How Long Does Water Damage Take to Show and Ruin Your Beautiful Home?

Kenneth Wilson

Your beautiful, cozy home could become a disaster due to water damage. This can bend various areas of the house, destroy the walls and ceilings, and much more. But, the tricky thing here is that water damage can take some time to appear. As such, homeowners often ask a common question: How long does water damage take to show up?

The answer varies case-to-case basis, as water doesn't always cause harm immediately after a leak appears. Some warning indications of a significant water leak may not appear for three weeks. Symptoms could not appear for a minor water leak for about five weeks.

Finding common indications, such as a stained ceiling and mold development, will help you get professional assistance and fix the problem before it worsens. To avoid any issues, homeowners need to be alert to these water leaks as soon as possible. Let's examine the effects of water damage in greater detail and discover how long it may take for this damage to appear.

How Long Does it Take for Water Damage to Become Obvious?

Water may harm your home sweet home in several ways once it gets inside. For instance, it can destroy your expensive or unique furniture, cause mold to grow, or deform your walls. Sometimes the impacts of water damage are immediately noticeable– allowing you to act on the matter at once. But in some situations, water damage does not manifest for several days or weeks.

The amount of water present and the number of regions the water can reach will determine how long it takes for water damage to show. Fortunately, water damage will not cause significant problems if transported away from the house, and there are no cracks or other issues with the foundation or roofing. However, it may take a few weeks before you may see water damage when it does occur.

If enough water gets in, it can often take as little as three weeks before noticing any telling signs of water damage. Meanwhile, less water may take up to five weeks to cause some visible evidence to appear.

What Happens if there is Water in the Walls?

At this point, you might be curious about what happens if water is inside the walls… When there is too much moisture and water in the walls, it is more likely to absorb the nearby materials.

Note that this can apply to the insulation, drywall, wood, and wallpaper. Eventually, this will result in unsightly stains, bubbling, and warping. Mold can also grow and spread in the ideal conditions created by a concealed water leak in the walls. It will be more difficult to notice as this frequently occurs in the walls and ceilings.

Possible Mold Growth

Mold can grow in your home in 24 to 48 hours if there is enough moisture. Allergies are a short-term consequence of their negative health impacts. Mold will thrive in water and grow more quickly and easily if left unchecked.

Within several weeks or months, more severe health problems may become apparent. For instance, people might begin having respiratory issues like bronchitis or asthma– making it crucial to address the pressing water damage ASAP. Also, mold in your home can cause a considerable decline in air quality and a foul odor. Ideally, scrutinize your house and look for water damage as soon as possible. (Related: Black Mold: Everything You Need to Know When it Appears in Your Home)

Ruined Furniture and Appliances

One of the first things that water damage can destroy is your furniture at home. Water may quickly ruin your possessions, weakening the framework and necessitating either furniture replacement or repair.

Water damage may become apparent for electrical appliances and cause failure. The damage becomes considerably riskier if the gadget isn't waterproofed. Experts strongly discourage attempting to repair such items by yourself, given the risk of electrocution. It would be best to seek the assistance of a specialist.

Structural Damage

Your house could sustain structural damage within minutes of water damage as well. For instance, wooden floors tend to swell very quickly. With damaged floors, it may be challenging to move around the house and run into hazardous circumstances (such as slipping or related injuries).

How Can Water Damage be Inspected?

These are some of the most common signs of water damage when inspecting your property:

  • Dripping and bloated drywall
  • There is a strong, musty smell
  • Cracked and flaking paint
  • Clear mold growth
  • Your walls and ceiling have cracks
  • The caulk surrounding the pipes is loose
  • Roof soft patches and missing tiles
  • Your walls, ceilings, and flooring have visible water stains
  • Even if the plumbing is not in use, there is the sound of rushing water

All of these symptoms could point to excess moisture and elevated humidity levels in your home, which are frequently brought on by various plumbing issues. Since we've already established that water damage can frequently go undetected for a long time, you should consult a water damage restoration professional to evaluate your house ASAP. These pros use cutting-edge equipment rather than relying on the warning indications above. (Related: Mandatory Fixes After A Home Inspection)

Hiring a team of professionals can help you look for water damage signs and how to solve them, even when it's not immediately apparent. You'll save time, money, and the hassle of dealing with a mold-infested property if you identify the problem early on.

What Causes Water Damage to Walls?

There are several possible causes of water damage to the walls. Any water entering your home through the walls can cause severe damage. Whether it happens suddenly or over time, there are a whole lot of issues that may result from water damage:

  • Any flooding
  • Washing machines, air conditioners, and other malfunctioning or faulty appliances
  • The sewage system from your pipe is leaking out through the water fixtures
  • The drains get blocked by clogged gutters over time, resulting in water damage.
  • Unfavorable weather, if your roof has small cracks or strong winds blow out a window
  • Leaks of any kind. These are particularly dangerous because the leaks usually occur behind the walls and cause extensive damage before being discovered. Rusty and corroded pipes, excessive water pressure, extreme temperatures, broken water connectors, and more are common leak causes

Take note that any source of water can potentially cause damage to both external and internal areas of your home. Both big and small leaks will be enough to get the water into your ceiling and do some damage.

Awareness about what water can do to your home is essential in helping you prevent more significant problems.

What to Do When there is Water Damage

There are instant practical and safety considerations during a flood or major leak. Here are the initial steps to take.

  • Pets and children must be led outside the house, especially in severe cases.
  • If the breaker box is located in a dry area of the house, turn it off. To avoid electric shock, never access the breaker box if it is even remotely close to water damage. Call the utility company and ask them to turn it off from their end if it is wet or near to water. Ask them to send someone out if that isn't possible.
  • Get in touch with your insurance company and be upfront about the extent of the water damage and the cause.
  • Wait for professionals to arrive if the water damage resulted from a backed-up sewer or if the water is grey or black because doing so poses a significant biohazard risk.
  • Take any accessible valuables and try to suppress the leak by addressing the primary cause.

As a homeowner, it's crucial to be aware of some of the warning signs of water damage in your house to address them before further damage occurs!

Kenneth Wilson
August 24, 2022
Contractor Tips, Interior

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

Ask The Author Your Question In The Comments!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

More From This Author

9 of the Best Ring Security Cameras: Home Security 101
Where You Should Place Security Cameras Around Your Home: Best Locations
How Long Do SimpliSafe Camera Batteries Last?
SimpliSafe vs. Ring: Which Home Security System is Best Suited for Your Needs?
The Best Plug-in Outdoor Security Lights to Keep Your Home Safe
Everything You Need to Know About Residential Laser Grid Security Systems