Discovering water damage in your house can be horrifying. However, before you go into full-on panic mode, it is paramount to assess the situation. Understanding whether the water damage is new or old could assist you in your response to the case.

However, every type of water damage requires an appropriate course of action to be taken. Besides, ignoring the water damage will eventually lead to serious consequences, such as structural degradation, mold growth, and health issues.

Therefore, SS Water Restoration, the leading provider of 24/7 water damage restoration, mold remediation, and sewage cleaning services, presents this guide to confidently distinguish between new or old water damage.

Common Causes of Water Damage

Water damage can wreak havoc on your home, and understanding the various sources can help you prevent or minimize its impact. Here’s a breakdown of some common causes of water damage:

Plumbing Problems

This is the major cause of water damage. Leaky appliances are those that let in more water than they release into the environment. A few of the common culprits are:

  • Dripping faucets- a faucet with a drip of 1 drop per minute will waste close to 20 liters daily. If it is a hot water tap, then the cost of energy to heat 20 liters of water to 0 degrees Celsius is close to one pound. Drips are very destructive, especially when they occur under cabinets and behind the wall.
  • Worn or loose toilet connections- the wetness around the base of the toilet usually indicates leaking from the supply line. Or the wax ring seal may be damaged.
  • Clogged drains- water that takes ages to drain from sinks, shower trays, and the bathtub. Always dump the dirt and grease waste from the kitchen sink into the dust bin rather than in the sink.

Roof Leaks

A leaking roof is likely to harm your ceilings, walls, insulation, and sometimes even electrical wiring. Some of the common ways leaks occur are:

  • Missing or damaged shingles- If the shingles on your roof are missing or cracking, you are exposing your roof to water.
  • Clogged gutters- Overflowing or clogged gutters hinder rainwater from draining correctly. If your gutters become clogged, they will fail to drain rainwater away from your roof, causing water to collect under the roof. This gathered water has the potential to seep into your attic or house walls.
  • Flashing issues- Flashing around chimneys, skylights, and vent pipes can deteriorate over time, allowing water to leak into your home.

Appliance Malfunctions

Dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerators, and ice makers can all malfunction and cause water damage. Do consider the following:

  • Faulty hoses: Check the hoses in your washing machine and dishwasher on a regular basis to ensure they are still in good working order. Regularly inspect for signs of wear or cracking.
  • Icemaker malfunctions: The in-freezer ice maker might overflow and cause water damage if it becomes clogged or stops working.
  • Refrigerator leaks: Clogged drain lines and malfunctioning refrigerator defrost systems are common problems that lead to refrigerator leakage.

Foundation Issues

Cracks in your foundation can allow water to seep into your basement or crawlspace, leading to structural damage and mold growth. Look for:

  • Visible cracks: Inspect your foundation walls for any cracks, especially after heavy rain or snowmelt.
  • Water pooling around the foundation: Standing water around your foundation after rainfall indicates improper drainage and can lead to leaks.

Natural Disasters

Flooding, heavy rain, and snowmelt can overwhelm drainage systems and cause water intrusion into your home. Be prepared by having sandbags and waterproofing measures in place, especially if you live in a flood-prone area.

Understanding these common causes can help you prevent water damage or minimize its impact. Regularly inspecting your roof, gutters, pipes, and appliances for signs of wear and tear can be highly beneficial.

Signs of Water Damage

Early and prompt detection of water damage can prevent water accumulation and hence the problem from escalating. But how do you spot the signs of water damage? Here are several symptoms that will help you identify water damage.

  • Water stains: Water stains and black patches on walls, ceilings, floors, or other surfaces are among the most prevalent indicators, signifying a leak that is currently or has been present.
  • Paint damage: Trapped water can cause paint damage, resulting in cracked, bubbling, or peeling paint. If water leaks undetected, it might accumulate beneath or around pipes, appliances, or other objects that are not often associated with pools of water.
  • Damp stains: Damp stains appear on walls, kitchen countertops, and other surfaces, as does a rise in humidity or moisture in the basement where the leak may be located.
  • Mold Growth: The growth of black or green or white spots on indoor surfaces, usually associated with water damage, indicates mold .
  • Discoloration: Finally, there may be simply unexplained discoloration on the surfaces of walls, ceilings, floors, or other objects.

However, all of these symptoms can differ based on the affected material. For instance, drywall may begin to soften, ripple, or bow out as it takes up water/liquid, while normal brick or other similar materials may not indicate any damage.

What Does Water Damage Look Like- Accessing Age

Once you’ve identified water damage, assessing the age of water damage can help you understand the potential extent of the issue. But, How do you tell if water damage is new or old? Here are some key methods:

Material Inspection

Hard materials like brick, tile, and concrete take longer to exhibit visible signs of water damage compared to soft materials like drywall and wood, which may show immediate water damage signs.

