If you are interested in buying an old house, you may worry that the home may have issues that could have caused water damage inside the structure. If so, look for the following subtle signs of water damage while you are viewing the home with your real estate agent.
Musty Odor Throughout the House
As you walk through the house, take a few deep breaths as you walk through every room, including the hallway. A musty odor is often a sign of either mold or mildew, both of which thrive in dark, damp areas.
If the roof, basement, or the walls have a leak, the moisture can become trapped inside these spaces. This environment then gives mold and mildew the ideal environment. And, because they give off a stale, musty odor, you should be able to detect their presence, even if the smell is faint.
Water Spots on Ceilings and Upper Walls
Even if you do not detect a musty odor, you should look around each room, especially up towards the ceiling. If the house currently has or has had a leaking roof in the past, the paint or wallpaper may still have water spots that have stained the upper walls or ceilings.
If you notice that the room has been painted recently, look closer at these areas. Although a fresh coat of paint can cover the water spots temporarily, the excess moisture may still bleed through, causing spots in the new paint. If needed, use a flashlight to illuminate the areas to get a better look.
Skirting Boards Have Gaps
A sign that water has damaged the interior walls is the presence of gaps in the skirting boards. If water has run down the inside of the walls, the moisture may have warped or rotted the studs or boards in the walls.
When this happens, the boards then pull away from the skirting boards that serve as the lower trim. You may see either space between the trim and walls, or you may find that the nails have either pushed out from the trim or are buried deep within it.
If you notice any of the above signs, the house you are viewing may have some water damage issues. Speak with your real estate agent to find out more about the house or have them recommend other homes for you to view that do not have a high risk of water damage.