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Typical Cost of Water Damage

Tuesday, May 18th, 2021
cost of water damage

Water damage restoration is not a rare event in American homes. Over one-third of households in the U.S. have filed a homeowner’s insurance claim for damage due to water originating from some source. Statistics from one major homeowners’ insurance company show that residences are up to 10 times more likely to incur damage from water than from fire.

In general, the average cost of residential water damage restoration ranges from $2,000 up to $5,000 with a median cost currently at $3,600. At the extremes, damage from a minor incident that is quickly controlled such as a toilet overflow could be less than $800, while a home entirely flooded with over six inches of water would likely exceed $20,000.   

Some of the major factors that influence the cost of water damage restoration include:

  • Type of water. Where the water originates matters. A ruptured plumbing supply line leaking clean water is certainly damaging. However, the cost of remediation by water damage professionals will be substantially less than an incident that involves tainted water such as an appliance overflow—known as “gray water”—or, worse, a sewage backup that is hazardous toxic “black water.” Events involving these categories impose extra complications of removing contaminated water and then sanitizing the structure to make it safe to occupy again.  
  • How far it’s spread. From the outset of a damaging incident, the water’s on the move. Hour by hour, the more time that elapses before intervention by water damage professionals occurs, the deeper water penetrates into the structure and the more costly restoration will be. Reputable water damage recovery firms offer rapid response 24-hours a day in order to limit the spread of water, ASAP.  
  • Active mold growth. Mold contamination is a significant complication of water damage and adds to the cost of remediation. Active mold growth triggered by exposure to moisture generally begins in 24 to 48 hours following water damage. Prompt professional water extraction and drying techniques are critical to reducing costly mold contamination.  

Disaster Strikes! Seconds Count!

Thursday, May 13th, 2021
water damage

Water damage often doesn’t give advance warning and, once it strikes, the clock is ticking. Rapid response by certified water damage professionals is vital to minimize damage as well as ensure the most rapid and successful recovery. Here’s a sample timeline of events if proper professional treatment is delayed:

During the First 60 Minutes

Water rapidly spreads away from the point of origin, seeping under walls, penetrating ceilings into lower floors, and creating a saturated path of damage. Vulnerable items such as papers, books, photos, and artwork contacted by water may be already affected. Water entering electrical outlets or shorting extension cords may trip circuit breakers and shut power off.

After 24 Hours

Various materials affected by water begin to react as damage expands. Drywall absorbs water readily and begins to deform, but, if drying starts quickly, it can be saved. Laminated wood items in the house deteriorate as glues in the wood are dissolved by water. Fabrics in contact with water could bleed colors and may cause permanentl stains. HVAC ductwork may now be inundated. The pungent, musty odor associated with water damage becomes noticeable. 

At 48 Hours

Standing water inside the house may start to become contaminated by microorganisms. Paint on wet surfaces may begin to blister and affected doors could swell and become difficult to open or close due to the elevated moisture and indoor humidity. Hardwood flooring starts swelling, and eventually, warping and buckling.

Several Days Later

Depending on the volume and type of water involved, the house may be no longer safe to occupy. Residents, in some cases, may need to temporarily relocate elsewhere. Mold contamination can start to spread and indoor air may become unhealthy to breathe without N-95 face masks. If things continue to progress, the house structure may become unstable as saturated drywall walls and ceilings may collapse without warning. Water-soaked wiring and junction boxes could present electrical hazards. In some cases, the extensive restoration now required means the cost and time frame of recovery are increasing substantially.  The moral of the story is that seconds count in water damage mitigation. 

Ten Critical Steps for Visible Water Ceiling Damage

Tuesday, May 11th, 2021
water ceiling damage

Water ceiling damage is one of the most common and easily identified issues in homes. Because water always flows downward, a number of overhead sources may be to blame. No matter what the cause, what’s indisputable about water ceiling damage is it’s unsightly and shouldn’t be ignored.

