Signs of Hidden Water Damage


Sometimes water damage might not be as obvious as a major flood in your bathroom or a broken pipe spraying water several feet out. Sometimes water damage can be difficult to identify. Hidden water damage can be especially threatening to your Ohio property because of the time that it takes to be discovered. In that time, water can wreak havoc on your porous building materials, compromise the structural integrity of your Cleveland Ohio home and cause secondary problems like mold. 

Whether it is hidden water from a covered pipe leak, hidden water intrusion from roof damage or any number of hidden moisture problem beneath your building materials, you might not even see the problem until the water has penetrated through your porous building materials. Once water is loose, it can flow anywhere and cause all kinds of damage before you even know about the leak to begin with. It can be easy to miss a leak, especially since most plumbing is covered by building materials, and we don’t spend a lot of time in attics and basements where a lot of leaks can be visually apparent. Unfortunately, it usually takes Cleveland Ohio homeowners quite some time before they uncover a hidden leak. Usually, by the time a leak becomes visually apparent, the leak has already been leaking long enough to cause serious property damage and possible mold growth.

If you discover that a hidden leak has been unknowingly wreaking havoc on your Ohio home, call a water damage restoration company in Cleveland Oh to properly dry out your building materials and restore safe and livable conditions for you and your family.  


Hidden Water Damage In Ohio Properties– What To Look For

Unfortunately, not all leaks and water issues will occur in plain sight. The hidden leaks can be the most problematic of them all. It is important for Cleveland Ohio homeowners to know how to spot the signs of underlying moisture problems. While it may not be possible to find hidden leaks right as they happen, you can still find it in enough time to contain it, if you know what to look for.

  • Staining & Discoloration– Dark, unexplained staining or discoloration is often the most telling sign that there is an underlying water problem just beyond the surface. When water from a hidden leak seeps into wall voids or ceiling voids, it will often manifest as staining or blotching as the water begins to saturate the porous building materials nearby like your walls and ceiling.
  • Peeling Wall or Ceiling Finishes– When water from a hidden leak begins to saturate your building materials, it will begin to compromise the adhesive on any wall finishes or ceiling finishes. In areas of water saturation, you will begin to notice peeling finishes– like peeling, bubbling or rippling in your wallpaper.
  • Swelling– If your porous building materials come into constant contact with moisture, you might notice that your materials will start to swell. As water absorbs into wood, drywall, flooring, etc., the materials will begin to swell. The swelling will become visually apparent over time.
  • Swollen door casing or door alignment– As water absorbs into your door jamb, the jamb will swell and affect the alignment with your door. The swelling is often subtle and difficult to see, but you will feel it. The doors, of the affected jambs, will slowly become more and more difficult to open and close.
  • Baseboards/trim separating from the wall– As building materials swell up, materials that were once flush against each other will begin to expand, warp, bend and push against one another and force material separation.
  • Sagging walls and ceilings– Damp building materials can get pretty heavy. The more water that gets absorbed into your walls and ceilings, the heavier they get. With time, the excess weight will force your walls and ceilings to sag. Eventually, saturated drywall and ceiling materials will begin to deform, buckle and possibly collapse if not addressed in a timely manner.
  • Floor effects– Water naturally seeks out the lowest level of any structure and will seep under floor coverings (i.e.: carpet, tile, vinyl, etc.). Once the water permeates any floor coverings, it will soak into the sub-floor. If your flooring as been affected by hidden water damage, you will begin to notice floor effects like cupping, warping, rippling or other affects. If you have flooded floors, you might be in need of professional flooring dry-out services in Cleveland OH.
  • Signs of Mold– With an adequate water source, it only takes 24-48 hours for mold to begin to develop. If you are noticing signs of mold development in your Ohio home, you likely have an underlying water problem. Some of the key indicators of mold growth include visual signs and musty odors.

If you are noticing any of the above signs of hidden water damage in your Ohio home or business, you should consult a water damage restoration professional. A trained professional will have the necessary drying equipment and cleanup experience to properly recover from the leak and restore your property.


If a hidden leak or other hidden moisture source has left you with serious water damage, the specially trained water damage cleanup professionals a Water Extraction Team (WET) can help. Call 440-276-6382 today to learn more about our water damage restoration services in your Ohio area.