Understanding Water Damage and the Need for Restoration


Many property owners dread the many effects of water damage. The threats to both the structural integrity of the home and the health and safety of the occupants are valid concerns every time there is water damage that is the result of heavy rains or rapidly melting snow. Water damage can lead to costly repairs as well as irreparable losses. Wooden fixtures and furniture can easily get water-logged which, in turn, significantly weakens its overall structural integrity. Electronic devices and home appliances can burst into flames, rendering them excellent for the junkyard, when water gets in contact with the exposed electronic parts. Upholstery can develop a very musky odor that can only signify the presence of another major water damage concern.

While you can initiate the cleaning and drying processes for these water damaged articles, there simply is no guaranteeing that the water damaged article has been completely dried of its water content. It is for this reason that professional water damage restoration companies be hired. These companies are staffed with personnel who are experts at mitigating the effects of water damage and providing ample and appropriate repairs. More importantly, water damage clean-up and restoration companies provide total clean-up and absolute drying of water-logged items. They are often equipped with the latest technology to even manage mold growth that may result from long-standing moisture.

Why is there Water Damage?

Unfortunately, water damage does not only result from bad weather like storms, incessant rains, and heavy snowfall followed by bright and warm sunny days. A great number of the causes of water damage in modern homes come from faulty or improperly installed water fixtures as well as the wear and tear of pipes and plumbing systems. Leaks in the dishwasher as well as the hot water system and washing machine can all lead to water damage to surrounding areas. Clogged toilets, broken hoses and pipes, plumbing leaks, and leaks in the roof as well as cracks in the foundation of the home can all lead to water damage.

Natural weather phenomena such as rain can lead to flooding. This can render the basement particularly vulnerable to water damage especially with an improperly angled sloping gradient in the exterior wall. Additionally, the absence of a water sump pump or a water drain in the basement as well as the absence of adequate waterproofing wall coating can significantly increase water damage susceptibility.

Classifying Water Damage

While it is prudent to initiate the clean-up process as fast as you can – the longer time it takes for you to initiate the clean-up, the greater the severity of the water damage – it is often best to assess the severity of the water damage. This is to make sure that you can prioritize your efforts at water damage clean-up and water damage restoration.

Water damage can be classified into two ways. One classifies water damage based on the color of the water. The other method classifies water damage according to the probability of evaporation which is largely based on the type of material affected.

By water color, Category 1 water damage is brought about by relatively clean water and should not pose any threat to human health. These can come from a broken water pipe or even an overflowing kitchen sink because of a clogged drain. Category 2 water damage is brought about by gray water that signifies possible contamination with the high likelihood of causing human health conditions. Water from broken sump pumps as well as broken toilets will be examples. Category 3 water damage will be those that are brought about by black water that already contains harmful microorganisms. This can be water from the sewage tank.

By severity, Class 1 water damage is relatively easy to fix as the materials affected do not absorb or absorb very little water. Materials are less porous so they absorb very minimal moisture. Class 2 water damage affects the carpets and cushions in an entire room. Class 3 water damage is brought about by water coming from overhead. This affects entire areas from ceilings down to the walls and floors. Class 4 water damage require specialty drying. Examples of these will be crawlspaces, hardwood floors, plaster, and concrete, among others.

Health Concerns

Categories 2 and 3 of water damage pose health risks that need to be addressed by professional water damage experts. While any type of water damage can significantly lead to the formation, development, and proliferation of molds, the addition of bacteria and other disease-causing microorganisms in gray and black water types of water damage can significantly increase the threat of infections among the occupants of the house.

Generally, when water is left to stand, it takes time before it completely dries up. During this time period, the environmental conditions are ripe for the growth and proliferation of molds. While these microorganisms may not be generally harmful, they do provoke severe allergic attacks, particularly asthma attacks, among vulnerable individuals. Molds are known to produce spores that get aerosolized and airborne. These particles can be inhaled into the lungs and irritate the airway passages leading to coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing, and the production of phlegm.

It is thus imperative that thorough cleaning be initiated with complete drying of all wet and potentially moisture-laden surfaces.

Water Damage Restoration

Households need not become hostage to the many ill effects of water damage. Professional water damage restoration companies can use different techniques and tools to return personal belongings and cherished items back to their pre-water damage state. Depending on the extent or severity of the water damage, companies may hire the services of a specialist to make sure that your property is returned to its former glory and functionality. The specialist works hand in hand with the water damage restoration company to assess the full extent of the damage and help in the creation of a comprehensive plan of remediation and restoration. This way, you will be guaranteed that your belongings and your property will be restored to their former state.

Understanding the nature of water damage can form the backbone to its more effective management.


Metro Chem Dry – Carpet Cleaning Professionals in Toronto
Wikipedia – Water Damage Restoration
IICRC – Water Damage

James Jacobs