The impact of water damage clean up can leave irreparable destruction of property and lead to costly fees. It also requires a quick solution to remedy the effects it has and prevent further damage from occurring.

In this blog, we explain exactly what water damage is before answering questions around how long it could take to show, how to identify new and old water damage, how long it could take to dry out and what you should do if you experience it yourself.

What is water damage?

Sometimes referred to as flood damage, water damage is the end result of water being inside your property and causing damage to its contents and infrastructure. Common causes include severe weather, poor infrastructure, inadequate plumbing and faulty appliances, or any other  situation that leaves your property with unwanted traces of water damaging contents and infrastructure

When water comes into contact with surfaces and items in your home or business, it can cause damage, and if it’s left untreated over long periods of time, the damage is likely to worsen and lead to further issues. If a washing machine malfunctions or a toilet clogs and begins to flood, for example, water damage can be visible, easy to identify and allows for a quick solution. However, if a problem with flooding occurs out of sight, unnoticed water damage can be far more devastating.

How to assess water damage
a flooded sitting room causing water damage to surfaces and valuables.

How long does it take for water damage to show?

As water can spread extremely quickly, the damage it causes can become visible instantly. Even in the early stages, water can cause severe damage, altering the condition of wood and fabric materials. Then, after 48 hours, mould may begin to grow and spread across wood and other materials, and metal items may start to rust. After a week, many of the affected surfaces and items may be beyond repair and the appearance of mould could become so bad that decontamination services may be needed.

How to tell if water damage is new or old

Water damage can be caused by broken or incorrectly fitted plumbing, faulty household appliances or damage to the property resulting in exposure to rain. These causes often mean that water damage is spotted instantly, but that’s not always the case. Water damage can go unnoticed, and without proper treatment, it can lead to further issues and potentially worsen over time.

Identifying whether water damage is new or old may help to gauge the severity of it and whether the suspected cause is correct. Although there are several tell-tale signs, an easy way to identify the length of time water has affected an area is whether or not rings are visible. If sections are darker and don’t have rings around them, it’s likely to be fresh. But if there are rings, it’s a sign that liquid has dried in the past. If this is the case, knowing that water damage is an ongoing problem will help to rule out any causes that only recently would have come into effect.

How long does it take to dry out water damage?

A number of factors can affect the amount of time it can take for water damage to completely dry out. It primarily depends on the extent of the damage. For instance, areas that aren’t entirely saturated could take as little as two days to dry, whereas sections that are drenched throughout could potentially take several weeks. Humidity is also likely to play a role, with higher levels of humidity likely to prolong the drying process.

What to do after water damage

If you’ve experienced flooding or have noticed signs of water damage in your home, it’s important to know the next steps you should take, especially if it could potentially reduce the severity of the damage to your property.

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As soon as you identify water damage, you should:

  • Turn off the power to prevent any chance of electrocution
  • Move valuables away from the affected areas where possible
  • Wear protective clothing to avoid contact with the liquid
  • If possible, use towels to stop the spread of water to other areas

Once you’ve done all you can to prevent further damage and protect nearby items, you should book an appointment with Ideal Response by calling 01622 926 505 or through the website.

If you have home insurance cover, you may even be able to make a claim on the damage caused. This will be detailed in your home insurance policy information, and when the water damage clean-up is complete, you can get in touch with your insurance provider to make a claim.

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