Water Damage Restoration

Water Damage Restoration: The Ultimate Guide

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Ahh, water. With all its life-giving benefits, water can be quite destructive if it invades your home uncontrollably. Water damage is one of the costliest and most devastating disasters your home can experience.  

Whether you’re currently faced with water damage or just want to be prepared for the worst, this article shares the basics of water damage restoration, the processes involved, and what you can do while waiting for a professional restoration service like the Summit Cleaning & Restoration Portland company.  

But first…

Understanding Water Damage And Its Causes 

Before diving into the specifics of water damage restoration, you need to understand what water damage is.  

Water damage refers to any possible damage caused by water, including rusting of steel, flooding, rotting of wood materials, and mold growth. The damage may be slow and unnoticeable or can be catastrophic and sudden.  

In general, there are several causes of water damage. These include: 

  • Severe Weather 

Starting with something you can’t control, severe weather conditions are one of the more common causes of water damage. Hurricanes, thunderstorms, hailstorms, and other natural disasters can cause all kinds of damage to your property.  

A heavy downpour and strong winds can damage your roof, causing rainwater to fall right into your home. Depending on where you live, severe weather conditions can also lead to flooding, submerging your home in dirty water.  

  • Clogged Gutters 

Your gutter system is critical in preventing water damage by diverting rainwater from your home. However, when gutters become blocked or compromised, rainwater won’t be able to flow properly away and tends to overflow at the edge. Water can run down the side of your house, causing water damage on walls, floors, and ceilings.  

  • Plumbing Leaks 

Plumbing leaks are the most common cause of water damage at home. Your home’s plumbing is always working hard behind the scenes, delivering clean water for your everyday use while taking wastewater away from your home.  

That said, when plumbing pipes get damaged or compromised for various reasons (natural wear and tear, high water pressure, blockages, etc.), water can leak through structural elements and cause damage.  

The worst leaks are those hidden behind walls and ceilings, causing severe damage without you knowing.  

  • Faulty Appliances 

When water-using appliances such as washing machines or water heaters start malfunctioning, they may also cause leaks, which lead to water damage.  

Defining Water Damage Restoration 

Now that you know what water damage is and how it occurs, let’s take a closer look at how it is resolved. 

From its name, water damage restoration refers to returning your home’s condition to its original state before the water damage. Depending on the severity of the water damage, restoration consists of various processes. 

Although water damage restoration can be a DIY project, it’s best performed by a professional who’s better equipped with the proper knowledge and tools to do so.  

The Process Of Water Damage Restoration 

The process of water damage restoration may vary, depending on the professional you hire and your unique circumstances. With that said, here is the standard procedure involved in restoring your home after a water intrusion.  

  • Damage Inspection 

The first step in the water damage restoration process is a full assessment and inspection of the area. Restoration specialists will come to your home to assess the type and severity of water damage that occurred. They often use advanced equipment such as moisture detectors and hygrometers to get an accurate idea of how much repair work needs to be done while also classifying water and the damage caused.  

There are three categories of water contamination, which also help determine the source: 

  • Category 1 

Category 1 damage means that water came from a clean source, such as rainwater or a broken supply pipe. The water is essentially safe and doesn’t pose a significant health hazard.  

  • Category 2 

Category 2 refers to water that may be contaminated and could lead to health issues if you ingest or come in contact with it. Category 2 water damage often originates from toilet problems or malfunctioning washing machines and dishwashers.  

  • Category 3 

The most dangerous category of water damage, Category 3, refers to water with hazardous contaminants, ranging from toxic agents to harmful pathogens that can cause adverse health conditions. Also known as blackwater, Category 2 water damage often originates from sewage backup of flooding due to heavy rains.  

In addition to identifying the type of water contamination, professionals also classify the severity of the damage. In general, they will check for the porousness of the materials in the affected area to determine how much water intrusion has occurred. Using moisture detectors, they can measure the level of damage. Based on their findings, water damage will be rated from Class 1 to 4.  

  • Class 1 

Class 1 damage is relatively minor, covering only a tiny area, and there’s minimal water absorption.  

  • Class 2 

Class 2 has more significant damage than Class 1. Water has likely seeped into structural wood and saturated a room of cushion and carpet.  

  • Class 3 

Class 3 refers to damage where the water may have come overhead. This means that ceilings, walls, insulations, and carpets may be saturated with water.  

  • Class 4 

The most extensive type of damage, Class 4, means that water has been absorbed deeply into materials such as flooring and water-resistant materials such as concrete. With Class 4 damage, specialized treatment methods are required.  

After the inspection, a specialist will tell you the condition of your home, including the approximate cost and time to restore your home.  

  • Water Extraction 

After inspection, your service provider will start the water removal.  

If there’s deep-standing water, they will pump it out of your home using specialized water extraction systems such as wet vacs or submersible pumps. This could help extract as much water as possible, especially if you experienced major flooding.  

After standing water is extracted, additional assessments may be conducted to determine the remaining moisture levels and plan for any repairs necessary. That said, for minor water damage, water extraction may not be necessary, and the proper drying measures should begin immediately.  

  • Property Stabilization 

Depending on the severity of water damage, a restoration specialist may need to do temporary repairs or stabilize the property before starting the drying process.  

Property stabilization refers to the application of prevention techniques to minimize the risk of secondary water damage. This may include repairing leaky pipes, applying tarps, or boarding up windows. It also involves removing any compromised structural elements that can be a safety hazard.  

Addressing secondary water damage and potential structural hazards can help stabilize the area and prepare it for restoration.  

  • Drying  

Once excess water is extracted, and the area is stabilized, restoration professionals can now start the drying process.  

This process involves using various equipment, such as heavy-duty axial fans, industrial-quality dehumidifiers, and air movers to dry out materials that have absorbed water. This professional equipment can help speed up the evaporation process on floor pads, walls, and other affected areas addressing hard-to-reach moisture. The service provider may also open all doors and windows in the area to ensure faster drying times.  

Throughout this stage, the restoration professionals will monitor moisture levels in the affected area to determine whether it’s already dry, so the next step can start.  

  • Site Cleaning 

Once the restoration professionals have completely removed the moisture, the cleaning process will start. Technicians will begin clearing debris, determining salvageable materials, and cleaning the area. They can help preserve as much of your personal property as possible, including your rugs, carpet, and furniture.  

Site cleanup also includes thorough sanitization of the area. In general, water damage can leave behind an unpleasant smell. Moreover, moisture may have permeated deep within structural elements, creating the perfect place for mold to grow. Professional sanitization and deodorization are necessary to avoid these issues, ensuring that the air you breathe is mold-free and that structures are safe to touch. 

  • Repair And Restoration 

The last step is the actual restoration of the area. During this step, professionals will need to do the necessary repairs to restore your home to the condition it was in before the water damage occurred.  

This means that any damaged materials will be replaced or fixed. Depending on the amount of damage that occurred, restoration projects can be as simple as repainting and carpet installation or as extensive as repairing the roof, replacing the floor or drywall, or reconstructing parts of your home.  


The mention of ‘water damage’ can strike fear in the hearts of homeowners. Water damage should be proactively resolved, whether due to gradual, undetected leaks or flooding from severe weather conditions. Otherwise, it can create long-term issues with your home’s structure.  

So, don’t delay and start the water damage restoration right away. By keeping in mind the information provided in this article, you can quickly work on the problem to ensure a successful restoration and return your home to normal.

Also Read: Sewage spill when left unchecked can be dangerous – know what is the best way to clean the spill!



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