Water Damage Restoration Process From A to Z

Let’s face it – the water damage restoration process is a nightmare. No one wants to have to face it, but it does happen. It’s good to know what the water restoration process is and how to restore water damage when it does happen.

Not only is it strenuous work but also very complicated and potentially hazardous and that’s precisely why water damage restoration is better left to professionals. But if you have no other option than to tackle it yourself, we’re here to the rescue with useful information and tips.

A lot of people have been asking us various questions about the process itself, potential risks, and how to carry it. That’s why we decided to make this manual for all of you out there going through this dreadful situation. We’ll try to answer most of the questions people have and give you an insight into how the pros do it. So, let’s go!

How Do You Deal With Water Damage?

The first thing you should do is contact a water damage restoration company and document the flood damage for your insurance company, so you can file an insurance claim. If you decide against hiring a restoration company and want to tackle the issue yourself, still document the flood damage first.

Then you need to establish the category and classification of your water damage so you know what steps you need to take. Flood water is a health hazard so you should also know how to protect yourself from potentially toxic chemicals and bacteria before you start with the water damage restoration process.

What Should I Do Immediately After Water Damage?

There are some very important steps to take after water damage to your house. Before you start with anything, you should make sure it’s safe for you to go down your basement or enter the flooded room. Check if there’s any structural damage to your property that would pose a threat to you. Then shut off the power supply and be careful with any pipes under the water. If the flood happened because of a broken water supply pipe, you will also need to shut off the water.

If you’re doing the water damage restoration by yourself, you should wear protective clothing like rubber boots, rubber gloves, and an appropriate mask. Depending on the category of your water damage, there could be toxins and/mold spores that are harmful to people to breathe in or even touch, so protect yourself.

What Are the Steps to Water Restoration?

Once you’ve done with the overview of the general situation, taken precautionary measures, and documented the damages for your insurance company, a big decision is in front of you. You need to decide whether or not to contact a water damage restoration company. And you will have to decide fast because water damage needs urgent action.

If things like furniture stay underwater for longer than 24 hours, they won’t be salvageable anymore. Your next course of action will depend on what kind of decision you make. But, let’s say you decided to take care of everything yourself. Here are the immediate steps to take to handle a water damage emergency.

Step #1 Pump Out the Water From the Affected Area

In order to sanitate the damage, you’ll need to get rid of the water first. Use a sump pump to remove the water from the basement or any other affected area. If your sump pump failed, you can use a mop or a wet/dry vacuum to remove the water if there’s not a lot of it. If there’s more water and your pump is not working, you can either get a bucket or try to fix the pump.

Step #2 Get Your Things Out of the Flooded Area

After you’ve completely removed the water, you should inspect the things damaged by it. Anything that’s been left in water under 24 hours can be saved, including furniture. So, if you’ve acted fast, you can get your things out to clean them and let them dry and they will be OK. But, if they’ve been in the water for longer than that, they should go to the dumpster.

Step #3 Ventilation, Drying, and Dehumidification

After that’s all done, it’s time to bring in the air movers or air scrubbers and ventilate the place. Just because you can’t see the water, it doesn’t mean there isn’t any absorbed under the surfaces of floors or walls. Leave air scrubbers or air movers on for prolonged periods of time and open all doors and windows, unless it’s humid outside.

Depending on the scale of damage, you may need to use antibacterial or antifungal agents or maybe even deodorizers. If you do have that big of damage, it’s advisable to contact the experts to handle it professionally to make sure it’s done right. Moisture is no joke and fungus, bacteria, or mold pose a serious threat to human health.

Step #4 Finish With Cleaning and Sanitizing

The last piece of the puzzle and the last step of this daunting process is the cleaning and sanitizing of the place after you’ve removed the water and aired it. If you haven’t used the services of a water mitigation expert until now, maybe you can call a cleaning expert now to make sure everything is properly cleaned. If you are doing this part on your own, too – don’t take off your protective gear just yet. Keep it on until you’re done with the cleaning. Spray cleaning, dry, cleaning, and wet cleaning will be necessary.

What Is the Difference Between Water Mitigation and Restoration?

Many people have asked us this question. If you are new to this whole water damage thing or it’s your first time experiencing water damage, you may be confused about whether to call a water mitigation company or a water damage restoration company. So, what’s the difference?

Water restoration services focus on water extraction and water cleanup. A professional restoration company will:

  • get rid of the remaining water, and bacterial growth,
  • handle existing mold removal and mold spores to eliminate mold growth,
  • get rid of excess moisture,
  • handle the drying process,
  • repair damaged materials and replace materials,
  • and get everything back to its pre-damaged condition.

A water mitigation company will work to prevent further damage from happening or happening again. That means that the water mitigation process will involve some changes to your property, building materials, and maybe even a complete reconstruction.

What Do Water Restoration Companies Do?

Water damage restoration companies are the first responders when the water comes flooding. Restoration companies work to get the water out of the premises and sanitate the damages done by it. They will first check to find the source of the flood, take care of it, and then clean up the mess left behind it. They will also make sure to leave the place to ventilate to prevent mold growth and bacteria development.

If you’ve got yourself a case of serious flooding of the latter categories and classification, you should definitely give them a call when you discover the unpleasant sight. Depending on the water restoration company, they might also offer water restoration services.

What Should You Not Do After Water Damage?

