What Happens if Water Damage is Left Untreated

There’s a few possible scenarios you may be going through if you’re asking this question right now. You may have experienced water damage and your budget is tight, leading you to wonder if you could possibly delay the repairs for a while without any additional consequences. 

Or, you ought to not be physically present at your property for days, weeks, or even longer after the incident, and you can’t possibly delay that travel to repair water damage and there’s nobody to be at your house while you’re away. 

Regardless of whether you belong to the first or second group, or you’re simply just lazy, this post will help you understand exactly what happens after water damage and how bad it can really get. Without any further ado, let’s jump right in.

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How long does it take for water to cause damage?

It takes anywhere from an hour to a full day before water damages your home’s infrastructure. Affected furniture or drywall will show bulging, cracking, and swelling. Your paint will begin peeling off or bubbling, and mold will start developing around the damaged surface. These are just some signs of water damage you might notice. 

In case water damage has JUST happened to you, make sure to waste no time. Try stopping more water from entering the property on your own. If you can’t do that – perhaps there is a sewage backup or a leak you can’t DIY fix – call in a professional.

Does water damage get worse over time?

The simple answer is YES – water damage does get worse over time. The answer to the followup question – how worse will water damage actually get – depends on many factors, including the extent and severity of the damage, types of materials affected, and where the damage happened, just to name a few. 

To give you an example, basement water damage can obviously cause much bigger problems than kitchen water damage, given the location of the problem in your home. Flooded basement can cause cracks in your foundation and wooden beams rotting, among other things like mold which will eat up much of your organic materials in the basement. 

This can lead to altering of your entire home’s structure, which is something that can be irreparable in many cases. 

Of course, kitchen water damage shouldn’t be overlooked, but given the circumstances, you should have a much higher sense of urgency in the first scenario. But, for the sake of it, let’s also explain what could happen in your kitchen. 

Your wooden materials – which is probably most of your kitchen – would get soaked up, along with your drywall (which has to be replaced if it’s only more than 1% wet), and the mold would likely start growing quickly, given the humid conditions and also presence of many organic materials, one of which is food.

Will water damage go away by itself?

Another straight answer – NO. While the water itself may dry out on its own if the conditions allow it, the damage it caused won’t fix itself. Your peeling paint won’t just repair itself. Your water-damaged drywall won’t replace itself. And mold won’t stop growing on its own either. Also, since nothing was done, the water might return at some point because the moisture source was not fixed. You need to take action.

It’s easier said than done, we understand. You might not know where to start, so here’s a few helpful tips on what to do immediately after water damage.

What to do immediately after water damage?

  1. Evacuate your family and your pets out of the flooded room(s).
  2. Pick up the items you can’t afford to lose. However, only do this if you can physically carry them and make it out on time without risking your health.
  3. If you have to leave the house, call a neighbor or a friend to help you.
  4. Reach out to your insurance company and try to get coverage
  5. Contact a water damage restoration company to start the cleanup. In an ideal case, they should also deal with insurance on your behalf. 
  6. If you’re DIY-ing, make sure the home is thoroughly dry and inspect for mold. If you’re working with a professional, they’ll take care of this.
  7. After the damage is fully restored, which usually takes 1-2 weeks in most cases, you can move back in. You may be able to move back in while the restoration process is being carried out too, it just depends on whether the conditions will allow it.


Water damage is no joke. You can get seriously sick if exposed to a lot of contaminated water. We definitely do not recommend any delaying of water damage restoration. 

Instead, we suggest – and almost demand – that you take the right steps and start dealing with the damage right away. It will only cause more problems down the line if you don’t. 

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