What Exactly is Water Damage Restoration?

What Exactly is Water Damage Restoration?
Flooding season is drawing nearer and based on the long winter, massive amounts of snow, and rising temperatures, many municipalities are warning residents to get prepared for flooding. As stated in an earlier article, Flooding Possible as Snow Melt Finally Starts:
To minimize flood damage, you need to be pro-active and begin preparing. If you have had seepage issues in the past, then it is important to ensure that excess snow around your foundation is removed and all downspouts point away from the home.
If your home or business is flooded, then the key to minimize mold damage is to take immediate action and begin the drying process; 24 to 48 hours is all it takes for mold to begin growing and you need to avoid this.
Water Damage Restoration is the key and the whole purpose of restoration contractors that perform this service is to restore the property back to pre-loss condition after sustaining any level of water damage.
Got Mold?, like other professionals, follow the training and guidelines taught and developed by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification). In a flooding situation it is important to contact IICRC firms because they have taken specific training to ensure that water damage is dealt with properly. In short, before hiring a contractor be sure to ask lots of questions and compare apples to apples, particularly when you are comparing price quotes.
There are two key questions your water damage restoration contractor must answer. First, what is the category or water? Second, how much damage or destruction has the water caused? Answers to these questions enable the water damage restoration contractor to create a professional scope of work and action plan.
According the IICRC, there are several different levels and classes involved in liquid destruction. From the IICRC’s S-500 standards, there are three categories describing the type of liquid involved:
Category 1 Water (Clean Water)
Water that originated directly from a sanitary source and when exposed to it, either through the skin, inhaled or ingested, does not cause a great deal of harm to humans. Examples of Category 1 Water: broken water supply lines, melting ice or snow, falling rain water, and tub or sink overflows (no contaminates).
Category 2 Water (Gray Water)
Defined as water with bacteria present, but no solid waste, carrying microorganisms and nutrients for microorganisms. Category 2 water does have the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if consumed or exposed to humans. Examples of Category 2 water: discharge from dishwashers or washing machines, toilet bowl overflows (urine, no feces), seepage due to hydrostatic pressure, and sump pump failures.
Category 3 Water (Black Water)
Contains pathogenic agents and is grossly unsanitary which includes raw sewage and other contaminated water sources, such as flooding from sea water, ground surface water and rising water from rivers or streams. To learn more about Category 3, read our two part series which described some of the challenges we faced during the Calgary flood in 2013.
According to the IICRC there are four classes of destruction:
Class 1
The lowest and easiest to deal with, this has a slow evaporation rate. Only part of a room or area was affected, there is little or no wet carpet, and the moisture has only affected materials with a low permeance rate, such as plywood or concrete.
Class 2
With a fast evaporation rate, this level affects an entire room, carpeting, or cushioning, the wetness has wicked up the walls at least 12”, and there is moisture remaining in structural materials.
Class 3
This class has the fastest evaporation rate, and ceilings, walls, insulation, carpet and sub-floors are all saturated. The liquid may have come from overhead.
Class 4
This class is labeled as specialty drying situations, which means there has been enough liquid and time to saturate materials with very low permeance, such as hardwood, brick, or stone.
It is important to understand that when you experience water damage, the longer you wait to begin dealing with the concern, the worse it can get. You should not allow the water to sit because the risk of bio-hazard increases. In short, in 2 to 3 days, category 1 water can turn into category 2 water and eventually category 3 water as other bacteria and pathogens begin to proliferate.
Bottom line, act immediately. Call a restoration professional to assess the category of water and extent of damage. Once this is determined, the scope of work will assess structural issues based on the class of damage, outline what contents need to be removed, how to deal with and remove excess water, a drying and monitoring strategy using air movers and dehumidifers, and a sanitizing plan to ensure a healthy environment.
It is important to understand that the whole goal of water damage restoration is to restore the property to pre-loss condition. With this in mind, once all the work has been done we strongly advise that you hire a Third Party Environmental consultant to perform post-remediation tests, particularly, if any mold or category 2 or 3 water was present. This final step will provide further peace of mind that the water damage restoration contractor you hired did a professional job.

Get Help

Check out our Flood & Water Damage Restoration page to learn more about our services in this area. Or, if you require immediate help with water or flood damage, fill out the form on the right or call 1-888-909-6653 to get assistance.