Water damage happens in a variety of ways, which, in turn, require different methods to effectively and efficiently restore a house. Certain standardized parameters are utilized by qualified professionals to accurately establish the status of a house where damage has occurred, as well as determine appropriate procedures to achieve rapid, total restoration.
Water Damage Categories
Established by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), the following are recognized industry standards used to classify the type of water involved in a specific incident:
- Category 1 – “Clean” water directly from a sanitary source such as a ruptured water supply line. This category does not pose a health threat to humans and generally does not require decontamination procedures if the damage is promptly treated by professional techniques.
- Category 2 – “Gray” water originates from sources such as an overflowing appliance like a washing machine or bathroom fixture. This water is considered contaminated by microorganisms that could cause sickness.
- Category 3 – The most toxic type of water, this category includes raw sewage backup as well as influx from outdoor flooding. Remediation requires extensive decontamination and protective gear. The affected house may need to be evacuated until recovery is completed.
Extent of Damage
- Class 1 means the volume of water is small and limited to one room without more extensive spread.
- Class 2 refers to a larger volume of water in a single room that has potentially damaged drywall and/or flooring.
- Class 3 damage indicates severe damage affecting building materials, the electrical system, furniture, and possessions. Water has spread beneath walls and penetrated the structure of the house. Significant recovery techniques are required.
- Class 4 means water has penetrated porous materials like brick, stone, and concrete that require specialized drying methods over a more extended time frame.
Critical Time Factors
As the clock ticks, damage from water worsens by the hour.
- From zero to 48 hours, water damage expands. Absorbent materials like drywall and carpeting become saturated and retain water.
- At 48 hours, active mold growth begins and airborne spores spread contamination. Wood flooring and structure are warping and paint and wallpaper peel and blister.
- After a week, mold has infected many materials. Major structural components may be permanently compromised. The house may be unsafe to enter except by properly equipped professionals.