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Here’s How Long It Takes For Water To Damage Your Home Permanently

Permanent water damage

Have a leak or flood in your property? Time is of the essence if you want to avoid permanent water damage. If there’s a lot of water we need to start pumping it out with powerful equipment. And then thoroughly drying everything, and disinfecting it so it’s safe for you and your family. After that, we start restoring anything permanently damaged.

Water affects different materials in different ways. So here’s a breakdown of how long permanent water damage takes.

Permanent Water Damage to the Structure of Your Home

OK the worst case scenario for clean water damaging your home is one hour.

That’s why Save The Day Restoration offers a 24/7 emergency service for water damage restoration. The sooner we get going, the less damage there’s going to be to your home.


What type of walls are we talking about?

Drywall, well, likes to stay dry. Unfortunately, if you’ve had drywall immersed in water for over 48 hours, then it should be removed by a certified restoration company. That’s because it gets soft in water, which means weak. Our team can use special equipment to look inside your drywall and check for moisture. If we can get to it fast we have a chance of drying it out.

Stone walls fare better but it’s easy for water to get trapped in cracks and in cavities. So you may have more water than you realize to get rid of.


With a big leak, the weight of the water can cause your ceiling to collapse in a matter of minutes.

Slow moisture damage is more likely, which still causes severe structural damage.

If it’s safe to do so, feel whether the damp part of the ceiling is still hard. The softer the ceiling, the more it’s probably damaged over time. So if it’s still hard, now’s the time the pros have the best chance of saving your existing ceiling. If it’s soft, it’s dangerous and should be replaced.


What are your floors made of? Hardwood, or floating wood tile?

If so, get Save The Day Restoration to pump that water out immediately. The first 24 hours are crucial to avoid the wood swelling, warping, or splitting. Water damage restoration will be a much smaller job if we don’t have to restore the floor from scratch.

Metal Items

Are we talking electricals? They may have died totally, unless you can put them in uncooked rice sharp.

Otherwise, you typically have about 4 or 5 days before rust can set in for things like steel beams.

If you live near the ocean then you need to take extra care to avoid metal items rusting after a flood or water damage. This is because salt water corrodes about 5 times faster than fresh water.

Mold Damage

The annoying sidekick to water damage. Mold is not only ugly and smelly but a structural hazard and toxic to inhale.

Mold can take hold in 24-48 hours, especially if it’s hot weather. Or if the water came from something warm like a leak from a water heater.

When most people think of mold in the home, they think about ceilings and walls. But mold can be more pervasive than that too. Had you considered that mold can even get into your heating and A/C? Those undisturbed, moist hidey holes in HVAC equipment can be a breeding ground for mold if your home is damp.


Did your insulation get wet in a leak? Insulation in southern California is normally made of fiberglass which mold doesn’t like much. And that’s no mean feat, because mold eats almost anything.

However, you’re not out of the woods with wet insulation. You have to pay attention to what the insulation is up against because insulation retains moisture. If it’s touching wooden beams, mold can start to grow on them in a day. Left unchecked, this could eventually lead to the beams collapsing.

Permanent Water Damage to Furniture

Some furniture can be dried out safely as long as the water that hit it was clean, and it’s dried off inside and out right away.

Where did the water come from? Was it a flood? If there’s any chance the water’s contaminated with sewage, it’s time to air-kiss that couch goodbye, along with anything else you can’t clean thoroughly. Toxic water basically causes instant permanent damage to couches, mattresses and carpets.

Water Damage to HVAC Equipment

Outdoor air conditioning units are designed to withstand some moisture. But has your outdoor A/C unit been in standing water? If so, debris like grit or twigs may have floated inside where you really don’t want them.

Air conditioners can often cause their own leaks, usually if there’s an overflow in the drain pan. Or, if there’s a crack or hole somewhere. So they are more likely to be the cause of water damage to walls or floors. And if you get that seen to in a day or so it’s unlikely to be permanent damage.

Another Thing to Do Right Away

Home insurance. You’re more likely to get the payout you deserve for your lost items. And for the water damage restoration costs.

Be sure to take photos or videos of the damage so that you can document everything. Unless they’re dangerous or damaged by toxic water, you should keep damaged items until the insurance adjuster has inspected them.

Call Us For Water Damage Restoration in Los Angeles

Minimize the damage restoration work your property needs and call Save The Day Restoration today. We’re licensed, bonded and insured so you know your home’s in good hands.

Give our knowledgeable team a call at (562) 246-9908 or send us a message by email. Getting going on water damage swiftly is crucial, so take advantage of our 24/7 emergency services.

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