A water stain is always a sure sign of water damage. We found this out the hard way, and have learned our lesson since then.
Three years ago, my family had the privilege of moving into a home that wasn’t ours without having to pay the rent. My dad got into a business partnership with an old buddy; Dad was the industrial partner, while his buddy the financial partner. They had found and rented a building with an office space in the ground floor and a house in the second floor. This allowed them to drastically trim down transportation costs, since “home” was just a few steps above their stores.
Anyway, when we moved in, we noticed the brownish stain on the ceiling in the office below. We knew that right above it was the bathroom attached to the master’s bedroom. We knew this, but we never gave it any special attention. This was probably because it appeared pretty harmless during the first few days since we moved in. We were able to use the bathroom for one full weekend without any alarming incident. The warning sign of water damage went unheeded.
Monday came, and the office below was in full operation. Representatives from various suppliers were doing their initial courtesy calls, potential customers were dropping by to check them out, and the office staff was going about their newly assigned tasks.
Then it happened. Of all times, it had to happen at around 10:30AM, at the peak of business activity. First it was one drop. Then two, then immediately, it was difficult to count the drops. They were dripping in rapid succession, that it wasn’t appropriate to call them simply drops anymore. Somebody from their office rushed up to inform me, and we hurried off to switch off the main line. It was also a good thing that the crawl space between the second floor and the ceiling of the first floor was spacious. The space was tall enough, that we didn’t even have to crawl through it… well, it’s also probably because we’re just a little over 5 ft-tall.
Luckily, we were able to locate the faulty pipe. It was already quite corroded. It was probably the reason why we didn’t notice any drop during the weekend. The leaky portion might have been initially plugged by the corroding material, but was eventually washed off as more water passed over it. Another reason might have been that the water might have taken time to seep through the ceiling below. By the time it did, a sizeable puddle might have already accumulated on top of it, pushing it faster downward.
This water damage disaster couldn’t have happened had we paid attention to those water stains. If we only investigated the probable source of the stains, we could have noticed water leaking through the pipe. This would have been easily done since the crawl space was quite accessible. So, whenever you see a water stain, you can almost be sure that water damage is not far behind.