Between 2010 and 2018, the annual cost of flood damage was approximately $17 billion in the United States. 

Severe weather isn’t the only reason for damage. Clogged gutters, leaking pipes, blocked drains, and leaking water heaters can be disastrous for your property. 

But what does water damage look like? 

While some water leaks are obvious, some can go unnoticed. Hidden water damage is particularly dangerous because it can cause serious harm before you even notice. 

To avoid spending thousands on repairs, you need to know how to tell if a house has water damage. 

Black mold buildup in the corner of an old house. development of mildew under the Wallpaper

Mold Growth

Signs of mold are never a good sign. Mold is a type of fungus that thrives in damp, moist environments. When you see visible signs of mold, it usually means the moisture level in your home is too high. 

How to tell if you have mold? You’ll see specks of black or furry growth on damp surfaces, especially bathrooms. 

Roof leaks, high interior humidity, and overflowing washing machines are common sources of moisture and can cause mold in your home. 

As mold grows, spores can enter the air. When they do, they can produce allergens and irritants. Mold exposure can lead to symptoms such as red and itchy eyes, wheezing, and coughing. 

In the ideal environment, mold can grow quickly. Take action immediately. 

Musty Smells

Water damage can be hidden, but it can’t hide smells. An unpleasant musty odor is a key sign of water damage. Musty smells are caused by water damage that has slipped into your home undetected. 

Sources may include a leaky pipe, toilet leak, gutter leak, or a recent rain or snowstorm. 

You can mask the smell, but it won’t fix the problem. If you or your guests complain about a musty smell, it’s crucial to find its source before it causes more damage. 

Flooding rainwater or floor heating systems, causing damage, peeling paint and mildew
Flooding rainwater or floor heating systems, causing damage, peeling paint and mildew.

Stains and Discoloration

Damage from a flood can lead to unsightly stains on your walls and ceilings. While it may be tempting to paint over it, this is a common sign of water damage and shouldn’t be ignored. 

It can be challenging to know whether stained or discolored walls are due to water damage. But unlike paint, water leaves behind a fine powder-like residue. You might notice your plaster turning different shades of brown, yellow, orange, and green. 

Peeling Wall Paint

Peeling wall paint is one of the most common signs of hidden water damage. Water causes paint to lose its adhesion to drywall. When this happens, the paint will start peeling off. The longer you leave it, the harder it will be to repair. 

As soon as you notice peeling paint, call a professional to help you track down the source. 

water damaged ceiling next to window

Sagging Ceilings and Walls

A sagging ceiling or wall is something not to be taken lightly. Damage from a leaking roof can cause major structural issues for your ceiling.

It doesn’t take much water to soak into your insulation fiber and push your ceiling plasterboard towards its breaking point. 

Left alone, sagging ceilings can collapse, causing severe damage to your property and endangering the safety of its occupants. 

Luckily, it’s relatively easy to spot sagging ceilings and walls. As soon as you do, don’t wait until it gets worse. Call for help ASAP. 

Sudden Increase in Utility Bills

Have you received your latest utility bill and nearly had a heart attack? 

Water leaks often cause an unusually high water bill. The longer the leak remains unaddressed, the higher your bill will be. 

Pay close attention to your water bill and note any unusually high spikes. Nobody likes a high utility bill, but it might be a godsend if it points to a potential hidden problem. 

Sounds of Dripping Water

A constant dripping noise usually points to a leaky tap or a shower head that hasn’t been turned off properly. In most cases, you can simply turn it off and go about your day.

However, if you can’t find the origin of a dripping noise, it could point to water damage within your walls. While this issue can be harmless, it could also point to a cracked pipe. 

A cracked pipe can leak and cause structural damage and high water bills unless you address it properly. 

Damaged Flooring

When water gets under flooring or manages to soak into the floor, the material can bend, warp or buckle. The space under your flooring can also become a breeding ground for mold. 

Water damage to flooring is common, so it’s a good idea to regularly inspect your floor, especially if you have had moisture problems in the past. 

Noticeable stains, bubbling, cracking, and sagging are signs of water damage under your floor. 

If you ignore it, it may spread and eventually rot the flooring and the wood structure of your home. 

The Next Steps

If you find evidence of hidden water damage from a storm, it’s important to act immediately. Left unchecked, water will slowly decimate your drywall, create black mold, and weaken the structural integrity of your home. 

Avoid costly water repairs and contact 1d Remedy, your local restoration experts. We specialize in restoring and repairing residential water damage

Once you call us, we will schedule an assessment and create an actionable plan. With over 25 years of experience, we know what it takes to get your property back to normal.

Don’t delay. Give us a call today!