Water damage comes in different levels of severity. Varying from a puddle of water on your floor from an open window on a rainy day to a burst pipe that soaks your carpet through, water can cause different amounts of damage in your home or business. Small amounts of water can cause cosmetic damage to your floors or furniture, while greater amounts can cause damage to fixed materials such as carpet and drywall. Even greater still, an extreme excess of water from a flood can cause structural damage to your home.
With each level of water damage comes different cleanup methods and precautions that need to be taken in order to prevent lasting damage. Know the water damage severity levels and their dangers so you are prepared to deal with and prevent further damage.
Water Damage can be Cosmetic, Fixed-Material, or Structural
Cosmetic Water Damage
Small amounts of water will cause minimal damage, but the incident will still most likely be a source of much irritation. This amount of damage usually involves discoloration of floors or wall paint and is the cause of other minor defects in materials or items around the home or business. While the water is usually from a clean water source at this level and doesn’t require professional drying methods, the water should not be left to stand for long periods of time. Standing water can feed the spreading of bacteria and mold spores if left alone for too long. Cleaning up with towels, shop vacuums, and fans will usually be enough to remove all the water along with minimal air-drying time.
Fixed-Material Water Damage
Fixed-material water damage is the result of larger amounts of water flowing where it shouldn’t in the home or business. When a pipe breaks, a toilet overflows, or a leak appears in the roof, water damage is occurring to fixed materials such as your carpet, baseboards, and drywall. This type of water damage needs immediate attention so it does not worsen into structural water damage and cause lasting harm.
The water at this level can stem from a clean or contaminated water source and depending on the severity, may require professional drying methods from experts with efficient equipment. Minimizing the water spillage by turning off water lines and catching leaking water will help lessen the extent of damage. If the water is from a contaminated source, you’ll need to dispose of anything it comes in contact with to avoid health risks, otherwise drying out any wet materials will be the priority.
Structural Water Damage
A large amount of water from a natural disaster or an unusual accident is extremely dangerous to not only your health but also the structural stability of your home’s or business’ materials. Water in this amount is almost always contaminated to some degree and soaks into everything in your home or business including insulation, wall support studs, and floor supports, along with all furniture and materials.
A water damage restoration professional is needed for this sort of incident so the water extraction is handled safely and thoroughly. Professional restoration companies use the required industry grade equipment to ensure that materials are dried properly and can provide building material replacement if necessary. Water damage at this level requires the most drying time as water often gets trapped in moisture-holding materials. Be prepared for drying times of several weeks in length.
Water damage can be minimal or severe depending on the type of water damage and the reaction time to clean up. Preventing water damage is always ideal, but when it does occur, it’s necessary to clean up and dry the affected area as quickly as possible by your own means or with the assistance of a professional to avoid further damage. Remember to sanitize and thoroughly dry any affected materials to avoid further potential dangers and risks to your health.