on ceiling. This ceiling has obvious signs of water damage, leaving behind ring-shaped stains.

Water damage to your home is devastating and stressful. Water damage can cause many problems and one of the more difficult situations to this is detecting whether or not the damage is new or old. 

Your home has pipes everywhere, including on the inside of your ceiling and walls. Because the pipes can't be seen, you can get an estimate of how long the water damage has been there by evaluating the water damage itself. You will not be able to get an exact time, but you will be able to get an estimate on the amount of time it has been there.

1. Determine Materials:             Water effects different materials in different ways. If tile, brick, or other rough materials have been affected by water damage, there is a good chance the damage is old because it takes time to wear on these materials and cause leaks. On the other hand, if the damage is in the dry wall, hardwood flooring, or carpet it could be new or old damage.

2. Look for Rings:                    Drywall, wood floors, and other softer materials may develop "rings" if they have suffered water damage over a long period of time. The water soaks in and will discolor the material and once it dries it will leave a stain behind. When this happens a few times, the effect is like several rings of water damage. This means the water damage is old.

3. Touch the Spot:              Areas that have new water damage are likely to be wet but not soft. If you touch the area and it is soft, this means the water has had time to soak in - so the water damage is old. 

4. Asses Mold:                    Mold growth can begin 24-48 hours after water damage. If you have visible mold growth on the water damaged area, you know it has been soaked for at least 48 hours. More extensive mold indicated water damage that has been there longer.

5. Ask the Professionals:        If you are wondering whether the water damage is new or old, the best bet would be to call restoration specialists that can come and asses the severity of the damage. They will also help with finding the cause and restoring the damage. 

If you find water damage in your home or business, call SERVPRO of Piscataway today at 732-752-4445.

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