Understanding the Damages Water Causes and When

How long does it take for water to cause damage? Minutes? Hours? Days?


Water contamination spreads to additional areas, rapidly increasing expenses.

Stains released from furniture (especially antique) stains carpet permanently.

Moisture-sensitive furniture finishes all turn white.

Paper goods are ruined due to moisture absorption with swelling and warping.

Latent animal urine odor becomes apparent.


Furniture in direct contact with water delaminates or swells, legs begin to split.

Swelling wood can cause finish to “check” (crack).

Sheetrock (drywall, gypsum board) swells.

Bacterial odor (sour) becomes apparent when microorganism spores germinate.

Dyes from non-colorfast fabrics start to migrate.

Metal surfaces start to tarnish.


Fungi appear (mycelium), along with their characteristic “musty” odor.

Severe warping of wood furnishings becomes apparent; adhesive release causes delamination.

Hygroscopic internal components in pianos and organs will swell from water saturated air.

Metal surfaces rust, pit and corrode causing permanent damage.

Paint blisters, plaster dissolves, and wall covering adhesives release.

Door and window casings swell and delaminate.

Wood structural members (decking, joist, studs) begin to swell warp and split.

Persons with asthma or the infirm elderly may develop hypersensitivity reactions.


 With prolonged dampness mold sinks roots into and destroys organic materials (jute backings, paper coverings on sheetrock, paneling, wood, contents).

Wood components warp and split, while chemicals within wood dissolve and discolor or destroy finishes.

Claim costs escalate dramatically as the requirement for gutting the structure and replacing components becomes necessary.

Occupants must be evaluated due to biological health hazards.

Children may become sensitized to allergens arising from uncontrolled microorganism growth.

As you can see, it’s never a good idea to take your time when it comes to water damage! Act quickly and call a professional to have it dried properly the first time!