Here are 10 steps for identifying and remedying ceiling water damage:

  1. “Sweating” pipes can cause water ceiling damage. Cold water pipes routed through a hot, humid attic form condensation that may drip down onto ceilings.
  2. Be careful. Water ceiling damage can also be hazardous. Severely saturated ceilings may collapse under their own weight.  
  3. Ceilings shouldn’t sag. Soaked ceiling drywall loses structural integrity and deforms, typically sagging downward. This is usually a sign of saturation caused by water ceiling damage.
  4. First, stop the source. Identify potential leak sources above the ceiling or in the attic and take necessary steps to eliminate the water source.
  5. If the room is directly below a bathroom, leakage from a water supply line or a bathtub/shower stall drain pipe is a prime suspect. 
  6. Investigate all stains. Discolorations mysteriously forming on white ceilings are never normal. They may be darkened areas or rusty-colored stains in a variety of shapes and sizes. In most cases, the explanation is water damage.  
  7. Mold growth = water damage. Mold growing inside moist drywall that forms the ceiling often appears as mottled black spots. Moldy discolorations on the ceiling typically indicate water leakage from an overhead source. 
  8. Relieve the pressure. If a portion of a ceiling is saturated and sagging, placing a bucket below the wet spot and punching a hole in the ceiling can drain some of the water.
  9. Replacement may be easier than repair. Replacing water-damaged ceiling drywall may be the quickest and more effective remedy than patching existing material.
  10. Roof leakage into the attic may eventually manifest as water ceiling damage indoors. Ceiling stains may not appear directly beneath roof leaks into the attic because water seepage may travel along attic rafters and other structures before damaging the ceiling.  

What Is Water Damage Triage?

Tuesday, May 4th, 2021
water damage triage

Water damage triage is the organized process of reversing damage caused by water and restoring a secure, healthy indoor environment to your home as rapidly as possible. Water damage often occurs out of the blue. Faced with snap decisions about what needs to be done first, a homeowner’s understandable response might well be, “Everything!”

Water damage triage applies a standardized method to water damage assessment and remediation, based on scientific research and experience in the industry. Professionals apply established techniques and procedures in a very specific sequence to produce optimum results in the shortest time frame possible.

While water damage triage necessarily varies according to many factors, here’s a general sequence in a typical project:

  • Inspection. Arriving on the scene, a rapid, extensive inspection is conducted to determine the source of the water as well as the extent to which it has spread within the house. Safety is part of water damage triage as electrical hazards in the wet environment and/or structural issues are identified. Moisture meters and other technology are utilized to track down the spread of water in the structure.
  • Removal of saturated material. Items that may retain water, such as soaked mattresses, sofas, throw rugs, and other movable material, are taken out of the house. Saturated drywall, soaked insulation, and other building materials which can’t be dried may also be removed.
  • Eliminating standing water. Using specialized equipment designed for high-volume water removal, all standing water is rapidly removed from the house. Powerful extractors are utilized to pull water out of carpets and even solid flooring. Where deep water exists, such as a flooded basement, submersible pumps are put to work.
  • Drying. Residual moisture inside the house is dried using a combination of high-powered air movers as well as industrial-grade dehumidifiers. These devices run continuously throughout the process to eliminate the remaining water in the structure.  
  • Testing and verification. Throughout water damage triage, moisture meter data and humidity readings track the reduction of moisture inside the house. The structure must meet published industry standards for dryness before the project can be concluded. 

What Is Water Damage Restoration?

Thursday, April 29th, 2021
water damage restoration


Water damage restoration is one part of the process of remediating the effects of water on your home. While water damage typically appears to occur as a single incident, two distinct phases are involved in returning your house to a restored and healthy living environment.  

First, Mitigate

Water damage mitigation is always performed first. It’s the process that includes extracting the water and drying the premises, getting damaged furniture and other saturated items out of the house, cleaning and ensuring that the structure is safe to inhabit.

Professional mitigation involves an array of specialized technology, purpose-built for water damage recovery. This includes powerful water extraction, high-volume drying and dehumidification equipment, and moisture detectors to track down all water present in the structure, wherever it exists.

Then, Restore

Water damage restoration is what comes after all the water is gone. Steps in the process differ according to variables such as the origin of the water as well as the materials and systems in the house that were affected.

Here are some typical aspects of restoration:

Replacing Damaged Structures

Drywall is a major construction material composing walls and ceilings in homes. Drywall is very absorbent and, once saturated with water to any substantial extent, the material is no longer structurally sound. Large portions of soaked drywall may not be effectively dried and could require replacement.

Standing water inside a room may have penetrated flooring materials such as hardwood and tiles, saturating the wooden subfloor beneath. The flooring may require removal in order to dry or replace the subfloor.  Professional mitigation experts will attempt to dry the materials in place before removing them.

Attic insulation saturated by water from sources like a roof leak will generally not dry in place. While fiberglass batts may be removed and dried, cellulose loose-fill insulation is generally ruined by water exposure and must be replaced.

Mold Remediation

Cleaning affected surfaces, HEPA vacuuming and applying EPA-approved antimicrobial solutions to prevent mold is another aspect of water damage restoration. Air samples may be taken to identify the presence of active mold growth triggered by water damage as well as confirm that remediation procedures are successful. 

