Understanding different categories of water damage for home restoration

Understanding different categories of water damage for home restoration

Winston Churchill once said, “We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.” This statement can be true as you don’t simply go online, browse through the first property search, and readily purchase the first available option. You take utmost care in selecting your home and taking care of it. But there are some things that are not under your control, which will threaten to compromise the foundation of your home.

A damage to your property is inevitable, and you must be ready to handle the situation and its challenges. Wind, hailstorms, torrential rains, and snowfall can result in the wear and tear of crucial components of your home. It is important that you know what should be done during such an emergency. One of the biggest threats can be the risk of water damage. From a simple faucet leak to excessive flooding due to rising water levels, severe water damage can compromise the structural integrity of your home and can even make it completely inhabitable.

So, in difficult times, you will take the necessary steps and do everything you can to protect your home. The question then arises as to how can you protect your home from water damage? The answer lies in being fully aware of the process of water damage restoration.

Understanding the process

Water damage largely affects your primary source of usable water. It is one of the reasons why a prompt and efficient emergency water cleanup service must be hired. The first inspection is a step that will provide you with an estimate of the work that will be done, and help source services that tackle such repairs on a regular basis. A first inspection determines the type of service required as every repair job is unique depending on the category of water damage. A professional water mitigation contractor will conduct the first inspection to assess the category of water damage, the level of water intrusion, and the services necessary for a proper restoration. The contractor will give a quote or an estimate of the damage done and the cost of restoration on the basis of a report. Note that there are three main categories of water damage to assess the scale of restoration.

Three primary categories of water damage

  • A Category 1 classification indicates sanitary water damage where the source of the water leak is not contaminated. These include water leaks from broken tanks, pipes, and sources of clean water supply.
  • A Category 2 leak is from toilet overflows or water containing detergents, and residue from your washing machine or dishwasher. The risk of contaminating the surrounding environment is fairly low in this case.
  • A Category 3 leak is a major problem as the surrounding environment is contaminated with an unsanitary source of water. Sources include water from a sewage leak or flood damage due to bad weather. Key materials that make up the structure in and around your home including drywall and insulation must be replaced to restore your home.

There are four common levels of water intrusion applicable to individual damage categories. The contractor must assess both the level of intrusion and the category of damage to provide an approximate time period for the restoration. For example, a simple leak or burst pipe is a class 1 intrusion and can be fixed in a matter of hours. Classes 2 and 3 vary in terms of damage depending on the source of the leak. A class 4 intrusion due to major flooding damage requires a complete overhaul.

Depending on the type of damage, both local and national water damage cleaning companies provide premium services. Here is a detailed overview for more clarity on each category of restoration.

Category 1 restoration

A Category 1 water damage is not so severe as a minimal amount of water leaks from a single point of entry. There is little mitigation necessary to inspect the damage and the containment area is relatively small. Common examples include a burst pipe, a burst hot water tank, or even toilet tank flooding. The loss originates from a sanitary source of water and does not pose any major health risks. However, a basic restoration is possible only after the source of the leak has been identified and plugged.

Water vacuum removal, air mover drying, and water containment are some of the ways that can help prevent the water from leaking among the basic services. The extent of additional repairs and home improvements necessary to restore your home will depend entirely on the severity of the leak. Ensure to keep in mind that local water damage cleanup services can tackle this type if only if it constitutes residential damage. The cost of restoration will vary among services depending on a number of factors. The website of National Disaster Recovery can help you narrow down the top contractors in your area.

Category 2 restoration

Water discharge from household appliances primarily results in Category 2 water damage. Alternatively referred to as “gray water,” flooding due to inefficient plumbing can cause severe water damage. Due to high porosity, the amount of water absorption is high. Note that gray water also poses a significant health risk due to inherent contamination via exposure to chemicals and compounds used for washing and rinsing purposes. Basic services and cleanup for this type of damage is similar to that of Category 1. However, the technicians have to exercise caution as the cleanup involves removal of both biological matter and detergents from various appliances.

Category 3 restoration

A Category 3 restoration is nothing short of a logistical nightmare. It originates from a contaminated water source. We are talking about complete overhaul wherein everything has to go! Only a premium service can tackle this magnitude of restoration. Everything from leaking faucets to irreversible sewage water damage must be tackled in a timely manner. Here is a detailed overview of the services under Category 3 restoration and what to expect from each one.

Content and document restoration

The first thing that comes to your mind is the collection of important documents, paperwork, and any physical contents kept in and around the household. Damage from a steady water leak can affect walls and insulation. Does this mean goodbye to old photographs and those priceless first editions? Not necessarily as residential document drying services can salvage most of what was damaged. A team of experts uses advanced tools and techniques to sort moist documents, remove moisture, and chemically treat stains.

Appliance leaks and repair

Household appliance leaks can gradually cause wear and tear. Water heaters, in particular, pose a serious risk of damage that can incur high costs. You must look out for signs of water damage due to the corrosion of internal components of the appliance. If the heater lets water accumulate at the bottom of the apparatus, it is a clear sign of a water leak. A whistling sound and shortage of hot water despite turning up the heat settings in the appliance also indicate damage due to corrosion and wear. Professional services not only help reverse the damages but also help prevent the possibility of appliance failure.