Dampness Test

Carefully touch the affected area. Wetness with a firm texture suggests recent water damage, while a drier yet weaker area indicates older damage. Wear gloves and a mask for safety when performing this test, especially if mold is present.

Ring Stains

Circular stains with varying shades of color on walls or ceilings often signify old water damage caused by repeated leaks over time.

Mold Growth

Fresh mold growth, typically within 48 hours of water exposure, suggests recent water damage. Active mold growth manifests as visible filaments, while inactive mold appears dry and powdery.

Water Categories and Classes

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) has established a classification system for water damage based on the type of water and the extent of contamination. Understanding these categories can help you determine the appropriate course of action.

Water Categories

  • Category 1 refers to water clean at the source, like water from clean broken pipes or from a water source, like melted ice.
  • Category 2: it includes a significant contamination source. This type of water may come from unclean sources, but many do not contain sewage. Some of its sources might be dishwashers or washing machines.
  • Category 3 includes highly contaminated water that is hazardous to human health. This water contains sewage, floodwater, or even solidifies due to pathogens.

Water Damage Classes

These classify water damage based on the amount of water present and the difficulty of removal:

  • Class 1: Minimal water damage, often limited to a specific area.
  • Class 2: Moderate water damage may affect surrounding areas with some contained moisture.
  • Class 3: Extensive water damage, affecting multiple areas with significant moisture and structural damage.
  • Class 4: Very severe water damage, with widespread water intrusion and saturated materials.

Saturated Materials

Saturated materials are involved in the class 4 water damage. Saturated means that a given material cannot keep more water and has reached maximum absorption. Most saturated materials lose their structure or ability to be used and are extra-prone to mold growth. These include:

  • Drywall – easily saturated, it becomes soft and wet and can no longer support weight.
  • Carpeting – quickly becomes a mold bed that cannot be salvaged.
  • Wood flooring – prone to warping, getting wet and swelling, and undergoing restoration only in best-case scenarios.
  • Insulation – loses its cushioning properties and usually cannot be reused.

Saturated materials often indicate significant water damage and the need for professional restoration services. Companies like SS Water Restoration possess the expertise and equipment to handle extensive water damage restoration projects effectively.

Why Early Action Matters?

Ignoring water damage, regardless of age, can have serious consequences:

  • Mold Growth: Mold thrives in damp environments, and water damage creates the perfect breeding ground. Mold spores can trigger respiratory problems, allergies, and other health issues.
  • Structural Decay: Water-damaged materials weaken over time, compromising the structural integrity of your home. This can lead to expensive repairs and even safety hazards.
  • Increased Insurance Rates: Water damage claims can significantly improve your homeowner’s insurance premiums.
  • Decreased Property Value: Water damage can significantly reduce the value of your property.

Taking prompt action minimizes the extent of the damage and the associated costs for repairs and restoration.

SS Water Restoration: Reliable Restoration Services for Water Damage

At SS Water Restoration, we recognize the disturbances and havoc that can be caused by water damage. Our certified and professional technicians can respond to water damage emergencies in Collin County anytime. We offer the following water damage restoration services:

  • Water extraction and drying: SS uses cutting-edge equipment to extract unneeded water to avoid further harm and mold growth.
  • Dehumidification: We apply advanced dehumidifiers to regulate humidity levels and prevent further destruction.
  • Mold Remediation: Our professionals are NFIP accredited and trained to correct the issue effectively.
  • Structural Drying: We ensure that all structural components are thoroughly dried to avoid future issues.
  • Content Restoration: SS restores property destroyed by water damage.

With our specialized equipment and experience, SS will aim to restore your home to its original state as soon as feasible. SS Water Restoration is dedicated to delivering quality work and will give you the peace of mind you deserve.


Q: How can I prevent water damage?

A: Regularly inspecting your roof, gutters, pipes, and appliances for signs of wear and tear can help prevent water damage. Taking preventative measures like fixing leaky faucets and ensuring proper drainage around your foundation can also be beneficial.

Q: Can I handle water damage myself?

A: Minor water damage may be manageable on your own. However, for extensive water damage, especially involving saturated materials or contaminated water (Category 2 or 3), professional restoration services are highly recommended. SS Water Restoration possess the expertise and equipment necessary to handle complex water damage situations effectively and minimize the risk of further damage or health hazards.

Q: What should I do if I discover water damage in my home?

A: The first step is to turn off the source of the water leak if possible. Next, contact a professional water damage restoration company immediately to assess the situation and initiate the restoration process. Prompt action is necessary to minimize the extent of the damage and prevent further problems.


Identifying water damage promptly and determining its age is essential for effective restoration. By understanding the signs of water damage and the importance of early action, you can safeguard your home from significant structural damage, mold growth, and health risks.

SS Water Restoration stands ready to assist you 24/7 with any water damage emergency. Contact us for consultation on any issue whether it’s water damage in the floor, ceiling or attic, and let our experienced team restore your peace of mind.