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Eight Signs That Your Home Has Water Damage

Water damage is something every homeowner tries to protect their home against, but many have found that it can be a stealthy advisory. Water damage can be hard to detect until it reaches a significant and usually expensive level. These are our favorite tips to help you know where to look and what to look for so you can recognize the signs of water damage.

Know what your home sounds like.

Water damage is not always silent, but it also does not always sound the same. In your home, the sound of water damage could be the illusive sound of water dripping or a rushing river. It could also be a creaking floor board that never creaked before. Be conscious of what your home sounds like so that you can know when the effects of water damage have modified that sound.

Know what your home smells like.

Becoming “nose-blind” to the smells in your home is a common issue for many of us, but luckily, the odors caused by mold and mildew are pretty distinct. This is usually a musty smell found in basements or cellars, but it can also be found around walls or anywhere water has accumulated for an extended period of time. Be careful to stay aware of this smell, it is a sign that your home has a moisture issue that needs to be detected and addressed right away.

Keep an eye on your water bill.

If there have not been changes in your water usage, yet your bill has increased, this could be a sign that you have an undetected leak in your home’s plumbing system. Be sure to investigate this. If the leak has caused a significant amount of standing water, it could result in serious water damage.

Do you see water?

One of the most obvious signs that you have water damage is if you see an accumulation of water in or near your home. There can be a number of causes for this, but they all can point to the same issue- you have or could soon have water damage. This can be due to a leaking roof, old or malfunctioning appliances, or leaking draining pipes.

Are there colors there that weren’t there before?

Discoloration is a clear sign that there is definitely something going on beneath the surface. Common forms of discoloration are rust, water spots, and yellow, brown or copper stains. These can usually be found on ceilings, walls or floors. Of course, look for rust on your metal surfaces like pipes, water heaters or bathroom fixtures. Although evidence of rust isn’t an indication of water damage, it could be a sign that issues could arise in the future.

Do you see changes in texture?

Although signs of discoloration can be pretty straight forward, texture changes can be unique to each surface type.

Walls & Ceilings

Texture changes on walls or ceilings can result in bubbling peeled or warped paint or wallpaper. This can be an indication that there is a water leak behind the wall.


Unlike walls and ceilings, one of the few indications that you have flooring water damage is change in texture. This is caused by water seeping into the floor boards and affecting the areas underneath them. This can look like:

  • Cupping/Warping- Changes in moisture and temperature create gaps between floorboards and cause their edges to curl.
  • Sagging- Soft, spongy or sagging spots in your wood flooring are typically indications that the wood is rotting.
  • Buckling- This is a sign that water damage has caused one side of the wood to detach from the substrate and turn upward.
  • Expansion- Water damage will cause flooring materials like wood and laminate to swell and separate once they have absorbed too much water.

Does it feel chilly?

If your home has become harder to heat then this could be a sign that something is going on in your walls. If there is an evidence of moisture or dampness in your walls, it could be drawing heat and making your home more difficult to keep warm.

Do you see mold?

“X” marks the spot. Mold is without a doubt the most common sign of water damage. Although mold may not be an indication that the water damage is severe, it is an indicator that there is too much moisture present in that area.

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