How to recognize water damage in a home

Homes are potentially susceptible to a host of problems. While unforeseen problems can prove costly, homeowners who keep attentive eyes on their homes can oftentimes discover small problems before they escalate.

Water damage is a potentially costly problem that can afflict any home. Old homes tend to be most susceptible to water damage, and that damage can manifest itself in various ways. The following are some telltale signs of water damage that should give prospective home buyers pause and compel current homeowners to seek professional assistance as soon as possible.

Stains
Many prospective home buyers have been disappointed by the sight of water stains during an open house or home inspection. Water stains tend to be on ceilings and/or walls. Stains on ceilings tend to be round, while wall stains are straight lines down the wall that may or may not have forced paint to peel.

Water stains are not necessarily indicative of a major problem, but homeowners should have the stains examined by a professional while potential buyers should direct their home inspector’s attention to the stains. Deteriorating wood Wood around windows or doors that is deteriorating may indicate water problems. The wood might be deteriorating because water is infiltrating the wood during storms. Baseboards and molding that is dilapidated or beginning to deteriorate may also indicate water damage. Buckled drywall or wood Drywall or wood that is buckled or beginning to buckle is another potential indicator of water damage. Drywall buckles when it gets wet, and that is often a sign that there is a leak behind the drywall. Severely buckled drywall will feel as if it has ridges. Wood also buckles when it is exposed to excess moisture, and this can usually be felt when walking on the wood barefoot or in socks.

Odour
Sometimes water damage is best detected by the smell test. Homeowners who notice the smell of mold or mildew in rooms that previously never emanated such odors might have homes that are in the early stages of water problems. The water damage might be behind the walls, where mold is beginning to form thanks to water damage. Older homes tend to be musty, but call in a professional if you notice that mustiness if more pungent than usual. Water damage is a potentially costly problem, especially if it goes unnoticed for months or even years. Homeowners and prospective home buyers should be on the lookout for signs of water damage before problems escalate and require expensive repairs.