Regular inspection of the heating appliance, installation of a catch pan for efficient and safe disposal of wastewater, and automatic shut off valves collectively reduce the likelihood of appliance failure. Installing a premium quality insulation blanket around the water tank will keep the temperature in check and reduce the risk of damage due to extreme temperature changes. As a precaution, it is advisable to opt for energy-efficient tankless water heaters, eliminating the need for a storage tank. Professional water damage restoration services can help install these safety systems to further reduce the risk of a leak.

Sewage and wastewater

Inefficient plumbing can cause sewage and wastewater to leak into spaces in and around the household making it a very unsanitary place. The source of the leak can be an internal structural fault in the plumbing and sewage exit system. A simple block can cause contaminated water to back up the pipes and trigger unexpected flooding. In such a case, major sewer repair and flood damage control are required to clean up and restore spaces. A professional grade restoration will result in the removal of all contaminated water, furnishings, carpet, and even the flooring if necessary.

Furthermore, air movers decontaminate the atmosphere in the affected area to help dry the space until repairs can be carried out. Experts also clean and sanitize the complete room to prevent the spread of deadly viruses and illness-causing microbes. Note that the process for a Category 3 sewage leak is time-consuming and can be expensive. The contractor has to plan and map out the individual services in the aforementioned sequence to contain the leak.

Basement flooding

Basements are the first areas to flood, and chances are it is the last place you will look for the source of a leak. Also, heavy flooding or rain damage can completely destroy a basement due to poor space allocation and inadequate plumbing. Groundwater saturation due to heavy rains or unexpected flooding can force the water to seep into the basement through foundation leaks. The leak increases the hydrostatic pressure and can compromise the structural integrity of a home. Here, experts identify the leak and plug it. The pressure should be brought back to normal by using industrial grade equipment. Quick response is key to manage even the worst possible Category 3 leak.

Roof repairs and restoration

The roof is one of the most vulnerable structures prone to water damage. Heavy rain, shifting winds, and multiple inches of snowfall can lead to failure of roof structure. Aging roofs, saturated roofing materials, wind damage, and the buildup of ice dams will compromise the structure. The risk of water damage is high, as rapid melting and cooling of ice forces the water to accumulate in the exit pipes. You must call for a residential roof cleanup service to fix the external source of the leak.

Carpet and upholstery cleaning

Often, heavy flood damage renders the carpet worthless. Professional services provide carpet cleaning, drying, and floor restoration services. Multiple factors must be taken into account before the carpets can be cleaned. These include the age of the carpet or upholstery, the duration of water damage, and the type of water damage. For example, it is easy to manage water damage caused due to a flood from a clean water source. The water damage also does not pose any significant health threat to humans. However, gray water sources include discharge from washing machines and overflow from dishwashers. In such cases, the carpet or upholstery will need complete replacement. A prompt restoration will reduce the risk of health complications due to exposure to unsanitary sewage and drain water for Category 2 and 3 leaks.

Drying and dehumidification

The walls, insulation between walls, space under the flooring, HVAC systems, and vents are common areas prone to water damage. For this purpose, drying and dehumidification is done to ensure the structural integrity of the surrounding support columns and drywall. One should remember that water removal is not possible without plugging the leak first. After the process, air movers help evaporate the remaining water quickly and efficiently. Powerful dehumidifiers help extract the moisture from the air after drying.

The process is necessary for a Category 3 restoration owing to unsanitary water sources. Water vapors from the resulting spill pose a health risk to the people in the household. The technicians take periodic readings to ensure the moisture content in the air is minimum. Humidity also triggers the growth of mold within just a couple of days of water damage or a leak. Mold can grow out of control quickly and can cause structural damage if left unchecked.

Popular franchises for various categories of restoration

  • 911 Restoration
    The franchise caters to both residential and commercial customers providing a wide range of services that can tackle substantial Category 2 water damage.
  • 1-800 Water Damage
    The franchise offers timely response and quick grievance redressal right from the first inspection to the final handover after restoration. It focuses on maintaining key partnerships with insurance companies, property management companies, and water-related services to help streamline the process.
  • Servpro
    Servpro is one of the oldest and premier services providing a complete restoration for Category 3 damage. It is also one of the best disaster management response companies in over 647 locations across the country. The franchise is known for its award-winning quick response and great turnaround time for professional services in water damage restoration. It is important to note that the companies mentioned here provide services for all three categories of water damage.

Now that you know how the services work to help you rebuild your home, it is essential that you seek a quote first before starting any type of repairs. You must have an idea of how much the repairs and restoration will cost to make the necessary arrangements in advance. Owning your own home instills a sense of pride, and allows for personal freedom – keeping it in shipshape becomes your responsibility. So don’t hesitate to call an expert if you face water damage.