Home » Blog » Is Your Water Damage New or Old?

Is Your Water Damage New or Old?


    Water damage is the most frequent form of property damage due to the many ways it can occur. Nature may be the culprit as rainstorms and flooding can lead to water damage, but it can also happen when pipes burst or when sewage backups let water flow into your Chicagoland residential or commercial property, damaging it in the process.

    But sometimes the damage may be hidden, so you might not spot it right away. Once you do, you may wonder about just how long ago the damage occurred. As time goes by, water damage that hasn’t been remediated will start deteriorating its surroundings and cause more harm. So knowing when a particular area has experienced water damage can help to give you an idea as to the degree of damage as well as the importance of having the damage restored.

    If you notice that water damage has occurred but aren’t sure when it happened, use the following tips to determine whether it’s new or old.

    Touch the Affected Area

    Fresh water damage will of course still be moist, but the impacted material will still be firm, not soft. Older water damage will create soft, mushy spots because of the longer amount of time the material has been affected by moisture.

    For example, drywall that’s experienced a new water damage will be damp but still stable. It will still have its structural integrity because the water hasn’t had time to do much harm. Drywall with older water damage, however, will have a softer consistency since more time has gone by, allowing water to absorb into and damage the drywall. To help you work out how long drywall has been wet, here’s an important fact: standing water can wick up drywall at a rate of one inch per hour for the first 24 hours.

    Look for Rings

    Staining is one of the common signs of water damage. More precisely, rings may develop on softer materials, such as drywall, when they’ve been damaged by water.

    If you notice a dark spot without any rings around it, this indicates that the water damage is new. Older, periodic water damage (for example, a slow leak) will have rings around it, and much like a tree, the more rings, the older the damage. Different shades of rings show that the area has been soaked, dried, soaked, dried, etc.

    Search for Mold Growth

    Water damage and mold growth go together like bacon and eggs because water damage produces the perfect conditions for mold spores to grow and form colonies.

    Mold needs both moisture and a food source (cellulose-based materials such as wood, cardboard, paper, drywall, etc.) to grow. When mold spores encounter both, this activates mold growth. Mold damages materials it grows on. In fact, mold damage can get so bad that it adversely affects a building’s structural integrity.

    So, if you come across mold growing in your Chicagoland home or business, there’s a good chance that water damage has happened somewhere in the structure. Mold develops within 24-48 hours of water exposure and will continue growing until the source of moisture is removed.

    Get the Help You Need

    If you discover your property has suffered water damage — either old or new, large or small — deal with the situation as soon as possible! Water damage only gets worse with time, and mold growth along with structural damage could soon follow.

    So contact ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons immediately. Once we’ve removed all excess water and moisture from your Chicago area property, we’ll thoroughly dry out the affected areas and materials. From there, we’ll do a thorough restoration and cleaning. If mold has grown as a result, we can provide mold remediation services as well. With professional help, your property will be safe, clean, and restored to its former condition.

    The sooner you get help, the less damage there will be to deal with – along with less cost.


    About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a 2020 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-376-1110 or visit or




    • Nasutsa Mabwa

      Nasutsa Mabwa is President of ServiceMaster by Simons, a MBE/WBE City of Chicago and State of Illinois certified firm. She is a 2020 Daily Herald Business Ledger C-Suite awardee, a member of Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 and a 2018 ServiceMaster(c) Achiever Award recipient. She is a Civic Federation Board Member, an Advisory Board Member for as President Elect on the Executive Committee for the Evanston Chamber of Commerce. She is IICRC certified for WRT & FSRT.

      About ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons
      Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving both Cook and Lake County, Illinois. Recently, the company was awarded a variety of honors, including the SB100 Best of Small Business Award Winner 2021, Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau's Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and the recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. Restoration By Simons provides disaster restoration services including water and flood damage restoration, fire and smoke damage restoration, mold remediation, to residential and commercial customers in both Cook and Lake County IL.

      LinkedIn Profile
      Forbes Profile

      View all posts