How to Tell If Water Damage is Permanent

How to Tell If Water Damage is Permanent

Water damage is a nightmare that you’ll want to take care of right away before it causes permanent damage. However, sometimes it can be hard to tell how bad water damage has gotten. 

Can you clean up the water damage without consequence, or do you need to replace what’s been damaged? Water damage gets worse with time, so the faster you find it and fix it, the better your chances of getting it completely restored.

Keep reading to learn more about water damage and how to tell if it’s permanent. 

What is water damage?

In its simplest definition, water damage is any water that gets into your home and causes damage. Water damage can result from a rainstorm, a burst pipe, or an overflowing toilet. 

Categories of water damage 

There are three categories of water damage, each type being worse than the last. If you have Category 1 or 2 water damage, it’s likely permanent damage. 

Category 1– water damage doesn’t have toxins or sewage in it. It’s clean water. It’s not a biohazard. It won’t make you or your pets sick. It most often comes from broken supply lines and pipes or overflowing sinks. Generally, you can dry out Category 1 water damage with minimal consequence. 

Category 2– water damage has toxins and sewage in it. It’s known as gray water because it’s dirty, containing sump pump backup water, toilet water, and washing machine water. Category 2 water damage usually involves chemicals, bacteria, or mold.

It’s a biohazard, so it’s essential to be careful. You’ll want to hire a water damage restoration specialist to come to your home and remediate the damage.

Category 3– water damage involves black water and is a serious biohazard containing toxins and organisms that carry disease. Water from a toilet bowl or backflow from a sewer can cause Category 3 water damage. Like with Category 2, you’ll want to hire a water damage specialist to remediate the damage. 

Can you tell if the water damage is new or old?

How long the water damage has been in your home can affect whether the damage is permanent. There are a few steps you can take to determine this:

  • The age of the house – It’s a good idea to become very familiar with your home’s interior and exterior, so you can locate hidden spots where water damage might be. Don’t assume the damage is permanent – a water damage restoration specialist can make that determination for you.
  • Examining the damaged spot – If the area is wet and there are dark spots, it’s newer damage that hasn’t had a chance to absorb into your home’s materials. If the site is mushy and squishy with rings around it, it’s older. If you spot different colored rings, the area has been soaked and dried multiple times.
  • Inspecting for mold – If you spot mold, it’s safe to assume the water damage has been there for two to three days. You’ll want to act immediately to remediate as much damage as possible.
  • Decay – Decay indicates exposure to standing water or flooding. This damage doesn’t happen overnight. An older house with decayed areas is likely to be permanently damaged. 

How long does it take for water to cause structural damage?

Structural damage can begin within 24 hours of a leak, making it critical to remediate it as soon as it starts. You can begin by dehumidifying the area, turning on fans, and air drying the area. Combining these methods can be highly effective. Once you have started drying out the area, it should completely dry within five days. 

The longer it takes to find the water damage, the harder it will be to remediate it, and the more likely it is that you have structural damage. Whether that damage is permanent depends on how bad the damage is. 

What happens if water damage goes untreated?

If you don’t spot water damage immediately, serious structural damage can compromise your home’s integrity. If you spot water damage, you should immediately call a water damage restoration company. They will come to your home, assess the damage, and recommend a treatment plan to restore your home. 

Even if the water damage went undetected for a while, don’t assume it’s beyond repair. Calling a restoration company is always your best bet. 

How do I know if my house is structurally sound?

There are a couple of ways to determine whether your home is structurally sound. One way is by opening up your walls and testing the structure of your home. However, this is invasive and not ideal in a lot of situations. 

The other solution is to inspect your home visually. If you can’t see any telltale signs of water damage, your home is likely structurally sound and hasn’t suffered permanent damage. However, if you suspect damage you can’t see, it’s a good idea to call a water damage restoration company. 

What is the biggest concern with water damage?

Water damage in and of itself is harmful to your home. The longer it goes undetected, the worse it becomes. The biggest concern with water damage is mold and mildew, which can start growing almost immediately. 

The concern surrounding mold and mildew isn’t just about the structural integrity of your home and the damage they can cause. Mold and mildew can also make you and your family sick. 

Breathing in mold can cause respiratory problems and other health issues that won’t go away until the mold does, making immediate treatment imperative to you and your family’s well-being. 

If you spot mold in your home, we recommend calling a restoration company specializing in water damage and mold removal. 

Black Diamond Restoration

Black Diamond Restoration is a restoration company based in Murray, Utah, that serves the surrounding areas. Our licensed, certified professionals will come to your home, remediate the damage, and restore your home. Whether your home needs repair or replaced parts, Black Diamond Restoration will take care of you.
Call 801.512.4194, or visit our website for more information.


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