The Signs of Water Damage to Your Home, and What You Can Do About It


Stains on The Walls or Ceilings

Water damage can sneak by the homeowner and go unnoticed for months or even years, decreasing the value of the property and even causing health issues. This article will show you what water damage looks like, how to prevent water damage, and what to do when you discover water damage in your home. 

Stains on The Walls or Ceilings

The most obvious sign of water damage in the home is discoloration or stains on your walls or ceilings. Stains like these are often caused by leaky plumbing or a leak in the roof or wall during rainy weather. These stains can start small and grow if the leak isn’t discovered and addressed quickly.

If you notice wet spots or stains on the wall, the clock has already started ticking. It’s essential to catch water damage in the early stages to avoid structural damage or excessive mold growth.


One of the most dangerous and destructive results of water damage is mold and mildew. As anyone who’s lived in a college dorm or old apartment building can tell you, mold can be found anywhere moisture and oxygen are present. It will grow in a damp environment only 24 hours after introducing moisture.

While black mold is often feared as the most dangerous type of mold to find in the home, any mold can be detrimental to your health; for those who are sensitive or allergic to mold or have a pre-existing condition such as asthma, breathing in mold can cause coughing, congestion, and shortness of breath. Even those less sensitive to the effects of mold can be affected with cold-like symptoms.

Mold is one of the more dangerous signs of water damage and should always be dealt with quickly.

Paint Flakes or Peels

Moisture can cause paint to flake or peel. Areas where the paint on the wall is peeling or flaking may indicate that the drywall underneath is wet. Drywall is not waterproof, and holds onto moisture. It’s very important to identify and treat a leak right away on the walls, because drywall can be a hiding place and even a food source for mold.

Musty Smells

Another common sign of water damage are musty smells. Standing water and trapped moisture can give off a musty, damp, moldy smell as bacteria starts to grow. To get rid of the musty smell, you need to treat the source of the moisture and dry out the area completely. The area should also be sanitized thoroughly to get rid of any mold, mildew, or bacteria. Once the moisture and mold are gone and the area has dried out completely, the musty smell should dissipate.

Humidity and Dampness

Unexplained humidity or dampness in the home can indicate an undetected water leak. Does an area in your home feel unusually damp or humid? A nearby leak may be the cause.

Check for standing water and dampness, especially around outside walls and plumbing. Drywall, carpet, and upholstered furniture can be some of the worst culprits for retaining moisture and causing that tell-tale humidity in the case of a leak. Keeping an eye out for the warning signs such as humidity and bad smells will help you to catch leaks early on and prevent further damage.

Pooling Water

While it might seem obvious, finding standing or pooling water under and around a pipe can be a sign of a leak. A puddle of water that returns after cleaning is a clear indication of a pipe leak. Even a small leak can cause big problems over time. When you first notice water damage, it’s a race to find the cause of the damage and fix the leak before it causes too many additional problems. 

Significant standing water in your home, such as in a basement, is a sign that it might be time to call in the professionals. In the case of a flood, or if your internal pipes have burst, the water must be considered unsafe and potentially contaminated. Even when there is extensive water damage, your home can still be repaired, restored, and made liveable again.

Damaged Flooring

One of the most expensive and disruptive places to find water damage is in the floors. Flooring usually starts to show signs of water damage in corners or in rooms that are used infrequently. When there is moisture in or underneath the flooring, it may buckle, curl, and warp. The floors can also show the discoloration and spotting typical in other areas of a home, hold musty smells, and lead to mold growth.

A floor that has begun warping, lifting, or feels squishy to step on is usually caused by water-damaged subflooring, usually made of wood or concrete. If water is seeping into subflooring it may be due to a saturated foundation or pipe leakages. While a homeowner may be able to fix water damage to floors in some cases, if the damage is extensive enough, the flooring and even subflooring may need to be replaced.

Sounds of Dripping Water

A home may produce all sorts of sounds, like humming appliances, creaky stairs, and noisy pets. One sound that homeowners should not expect to hear is running water. When you can hear dripping in a place it’s not supposed to be, that’s a clear sign that there’s water where it’s not supposed to be.

Leaks may cause audible watery sounds, depending on what type of leak it is and where. A damaged roof letting in rainwater might drip, and a cracked internal pipe might spray water. Hearing a dripping sound or the sound of rushing or running water suggests water damage. You can use sound to pinpoint the leak’s location and deal with it quickly.

Unusually High Water Bills

Another sign of water damage is a sudden increase in the water or sewage bill. Minor fluctuations are common and may be related to the season or personal use, but a sudden spike in usage that you can’t explain could mean there is an issue. Just because the water leaking isn’t being used by you, doesn’t mean you won’t have to pay for it. If you notice that your water bill is unusually high, it’s a sign to check for leaks and problems with your plumbing.

What Can You Do When You Identify Possible Water Damage?

You suspect that there is water damage in your home. What steps do you need to take?

First, decide whether or not you can diagnose the problem yourself or need to call in an expert. If you can identify the source of the problem and the damage is minimal, you may be able to fix the leak and deal with the damage yourself. But if you’re not absolutely sure what’s wrong, or that you can fix it yourself, then it’s definitely time to call the professionals.

Restoration experts like our team at Demarco Restoration will assess the damage, find the source of the problem, and make a plan for restoring and repairing the damage. Our water damage restoration experts will be at your door in 90 minutes or less to find and stop the leak and determine your next steps. When you find water damage in your home, consider calling Demarco Restoration to identify the problem, assess the damage, and restore your property.

How to Prevent Water Damage to Your Home in The First Place?

There are several steps you can take to prevent water damage from happening in the first place.

First, you can prevent water damage by maintaining your property. Damaged or clogged gutters, poorly draining sinks and drains, cracked or missing caulking, and a damaged roof can all lead to leaks in the home that can cause water damage.

Next, protect against severe weather by freeze-proofing pipes, water-proofing the basement, and maintaining trees and vegetation. You can even go further by installing a sump pump in the basement or by installing leak detectors.

Finally, the most important way to prevent water damage is to keep a close eye out for any leaks and fix them immediately. Minor leaks are no big deal when they’re dealt with right away, but can cause major damage down the line if not addressed.

Read more about preventing water damage here.

Final Thoughts

We hope this article has been helpful in showing you the signs of water damage in the home. When you know what water damage looks like, you can identify the source of the water quickly to keep the damage to a minimum. From discolored walls, mold, and peeling paint to musty smells and squishy floors, you have all the tools you need to identify what water damage looks like so you can get started on fixing it.

Call Demarco Restoration today to get started with a free consultation on water damage in your home.

Demarco Restoration

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