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The Complete Guide to Water Damage Restoration

Water Damage Restoration Guide

When it comes to water damage restoration, the most important things are the right know-how and equipment to do so effectively. From assessing and mitigating water damage to drying and cleaning up, it takes a keen eye and a “roll up your sleeves” attitude to get the job done. That’s why every serious water damage requires the help of damage restoration experts like the ones at Save The Day Restoration.

So let’s get started with the most important question of them all.

What is water damage?

Water damage describes any situation where water has compromised your property. So things like warped or rotting wood, mold and bacteria growth, rust, or even de-lamination of plywood all count. It can also refer to minor damage like water spots, which can lead to tragic outcomes like burst pipes, structural damage, or even flooding if ignored.

What are the categories of water damage?

There are three categories you should know about, all of which the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) have developed for water damage mitigation purposes.

Category 1 – clean water

Generally speaking, when water damage comes from pipes, sinks, or rainwater, it falls under this category. Typically, the source of the water isn’t considered dangerous, making it the easiest to deal with.

Category 2 – grey water

When category 1 water damage is not dealt with in less than 48 hours, it can upgrade to category 2. That’s because it’s been given enough time to promote bacterial growth, which means it’s potentially harmful to your health with contact. With pathogens more prevalent, you’ll want to be more careful with water damage restoration once you’ve reached this category.

Category 3 – black water

This is the most dangerous category of water damage of them all. This type of water is contaminated with bacteria and viruses, usually from sewage water, but also includes any water with grease and oil as well. You’ll require experience and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to even begin to deal with this severe problem.

The water damage classifications

Once you’ve determined the category of water damage, you’ll need to assess the actual damage that’s unfolded. There are four classes of water damage classification, depending on the severity.

Class 1

This is the least severe class to work with. Most likely only a small area of your property has been affected, and luckily, this usually means there aren’t many water-sensitive areas (e.g. carpet, unlaminated wood) affected, either.

Class 2

In this situation, far more space has been soaked with water, usually more than one room at least. This typically includes carpet and other water-vulnerable material as well.

Class 3

In this class, water damage is now affecting high-absorption materials and is rapidly spreading from walls to insulation and even ceilings. This also usually means water has wicked up to 24 inches up the side of a wall and is beginning to get out of control.

Class 4

Once you’ve reached this class, then even low-permeating materials like hardwood and concrete are fully saturated with water in its cracks. It can be incredibly difficult to remove moisture from these areas, and will require a professional’s touch to even begin dealing with it.

Water damage mitigation

In any case, the first thing you’ll want to do in any water damage situation is minimize the chances of it happening beforehand. Otherwise, you’ll end up in a difficult and expensive situation involving structural damage and mold remediation before you know it.

How to prevent water damage

Of course, prevention is the best cure. Much of this has to do with conducting regular inspections where water damage is likely to become an issue.
For example, these actions should be done consistently:

  • Seal your windows with caulk
  • Inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles
  • Clear your downspouts and rain gutters of debris
  • Add gutter guards to direct rain away from your home

Doing this will keep the outside of your home safe from most water related issues.  To be extra careful you can always contact professionals like Save the Day Restoration to come on site and give you tailored advice specific to your home or business.

How to prevent water damage in your house

Once you’ve got the outside covered, don’t forget to check inside your house as well. You’ll want to keep a regular eye on things like:

  • Showers, faucets, and tubs
  • Hoses
  • Plumbing and heating pipes

Plus, it’ll do you good to know where your main water shut-off valve is as well. In an urgent situation, you can use this switch to cut off the water till you can get a grasp of your situation.

How to prevent water damage on wood

You’ll want to be careful here as a hardwood floor usually requires professional help with water damage. But you can be smart about preventing water damage in the first place with a couple of tips:

  • Don’t leave anything wet on the floor
  • Buy a rug to reduce moisture brought in
  • Buy a humidifier for perfect moisture levels at home
  • Reseal your hardwood floors to keep them protected

How to prevent water damage on laminate flooring

The nice thing about laminate flooring is it’s pretty easy to maintain. Not only does it look good, but it’s also cheap and easy to clean. But if it’s exposed to water for too long, the boards will swell, crack, and split, which aren’t easy issues to deal with at all.
Here are a few things you can do to prevent water damage to it:

  • Seal the gaps with silicone caulk to prevent water from sinking in
  • Apply at least 2 coats of polyurethane for increased protection against water damage
  • Keep extra boards on hand to replace any damaged ones you have

Top 2 Water damage restoration tools

There are several tools you’ll need to make the water damage restoration process easier. But two of them are most important when it comes to making sure the restoration is 100% complete.

1. Dehumidifiers

These work by sucking moisture in from their surroundings. And in this case, it pulls moisture from your water-damaged property. But standard humidifiers for the home won’t do the job. They simply aren’t equipped for large-scale problems like water damage.