Verifying Dryness

Moisture inside the house is continuously tracked by recording humidity levels in indoor air as well as testing structural materials with moisture meters. The house will not be considered fully dried until testing meets industry standards for dryness established by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification

Rental Home Flooding: What to Do

Thursday, April 22nd, 2021
rental home flooding

Rental home flooding can be just as alarming and damaging as significant water damage in a property you own. However, while water damage issues can affect renters and homeowners, alike—who’s responsible and how the incident is handled may differ. In addition, while state laws are broadly similar with regard to rental home flooding, some states may apply different regulations.  

If rental home flooding occurs, certain common-sense steps should be taken by the tenant:

  • If you see damage occurring—or warning signs of potential damage such as a leaky pipe that may rupture—immediately inform the onsite manager (if there is one) or contact the property owner directly.
  • Stop the source of water immediately if you can. In the case of a rental house, knowing the location of the main water shutoff valve and how to operate it is good common-sense knowledge.  

Responsibilities of the Property Owner

  • In all states, a landlord is responsible to maintain a safe and habitable rental space for tenants. This includes promptly addressing water-related issues such as leaky plumbing, roof leaks, groundwater seepage, and malfunctioning or defective home appliances
  • Once any incident of rental home flooding (or a condition likely to trigger flooding) is reported to the property owner, the cost of repair of any resultant damage is the responsibility of the owner.  

Responsibility of the Tenant

  • If rental home flooding is caused by the tenant’s abuse or misuse of plumbing or appliances, the tenant could be charged for repairs to resultant damage. An example would be flushing inappropriate items down a toilet and causing a damaging overflow.
  • If an appliance belonging to the tenant and not provided by the property owner—for example, a washing machine—malfunctions and floods some or part of the premises, the tenant may be liable for costs for repair of the damage.  

Prevention Is Preferable

Property owners should conduct regular inspections to verify the status of plumbing as well as look for signs of structural problems like roof leaks. Also, tenants should be reminded to promptly report any issues that might result in rental home flooding to the manager or property owner.

What Is Water Extraction?

Tuesday, April 20th, 2021
water extraction

Professional water extraction isn’t a single procedure; it’s a  critical step in the water mitigation process. After water damage strikes a home or other structure, the first priority is identifying the source of water and stopping it. After this is done, rapidly getting the water out of the house and identifying and drying residual moisture is central to minimizing further damage and preventing secondary issues like microbial growth. Water extraction is one part of the total water damage mitigation process.  which also includes the use of professional drying equipment, as well as state of the art moisture meters to ensure a home or building is properly dried. 

The water extraction process utilizes an array of professional equipment to track down all existing water and remove it quickly and efficiently.

  • Industrial strength vacuums. These units, often truck-mounted, incorporate powerful suction to pull water out of carpets  and other hard surface flooring 
  • High-volume submersible pumps. Where standing water is very deep, such as in a flooded basement, these pumps continuously remove large quantities of water into a plumbing drain or outside the house through a discharge pipe.
  • Dehumidification and air drying technology. Industrial-grade dehumidifiers are running continuously during the water extraction process to lower the water vapor content in the air and accelerate the drying process. High-speed air movers direct air across walls, floor surfaces, and carpets to enhance evaporation.
  • Water detection technology. While the water extraction process is underway, several devices may be utilized to continue tracking the presence of moisture inside the house and also confirm when the house is fully dried and meets industry specifications. These include hygrometers to measure indoor humidity and moisture meters to check for saturation inside building materials such as drywall. Infrared cameras are also utilized to identify water that has seeped behind walls and above the ceiling.  

How Are Sagging Floors Fixed?

Thursday, April 15th, 2021
sagging floors

Sagging floors are usually a visible sign of deteriorated structure somewhere below. In many cases, the factor causing this deterioration is water damage originating from above—such as severe indoor flooding— inside the crawl space. Chronic moisture in basements may also affect floor structure. Two components of the floor may be affected by sagging:

Subfloor

These are the wide wooden panels that lie directly below your flooring. Typically standard plywood or OSB (oriented strand board) subfloors can be affected by water damage inside the house due to flooding, ruptured pipes, or other causes. If water is present long enough to seep through flooring and saturate the subfloor, sagging may occur in spans of subfloor between the supporting joists beneath.  

Joists

Joists are wood beams, evenly spaced and running parallel to each other beneath your floor structure. Joists are vulnerable to water damage due to flooding in the crawl space from outdoor sources such as heavy rain or from chronic leaks in plumbing pipes routed through the basement. Water-related deterioration causes joists to weaken, resulting in sagging floors above.

