Determining whether or not the stained or discolored walls in your home are due to water damage can be a confusing task. But, since water damage left without maintenance or repair probably has more issues than meets the eye, it’s worth a second look. Stained or discolored walls could mean structural damage, mold, or other problems unknown, but how do you know for sure? Let’s find out.
Don’t Overlook Possible Water Damage
We tend to downplay or underestimate the power of water damage, but stained or discolored walls can mean a number of things, which is why it’s best to determine the source immediately. Depending on the history of the house, these stains could be oil, paint, ink, or another substance that could be washed out. However, one of the most common causes for discoloration of walls in a home is water damage.
What Does Water Damage Look Like?
Unlike damage from other substances such as oil or paint, water damage leaves residue like a fine powder. Efflorescence residue is most descriptive of stains or discoloration due to water damage, as it’s simply the left over minerals from water that has evaporated. During this process the plaster will change color, with brown, yellow, orange, and green being the most typical colors on a wall that has come into contact with water.
What Causes Water Damage?
Water damage can be caused from a little as a leaky faucet to as disastrous as a major flood. Regardless of the cause, it’s important to survey the damage and work on fixing your home immediately to prevent even larger restoration costs in the future. High-risk areas in your home for water damage include the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, and basement. Water damage can even occur from everyday use of these rooms, such as unsealed shower curtains or people dripping water on the floor after washing their hands. You should also check your appliances for signs of dripping; if you find any discoloration, you may need to replace the appliance or the piping for it.
In addition to interior sources, stains around windows or at the bottom of exterior doors may indicate that water is penetrating your home from an outside source. Look around window frames and doors where the ceiling meets outdoor walls for discoloration. Be sure to check your walls for not only discoloration, but for dampness or softness as well. Also, check the basement and attic for discoloration, as these may be indicators that water is seeping in from outside. If the problems are in your basement, it could mean that your foundation is leaking, in which case you should get a professional opinion immediately.
Remember, even a small amount of discoloration could mean a huge amount of damage within the walls. When you see stains or discoloration on the walls of your home, you should contact a local professional specializing in water damage restoration as soon as possible, since waiting to see if the damage persists can lead to bigger problems and larger restoration costs.