This question is presented to us on a weekly basis from both residential and commercial customers all over the tri-state area. The short answer: not always! Water stains are ALWAYS an indicator of a moisture problem however, and if that moisture problem is not taken care of, mold growth is probable.
Most people look at a water stain as a bad thing, however in our experience, not all water damage is visible, so when you are able to see where the problem areas are, you can take action to fix the issue before you have a larger problem hiding behind your walls or beneath your floors. Remember, water takes the path of least resistance and can find its way into cracks and crevices very easily.
Signs of water damage include: yellow, brown or copper colored stains, drywall tape rippling, peeling or bubbling wallpaper/paint, bubbling or warped flooring.
What to do if I find a water stain?
#1 – Don’t freak out, but don’t ignore it. It’s important to do some investigation to see where this water/moisture is coming from. A stain on the ceiling is commonly caused by a roof/skylight leak, or an appliance/plumbing on the floor above. Water soaks into the ceiling, saturates the drywall and after it evaporates leaves a discolored stain. In most cases, that discoloration is simply mineral deposits from the water and not mold, which is a common misconception. However, should that ceiling stay moist and not totally dry out, mold growth can begin to show within days if the conditions are right.
#2 – Consider whether you have found an Isolated incident or continual water damaging issue. The easiest way to determine this is by identifying a single stain, or a water stain that visually shows multiple occurrences in the form of water stain rings. If your see rings, you know you have an issue that will continue to leak and continue to promote an environment ideal for mold growth.
#3 Can you fix the moisture problem yourself or do you need to bring in a professional? If you have a pipe leak in your wall it might be time to call a general contractor or a plumber to help you with that issue. If the roof is leaking, it’s probably time to call a roofing contractor to help you patch/waterproof that area of your home.
Water stains and Mold Growth
If a water leak is not spotted right away, the likelihood of mold growth is much higher as mold needs two main things to thrive: moisture and food. If the leak is continual, even the smallest of leaks can introduce enough moisture to encourage mold growth. Wet wood and drywall can also begin to break down if the issue is not fixed and those materials are not dried out.
Should you find mold growth, call the professionals at INX and we will swing by your property to see what you are seeing and provide you with a free estimate to remove the mold. Should a mold inspection and testing be necessary, we will furnish you with a quote for those services as well. Mold needs to be properly remediated or you can potentially turn a small problem into a bigger problem by spreading that mold spore throughout your entire house. We have been servicing Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware since 1999 and have successfully remediated over 8,000 buildings.