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Determining age of water damage

aimless's picture

We removed a builtin from our basement yesterday and discovered evidence of water near the floor - drywall and wood are both damaged, and there is some mold, but no smell. There is little staining on the floor itself, so I'm wondering if this came down the wall from above. It's under the fireplace/chimney and I'm picturing water running down between the chimney and the house. If that's the case, is it possible that we already fixed the problem when we reroofed? The debris felt dry to the touch and it is raining today with no new evidence of water. The area is sheltered from weather, and there is positive drainage away from the house. How do you tell how old the water damage is? This is a finished basement, so I don't want to wait a year and keep an eye on it before fixing the damage. And if it's still happening, I want to address it. So how do I determine if more water is infiltrating beyond just touching it with my hand?



(post #60261, reply #1 of 2)

Pretty hard to judge. Usually you can tell if it's occasional vs frequent water, and obviously if it's wet then it's recent. If there was enough water for it to run on the floor or some such then the buildup of dust after the last run will tell you something. And you might get a few clues from whether mold appears fresh. But otherwise damage can sit there for eons and look like it occurred last week.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #60261, reply #2 of 2)

There was definitely water sitting a long time there, the wood and drywall are rotted. The carpet 2 feet away is undamaged, so it seems confined to the area close to the wall.

How does mold appear when it is fresh vs when it is old?