Water damage is complicated and cannot simply be painted over. It is important to identify the different ways that this damage can be visible in your paint.
Here are some of the signs of damage:
Discolored – This type of damage is the most easily recognizable. Water has discolored the paint and is soaked into the surface. The paint will be discolored in a ring around the affected area. Do not simply paint over this area as the painted area and the surface beneath still have water that will damage future paint.
Bubbled/Deformed – Unusual lumps in the paint may have held water or still hold it. The painted area will be soft to the touch and very easy to remove.
Peeling – Easily chipped or removed paint. More areas may be affected nearby, even if they haven’t begun to chip.
Buckling or ‘pushable areas’ – Though it may not be bubbled or deformed, paint can separate from the drywall. The paint has give when pressed, or, it feels like there is air between the paint and the wall.
Most signs of water damage are indicators of a much bigger problem. Water damage can have many causes such as a leaky roof or damaged plumbing. These problems require a lot of work to fix. Never try to simply cover up the damage without finding the cause, or you’ll find your discolored wall has grown more damaged over time and your new coat of paint is just as discolored as before.