Water Damage: What To Look For

You don't have to live on a flood plain to experience water damage. Know the most common locations of damage so you can catch it early, when the water damage is still easily repairable.


The bathroom is a water damage hotspot in many homes. Damage often begins around the toilet or under the sink, although it will sometimes occur in the wall behind the shower or tub taps. Toilet damage is typically ground-based, often from a crack in the tank or bowl or a failed floor seal. If left unaddressed, the floor can cave in. Sink damage is usually from pipe leaks that also affect the wall or cabinet under the sink. Shower leaks are similarly usually a result of leaking pipes, although there can also be leaks in the surround that cause floor damage.


Kitchen damage can be extensive, but it is usually restricted to the area directly around the sink and dishwasher. The cause is nearly always a leaking pipe, and it's often a slow leak that goes unnoticed for quite some time. You can minimize the chances of extensive damage by keeping the cabinet under your sink organized and partially empty so you can spot damp wood or wallboard quickly. Water damage can also sometimes occur behind the fridge, particularly if you have a water line running to it.

Utility Room

When water damage occurs in a utility room, it is often severe. This is because the damage is often the result of a hot water heater tank failure or an overflowing washing machine. In some homes, the main drain is in the utility room, as well, so sewer backups may also occur in the space. Having your water heater and other utility room appliances regularly serviced and inspected will prevent issues. If you notice dampness around an appliance or sewage odors from a floor drain, call in a repair tech before damage occurs.


In some homes, the basement is also home to the utilities, so some of the water damage risks are the same as the above. There is also the threat of overflowing main main sewer lines from basement floor lines, so regular line cleaning is a must. Another water damage concern is simple flooding. Floods can occur due to foundation leaks that need to be repaired, but they can also be a result of storms, plumbing leaks, or an increased local water table. Watch for musty odors, standing water, damp walls, or bubbling or crumbling wall boards in finished basements.


Attic leaks are almost always the result of a roof leak, although in some cases, leaks from rooftop HVAC systems are the cause. You can easily spot the signs -- mold and musty odors, wet insulation, and water stains on the ceiling. Once the roof or HVAC system is repaired, a water damage company can remedy the situation.

Contact a water damage restoration service in your area if you suspect water has infiltrated your home.