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Water damage is a homeowner’s worst-case scenario, leaving you with a messy cleanup process called water damage restoration. It can mean replacing furniture and restoring or repairing your home.
Water damages furniture and homes like no other disaster, whether it’s a burst pipe, a leaky washing machine, or even a flood. It seeps into carpets, through ceilings, and into floorboards and joists. The damage it causes is untold. Water is one of the most destructive forces in your home, causing rot, mold, and staining, and you will have no option but to restore everything.
This easy-to-understand guide from the expert water damage restoration company, United Restoration, will walk you through understanding its definition, categories, cost, and more.
What is Water Damage Restoration?
Water damage has numerous causes, including burst pipes, broken roof tiles, faulty windows, leaking toilets, broken appliances, and natural disasters like flooding and the deadly hurricanes. Water damage restoration is the professional term for cleaning up the destruction caused — from drying items to repairing and restoring structural elements.
This process has five key elements:
- Remediation involves the initial water cleanup – removal, drying items and structures, and returning items to their original position.
- Removal can be as simple as vacuuming or mopping up a pool of standing water. In extreme cases, it may require specialized equipment to pump out large amounts of water or dehumidify a house.
- Extraction is a term used interchangeably with water removal. It’s also used as a term for water in an outside environment.
- Mitigation refers to the prevention or reversal of the damage caused. It could be fixing rotten floor joists, closing a hole in the roof, or taking action to prevent future leaks.
- Flood cleanup refers specifically to flooding. Flood water is almost always contaminated, requiring professionals’ help to remove, sanitize, and dry the affected area.
Categories of Water Damage
When assessing the scale of the damage, restoration of water damage experts define three categories in the IICRC S500:
Also called sanitary water damage involves clean water that “originates from a sanitary water source and does not pose a substantial risk from dermal, ingestion, or inhalation exposure.” Some common examples include water supply lines, rain water, toilet tanks, and melting ice or snow.
Or significantly contaminated water damage involves “gray water” that “contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans.” Examples include:
- Dishwasher or washing machine overflow.
- Broken aquariums.
- Punctured water beds.
- Toilet bowl overflows with urine.
Or grossly contaminated water damage is the most severe category and the one that needs the most water damage restorations. It involves “black water” that is “grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic, or other harmful agents and can cause significant adverse reactions to humans if contacted or consumed.”
Black water includes sewage, seawater, flood water from rivers or streams, backflow from the waste line, or rain from hurricanes or tropical storms.
Significantly, category 1 or 2 water can deteriorate if left unattended. Category 1 water, for example, will become contaminated if left for several days as mold and other microorganisms begin to reproduce. That’s why it’s critical to take urgent action.
How Long Does Restoration of Water Damage Take?
It depends on the extent of the damage. Minor category 1 water damage could require no repairs – simply allow the affected area to dry once the water is removed. As a rule, the more severe the category and the longer the water is present, the longer it will take to restore your home.
However, another key factor is the area affected by water damage. For example, if the only damaged area is a section of laminate flooring, it could be repaired in just a few hours, whereas if the water has seeped into and rotted a joist section, that could take a whole day or more to repair.
In most cases, when the water damage restoration service involves removing the affected section and replacing it with a new piece of ceiling, wall, or wood, repairs should not take longer than a few days — a week at most.
However, a major holdup is often the time required to dry the affected area. Where water damage is extensive, allowing a section of wall or flooring to dry could take several days, even weeks.
Mold remediation, however, is more serious. Due to mold’s hazardous and invasive nature, remediation can last up to two weeks. In the most extreme cases involving category 3 water damage —from a flood, for example — extensive repairs could last several months. You’ll need to check your insurance policy to ensure you’re covered for temporary accommodation during this time.
How Much Does It Cost to Restore Water Damage?
Water damage repairs can range from $100.00 (e.g., repairing laminate flooring) to over $50,000. Nationally, the average cost of water damage repair was $3,000 (ranging from $1,200 to $5,000). That reflects the category of water damage.
Let’s go through the different categories:
Category 1 “Clean Water”: Depending on the area affected, you can expect to pay around $3 to $4 per square foot. That cost will rise to $11 if an expensive carpet is affected.
Category 2 “Gray Water”: Costs are slightly higher at $4 to $7 per square foot. Replacing hardwood flooring is expensive – you’ll pay between $10 to $15 per square foot.
Category 3 “Black Water”: The average cost of water damage restoration for black water is between $7 to $7.50 per square foot. That can include drywall repair, flooring replacement, and new furniture and other belongings. It’s impossible to truly estimate the total.
Hire a Professional Water Damage Restoration Company
If you’ve suffered water damage in your home, don’t deal with it alone. We’re experienced in water damage restoration and capable of restoring and repairing your home. Contact us today for a quote.