Since we’ve covered all of the things you should do to handle a water damage emergency, we will also include the things you absolutely shouldn’t do. As we said, you can get yourself into a dangerous situation, even death if you don’t approach this professionally and carefully. Electricity and water are not a good mix and toxic materials, fungus, mold, and bacteria are not good period. So, here are the don’ts of water damage:

  • Don’t stay in the flooded area if you have asthma, allergies, or a weak immune system. – The health dangers of water damage are real and, depending on the situation, can leave lasting damage to your health or even worse.
  • Don’t consume food or use personal hygiene products left in the contaminated area. – This especially goes for food as these contaminants can spread through the air and they’re most dangerous when ingested into our organism.
  • Don’t activate the HVAC system if it’s been in contact with water. – You know what happens when you mix water and electricity, so avoid it.
  • Don’t walk on wet floors longer than necessary. – Avoid walking on wet surfaces for longer than you need and limit overall exposure to the environment before it’s been restored.
  • Don’t place newspaper on water surfaces. – Ink from some newspapers can easily transfer onto a surface and then you’ve got yourself another problem.

How Long Does It Take to Dry Out Water Damage?

This part also depends on the scale and gravity of the damage itself and the scale of the area affected. The weather is also a big doctor here since, as you can imagine, it’s a lot easier to dry something out in summer. For less serious to medium-leveled water damages, most experts recommend drying out for 3-4 days to be sure all the moisture is out and mold, bacteria, and fungus have nowhere to develop. If more severe cases, it could last for 2 whole weeks. That’s why it’s always good to consult the experts and make sure you do that last step right.

How Much Does It Cost to Restore Water Damage?

This is another frequent question we’re asked. And we get why. The answer to this question isn’t simple as you can imagine as a lot depends on the kind of damage you’ve suffered and the scale of it. There’s something about the water damage restoration company you hire and the kind of flood insurance plan you have.

The statistics go as follows – the average cost of a water damage restoration is estimated at around $5,000. Let’s break that down and simplify it by providing examples. If you have sustained damage from clean or ‘fresh’ water and the only service you need is drying up, you could face a $2,500 charge. On the other hand, black water damage and water flooding caused by natural disasters usually cost around $7,500 on average.

How Much Do Insurance Companies Pay Out for Water Damage?

Insurance companies will cover for water damage in most cases, especially if wasn’t foreseeable and things were out of control. They may put their foot down if the accident happened due to a lack of precautions or maintenance on your side. There has been a surge in water damage reports, but the average water damage claim still stands at about $10,000 if you do everything right. So, once again, make sure you document everything and call your company asap!

Can You Fix Water Damage by Yourself?

We’ve told you all about the process in this lengthy article, so you tell us – do you think you can do it by yourself? Because, if you can’t and don’t have experience with this kind of work, it’s better to call the water restoration specialist right away. Your insurance is likely to cover the cost (or at least most of it) anyway. Contamination and electrical shock are serious threats to the inexperienced.

On the other hand, if your insurance bails on you and you’ve had experience with this kind of work before and you think you can handle it – go for it. Hopefully, this article provided you with enough information to tackle the issue successfully, but don’t disregard the importance of proper ventilation and cleaning. Do your due research on that topic as well to make sure you handle it right. And if you have any more questions, ask us in the comments section and we might do another article!

What Are 3 Categories of Water Damage?

If you decide to skip using water damage restoration services and handle the entire process on your own, you should know how to determine the category of water damage. There are three main categories of water damage and four classes.

Category 1 Water Damage – “Fresh” Water

This is the least dangerous one, at least for human health. In this case, the water intrusion comes from a sanitary source like a leaking pipe, broken pipe or burst pipe, sprinkles, overflowing containers, washing machine, or something of the kind that’s fit for human consumption.

Category 2 Water Damage – Gray Water

This category of water damage poses threat to humans as we can get sick if we consume it or get in touch with it. In this case, water comes from porous materials that contain diluted urine or water from hydrostatic pressure.

Category 3 Water Damage – Black Water

By far the most dangerous one (even deadly) because it’s grossly contaminated and toxic. This is sewage backup that comes from raw sewage, brackish water from streams, rivers, and seawater, storm damage, or natural disasters. Contacting a professional mitigation and restoration company is advisable at this stage.

It’s also important to note that even the ‘safer’ category can turn into a toxic one if not handled in due time.

What Are Four Classes of Water Damage?

Besides these three main categories, water intrusion can further be categorized into four classes. The classes aren’t mainly separated by the source of intrusion like the categories but also by the amount of standing water in the flooded basement.

Class 1 Water Damage

A small amount of standing water that isn’t toxic is easy to handle and doesn’t leave excess mold when you finish the water removal process. You can handle this kind of damage on your own and there’s no need to call water restoration services after you’re done.

Class 2 Water Damage

This is when there’s a good amount of water and of bad enough porosity. There’s more water to be removed and the drying process is longer. This kind of water damage can be caused by a broken water pipe inside a board wall or wood flooring.

Class 3 Water Damage

This class represents a large amount of water present, no matter the category. The problem here is that the water is absorbed by the walls and other materials. This kind of damage can happen due to broken water mains or a natural disaster like a storm filling up a room.

Class 4 Water Damage

This is the worst kind. It happens when water intrudes an area, stays trapped inside and affects wooden, plaster, or concrete structures. and affects wooden, plaster, or concrete structures. Affected areas are highly contaminated. Structural integrity might be compromised as well and at this point, water damage restoration companies should be involved as soon as possible.

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