What you want are commercial-grade humidifiers. These are designed to pull large amounts of water and do it fast. For reference, they remove about 500-1,000 gallons of water each day, taking about 12-36 hours to complete a job on the scale of a small flood. You can rent these for about $40+ per day and do the job yourself or you can hire Save the Day Restoration and sit back while the experienced team does it for you.

2. Air scrubbers

A good commercial air scrubber removes all the nasty smells, particles, gases, and chemicals from the air, leaving only a nice, odorless environment for you to be in. Unfortunately, the cost to rent one of these for just 4 hours will run you nearly $100. So the expenses can quickly add up.

Top 5 Common causes of water damage

If you’re worried about water damage to your home, you’ll want to be extra aware of these five “danger zones” in particular. Conduct regular inspections of them to ensure they’re not on the cusp of breaking down and potentially leading you to a huge water damage headache.

1. Breakdown of household appliances

Appliances aren’t foolproof, and it’s not uncommon to use a dishwasher or laundry machine only to come back and find water all over the floor, sinking into floorboards and making a mess of things. Aside from maintaining appliances, try to be around when using them. That way you can catch issues before they become a problem.

2. Burst plumbing and leaky pipes

A burst pipe can quickly spiral out of control if not dealt with. It’s best to call a plumber and have them patch things up immediately, because you’ll still need to deal with the water damage that’s leftover. A leaky pipe can also be a threat because you might not realize things till it’s too late. If you can, quickly fix any leaky pipes and clean up its mess. If it’s gone on too long, however, don’t hesitate to call in water damage professionals to help you out.

3. Clogged Drains

Whether it’s a toilet that won’t flush or a slow-draining sink, what starts out as a minor inconvenience can spin out of control if left unchecked. For starters, don’t flush or pour things like oil, grease, or finely ground things like food or coffee grounds down your drains. Over time, this will create a situation that leads to clogs and overflow. Tie those things up in a container or bag and throw them in the garbage.

But if you do encounter a clog, the most common solutions are physical, such as plumbers and drain snakes. You can also use chemical drain cleaners as well, which dissolve the source of the clog itself, just make sure you wear gloves and the like to keep yourself safe.

4. Hot water tank burst

When a hot water tank bursts, there can be multiple causes which makes it hard to pinpoint the reason. Regardless, you’ll need to take the same steps to deal with it. First, stop the water flow. You don’t want the situation any worse than it already is. Second, cut the power to the hot water tank. You don’t want to risk a fire on top of water damage. From there, if you have water heater expertise, now’s the time to use it. If not, get a plumber there to get it fixed immediately.

5. Sewage flooding

This most often occurs in basements, and it’s usually from grease build-up or items that shouldn’t be flushed (e.g. single flush wipes) creating havoc on the plumbing. You should beware, because in 99% of these cases, you should NOT handle this in-house. Why? Because this is almost always a “black water” situation, meaning there are health risks involved.

Sewage water contains urine and feces, so not only will you require Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), but you’ll also need very careful procedures to keep yourself safe. It’s not worth the risk to you or your family, so just call in a professional sewage clean up service, like the one Save the Day Restoration offers, to deal with this mess.

Why hire damage restoration professionals

As you can see, there’s a lot of know-how and expertise that goes into water damage restoration projects. And unless you’re well-trained on the subject, it can be easy to skip important steps that leave your property vulnerable to mold or breakdown, no matter how careful you are.

Instead, it’s best to leave this task to professionals for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Easy access to hi-tech equipment
  • Ability to reach difficult crevices
  • Fast response time for emergencies
  • Near zero-risk to your personal health
  • Long term savings in terms of time and money
  • Easier time with insurance claims

Certification & Training

Save the Day Restoration is licensed, bonded, and insured for both residential and commercial construction. We offer full service restoration for all types of water damage restoration problems for residential and commercial properties.

The team receives comprehensive and specialized training in water damage, mold remediation/testing, sewage cleanup, storm/flood damage, leak detection, and plumbing. We provide water damage restoration services in the greater Los Angeles area.

Health & safety

On top of our technicians getting rigorous safety training, we also take a series of steps for completeness and safety of any project you have, including:

  • Being at your location the same day you call
  • Rapid assessment, documentation, and action-planning of your situation
  • Immediate action to mitigate water damage
  • Fast restoration of your property from water damage

So from start to finish, you’ll be in the best hands possible.

Don’t wait if you’re suffering from water damage

The slower you act on water damage to your property, the more expensive and tedious it becomes. So put this info to good use the instant your property is at risk of water damage, you’ll thank yourself in the future for it.

But if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of drying hard-to-reach places in your home, or don’t want to risk the danger of black water pathogens, let Save the Day Restoration’s team of damage restoration pros take care of it. We’re available 24/7 to handle emergency water damage mitigation.

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