How to Detect Water Damage Around Your Home

Posted on: Tuesday April 2, 2019 at 2:57 PM

Water damage can leave some serious consequences in your home and result in structural damages and an array of other issues. Therefore, it is very important to deal with it on time or as soon as you notice any sign of damage. However, water damage can be sneaky and quite hard to detect sometimes. There are even some signs that homeowners may not attribute to water damage and leaks. That is why we have put together this practical guide for homeowners, describing the most common places where water damage may appear as well as which forms it can take.

Where to Look

Water damage may appear in various places inside and outside your house, but there are certain areas where it appears more often than in others, i.e. areas that are at higher risk. If you suspect you may have water damage or if you are simply doing a routine inspection, follow our checklist and inspect the following areas that are the most prone to water damage:

Walls and Ceilings

One of the most obvious places and the clearest signs that you have water damage is water stains or darker spots on your walls and ceilings. Pay special attention to the window frames and doors as well and look for any unusual or darker spots and stains. They will usually be indicators of burst pipes or leaks in your pipes or the roof. When it comes to the ceilings, there are additional sources of leaks that can cause damage in these areas. If the room with the damaged ceiling is on the top story of your house, then the first thing that should cross your mind is a leaky roof. The water damage can come from rain or from the snow that is melting on your roof.  

Attic and Roof

Water damage very often starts in the attics and on the roofs. Therefore, make sure to check them every once in a while, or if you’ve noticed stains on your walls. Apart from the stains, other signs that you have a leak in the attic is mold and swollen insulation. When it comes to the roof, you will notice curled or cracked shingles, damaged flashing, and even missing shingles. All of this can easily lead to water damage and could be the sources of your stains and mold both in the attic and in the rest of your home.


Floors are also very prone to water damage, especially if there are some bad pipes going under them, or if there is a flooding accident, such as overflowing bathtubs and sinks or faulty appliances. The damage to the floors can be present in several different forms, which will be covered in the next section of the guide.


During your inspection, make sure you don’t forget to look behind all your appliances, especially the bigger ones, as these are also very common places where water damage can appear. The kitchen and the bathroom are the most vulnerable places, so look behind the washer and the dryer, the refrigerator, the hot water heater, sinks, toilets, and showers. In these cases, water damage is usually the result of a faulty connection or equipment part, loose connections or cracked hoses.

What to Look for

Water damage can appear in several different forms, shapes, even textures, colors, and odors. Sometimes, it is fairly obvious and easy to detect but other times, it can easily go unnoticed. For example, a water stain on the wall is easy to see and you can know right away that there is some water damage in your home. An odor coming from the basement, on the other hand, is not always associated with water damage. That is why we have prepared an overview of the most common types of water damage so that you know what to look out for in the future, as well as to try and prevent future damages. Here are some telltale signs of water damage:

Water Accumulation

Pooling or standing water in certain areas is the most obvious sign that there is water damage or that water damage will develop there. These areas of accumulated water can be found around faulty appliances, such as those described in the previous section – washers and dryers, toilets, sinks, water heaters, etc. If there is any malfunction with the appliances or bathroom components, if your pipes there burst or start to leak, you will most likely notice a puddle of water starting to form. Water can also start pooling from a leak in your roof, which will usually start in the attic, but can affect the rest of your home as well.


Wall and ceiling discoloration will most probably be a sign of water damage and a leak somewhere inside the walls or on the roof. These spots and stains on the walls and ceilings can be in different colors such as copper, brown, and yellow. Apart from the stains, the damage can also appear in the form of peeling, cracking or bubbling paint.

Changes in Texture

Changes in texture refer to the water damage that appears on the floors. This kind of damage is a result of water seeping under the floorboards and in between them. The most obvious and common changes in texture that you can notice include:

  • Expansion – this is the most common occurrence in wood and laminate floors. When they absorb too much water, they tend to swell and expand.
  • Soft spots – when the wood starts to rot, there will be some soft and spongy spots on the floors and floors of all materials can start to sag.
  • Warping – your floors can start to curl at the edges and gaps can start to appear between the floorboards. These occurrences are usually the result of big changes in temperatures and humidity levels.


If you feel a musty odor around your home or maybe coming from your basement, it could be the result of mold and mildew. Mold and mildew are very common signs of water damage and, apart from producing bad odor, they are also bad for the health of your household. They usually appear in damp places, where there is a lot of moisture or where water has been accumulating for a while. After a while, you will also be able to notice mold on your walls, as it usually forms in the form of black or green spots.  


Now that you have learned about all the common places where water damage can occur, as well as what forms it can take and what you should look out for, make sure to keep an eye on them. At first sign of water damage or even if you are not sure you have it, you should call your water damage restoration company that will conduct a thorough inspection and make sure to deal with all of it expertly and efficiently.