The best way to tell if water damage is new or old is to look at the area closely. If it is new, there will be visible signs of moisture on the wood, walls, and ceiling. If you find any of these signs, contact a restoration company right away as this could lead to mold growth and other health problems.

If you want to check for water damage yourself, here are some ways to do it:

  • Look for discoloration on the walls or ceiling
  • Check for moisture seeping through cracks in walls or ceilings
  • Check for stains on drywall or paint that have a yellowish hue

Detailed steps to examine water damage

Water damage can be a big problem for any homeowner. Especially if the water has been there long enough to cause mold or mildew. It can be difficult to tell if the damage is new or old. Here are some things to look for:


Look for discoloration on walls, floors, and ceilings. Water damage usually leaves behind a stain that looks like a brown or black spot-on drywall, which can be mistaken for a stain from paint or wallpaper. If you notice this type of discoloration on your walls, there may be more extensive water damage behind the drywall.

Mold and mildew

Check for mold and mildew in rooms with high humidity levels. Mold spores need high humidity to thrive, so they are more likely to grow in areas with lots of moisture. You can find out if your home has high humidity levels by checking the inside of your windows (where condensation builds up) and measuring the relative humidity in different rooms with a hygrometer (a device that measures moisture levels).

If you find mold or mildew in your home, it could be an indication of water damage caused by plumbing issues or leaks under sinks and toilets — especially if you have recently noticed other symptoms such as musty smells.


Check the roof. If there are any signs of leaks or loose shingles, this can be an indication that there has been some type of water damage. Check around areas where pipes may be located, such as in the attic or basement, as well as near appliances like dishwashers or washing machines.


Look for stains on the floor and walls. Check out places where water typically pools up such as showers, tubs, and sinks. Also, look for stains that are consistent with mold growth on drywall or wallpaper that might indicate previous leaks in those areas.

Electrical outlets

Check electrical outlets and switches for signs of corrosion from standing water and rusting screws holding them in place. Also, check for discoloration around switches where electrical contacts may have been exposed to moisture over time.

Wrapping up

When water damage has occurred in your home, it can be difficult to know when the damage occurred. This is because sometimes there are no telltale signs or symptoms that indicate recent water damage.

However, if you have any suspicions about possible water damage in your home, you should contact a restoration company as soon as possible. The sooner you act on these suspicions, the better off you will be in terms of preventing further damage and potential health risks.