Fixing Sagging Floors

In many cases, water-damaged subfloors must be entirely removed and replaced with new wood. However, if a wet subfloor is quickly opened up—flooring, tile, or other material removed—before it has absorbed too much water, and the material subjected to continuous drying processes by qualified water damage professionals, the wood may be effectively saved and sagging prevented. Once subfloor panels are fully saturated for any length of time, however, replacement of the affected wood is often necessary to prevent sagging floors and other deformation.  

Two methods may be applied to deteriorated floor joists that cause sagging floors. “Sistering” is a procedure where a sagging joist is jacked up to level, then a new, fully intact joist board is attached to the existing joist to straighten it and restore structural stability. Where the original board is not severely deteriorated, this eliminates the need to remove existing joists. Alternatively, multiple jacks may be utilized to level sagging floors, then each existing joist is removed and replaced with a new board.

Seven Home Safety Tips for After a Flood

Tuesday, April 13th, 2021
after a flood

If flooding strikes your home, you have a lot to think about and deal with after the water stops. One of the things that should be a top priority, however, is safety. Every year, people who survive an initial flood event are injured or sometimes killed by hazards present in the aftermath. To help reduce those statistics, here are seven post-flood safety tips to keep in mind 

  • Don’t go home until it’s safe. If you were ordered to evacuate before the flood, don’t return to the house until an all-clear has been issued by local authorities.
  • Be aware of electrical hazards. Electrocution is among the most common causes of fatalities after a flood. Even if utility power is off, it may be restored at any time without warning. If utility power is still on, don’t enter flooded rooms inside the house until electricity is shut off at the main electrical panel. If the panel is located in a flooded area of the house, call an electrician to disconnect the electricity outside.
  • Ventilate the premises. If the house has been closed up during flooding, open doors and windows to allow fresh air to circulate for at least an hour before spending extended time inside. 
  • Trust your nose. If you notice the pungent odor of natural gas, leave the house immediately and call the gas company to turn it off at the main valve.
  • Watch out for structural hazards. Saturated drywall is structurally unsound and may collapse suddenly. Stay out of rooms where ceilings are sagging and stand clear of walls that appear to be soaked and/or deformed.  
  • Avoid direct contact with water. Outdoor floodwater from sources such as an overflowing river or flash flood may contain toxins such as chemicals and raw sewage. Water from an indoor source like a ruptured pipe is considered contaminated if it has been present for more than 48 hours.  
  • Wear protective gear. Basic attire inside a house after flooding includes eye protection (goggles), face mask rated N95 or higher, rubber gloves, and waterproof boots. A hard hat is also advisable if available.

Dealing With Water Damage to Siding Materials

Thursday, April 8th, 2021
water damage to siding

The main function of siding is to prevent water damage, yet the siding itself is often a victim of water-related issues. Whatever type of siding may be installed on a home—vinyl or wood are most common—the exterior wall structure underneath the siding is usually made of plywood or another wood product, oriented strand board (OSB). Over time, water damage may occur to the siding or the vital wood structure beneath, allowing moisture to penetrate into the wall, spawning mold growth, and rotting wooden wall components.

Signs of water damage affecting the siding or the exterior wall beneath include:

  • Peeling paint
  • Softened or decomposing wood
  • Mottled stains that may be mold or mildew
  • Gaps between loosening siding panels
  • Protruding siding nails

In addition to simply age-related wear and tear, three issues are common starting points for water damage occurring to siding and/or penetrating the wooden structure underneath:

Overflowing Gutters

Clogged gutters that overflow during rain send water cascading down the exterior wall surface. While siding is intended to resist rain, no type of siding material is totally waterproof when water is flowing down the wall from clogged gutters above. Have gutters and downspouts cleaned regularly to ensure the free flow of water. Trim back branches that deposit excess leaves on the roof.

Splashes Due To Pooling

When pools of water commonly form next to exterior walls during rain, “splashback” water damage to siding may occur over time as roof runoff or direct rainfall continuously splashes water up against the siding. This water source eventually penetrates the wooden or OSB exterior wall material, triggering wood deterioration. Grade the soil around the foundation to divert water away from the house and prevent pooling.

Misadjusted Sprinklers

Lawn sprinkler systems may also cause water damage to the siding. If sprinkler heads located adjacent to exterior walls are improperly aimed, water spraying upwards from sprinkler nozzles at ground level is likely to penetrate beneath the siding. Over time, deterioration, mold, and insect attacks may occur to the exterior wall material. Adjust sprinkler heads to spray away from exterior walls.