5 Practical Tips to Identify Old or New Water Damage

For any property owner, experiencing water damage can quickly turn into a nightmare if not addressed right away. If you suspect this situation in your property, it can be due to prolonged condensation or unnoticed leaks. 

Have you ever seen dark spots on a ceiling? Know that if left unchecked and unrepaired for long periods, it can deteriorate and lead to sagging or even collapsing! This is why it’s vital that you foresee and take precautionary steps to repair areas in your property affected by water damage as soon as possible. 

If you suspect water damage in your property, it’s essential to identify whether it’s old or new. Here are five practical tips to help you differentiate between the two: 

1. Look Into The Affected Materials

It can become a bit tricky to identify the extent of water damage when you look into the items it has affected. Keep in mind that water affects materials differently, which is why you also need to know how these materials work.

For example, tough materials like tiles or bricks don’t wear and tear easily. If you see them prematurely wearing or tearing off, it’s likely that the water damage has been going on for quite a while. 

2. Check For Water Rings

Know that water rings develop over some time. These are rings that are more apparent in softer materials, in which the water soaks and discolors them, which eventually leaves a stain behind. These rings are powerful indicators of old water damage, and they are also a sign that the damage is intermittent. With that, the source of the water can be due to a pipe or roof leak. 

3. Feel the Spot

If you suspect water damage, be sure to feel it first. If the area is wet, it could be a new one, but if it’s already soft, then the damage must have been there for some time. However, keep in mind that rigid materials will not soften at all, so touching the area may not tell you everything. 

4. Check For Mold

After water damage has occurred, mold typically grows within 24-48 hours. If you see mold on the area, that means the area has been soaked in water for at least 48 hours, but if the mold is extensive, it could be a sign that there is no longer water damage.

Even if you don’t see mold growth, that doesn’t mean the damage is new. Certain environmental factors, such as temperature and moisture levels, may affect mold growth as well.

5. Seek Professional Help

There are times that you won’t be able to pinpoint whether water damage is old or new, and this is when you will need to seek professional help. Be sure to contact a contractor right away when you see signs of water damage (such as those in the previous points) in a specific area in your property, especially if you have no experience dealing with this. A professional’s perspective will help solve the issue immediately before it becomes a severe problem that requires extensive repairs.  


When you notice water damage in your property, it is vital that you take quick action. However, it can be challenging to catch them right away. By following the five practical tips above, it will help you determine whether the damage is new or old to help you figure out essential information and address the issue right away. Most importantly, be sure to hire a water damage restoration professional; they will immediately know what to do, while your findings will be valuable to get the work done quickly and more efficiently. 

If you require reliable water damage restoration services in Los Angeles, California, Restoration Masters is here to help. Our experts offer full-service restoration treatments 24/7 for residential and commercial properties. Contact us at 877-246-2951 today for help!

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