Wall getting prepared for mold removal. The drywall will be cut to remove that moldy part. Pic https://svmfireandwater.com/blog/mold-inside-walls/

Water Damage Restoration services for when your house is “underwater”

Water damage can be an extremely serious issue, not only for residential housing but also for corporate offices and entire buildings. And it’s usually what comes after that is 

When owning property in extremely cold areas, such as Indianapolis, IN, Portland, ME, Pittsburgh, PA,  you need to be especially careful and vigilant in January and February, as these months see the highest number of burst pipes and property damage from burst pipes. 

In the south, property damage caused by water usually comes from high tides or damage from hurricanes, storms or mold growth from water leaks or humidity.

And In the case of waterfront homes, water damage can usually happen from overflow from a river, storm surge, coastal erosion and heavy rainfall.

In December 2020, a Boston couple began noticing beads of moisture on the ceiling and walls of their condo in Chelsea, North Boston, which they suspected was somehow connected to the new floor recently installed upstairs by a contractor.

Her upstairs neighbor brushed off her concerns, but a couple of months later, water came pouring that they had to use a dozen pots and pans to catch it. They were involved in a 4 insurance companies process that took 6 months. 

Every year US insurance companies pay out over $13 billion to repair homes and buildings damaged by water. However, depending on your insurance, not everything will be covered, so you need to discuss it with your insurer as quickly as possible.

Water damage repair works on a restaurant in Houston in October 2020.
Water damage repair works on a restaurant in Houston had to have costs paid out of pocket.

What is Water Damage Restoration?

Water damage restoration is the act of restoring your home to its original condition after a leak or other incursion by water. This is most often performed by professionals who come to your home with specialized equipment and knowledge.

The standard actions performed will be:

  • Stop the leak if not already done.
  • Water damage cleanup and removal. Standing water for example can be removed with a pump or a wet/dry vacuum that can also get rid of much rougher and even damp dirt, water and other liquids
  • Assess the damage. This can include inspecting all areas of your home, checking surrounding areas or homes if the water may have damaged those. They will likely use a moisture meter to check your walls, ceilings, and floors. If they find excess moisture, they may cut into it and expose the area to assess how much damage has been done.
  • Damaged material will be removed. If anything in your home is beyond repair, it will be removed to be replaced later. This would most likely include carpet and other flooring materials.
  • Drying. Large fans and dehumidifiers will be placed in the area. Depending on where the water went, your carpet or floors could be lifted, your baseboards removed, holes may be cut into walls to get better airflow.
  • Once dry, the restoration can start. Flooring will be replaced, walls repaired, baseboards put back, and anything else that was damaged can be repaired and then painted. 

You must start this process as soon as possible to stop further damage by water sitting or even traveling to other areas and into your walls. For example, if you live in an apartment, your water damage may travel and start to affect other owners, causing damage to their homes and making you liable for the repair costs. 

Water damage prevention and restoration done quickly may prevent basement water seepage, help identify leaking pipes, keep wood floors from rotting, destroying furniture and personal belongings, and avoid compromise of the structural stability of a building.

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What damage repair can cost:

Estimated Water damage repair costs for ceilings:

RepairAverage Cost
Water Damage & Leak Repair$500 – $2,500
Sagging Ceiling$250 – $1,000
Ceiling Replacement$400 – $1,000
Structural Damage$2,000 – $8,000
Info from Fixr.

Estimated Water damage repair costs in general:

National average cost$3,000
Average range$1,000-$5,000
Minimum cost$150
Maximum cost20,000
Info from Fixr.

When do you Need Water Damage Restoration Services?

Suppose you’ve experienced some kind of water damage to your property. In that case, you may wonder if you can clean it up yourself to save a little money or need a professional water damage restoration service.

In Michigan, cleanup companies were getting ready for end of the summer heavy rains and stocking up on equipment, and getting creaws ready for many hours around the clock. At this time of the year in Michigan, the majority of the calls they get is from peoples’ sump pumps and sewers either failing or getting overwhelmed by the amount of rain coming down, and recommending folks to get a sump pump to pump out water on their basements.

A sump pump project can keep your basement dry in the event of water intrusion.
A sump pump project keeps a basement nice and dry

The size of the flood isn’t the only factor when deciding if you need a water damage restoration company. What leaked? How much leaked? Where did it go? Could there be contaminants that may make you sick later? Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have intense reactions to exposure to mold.

If you don’t get everything completely dry within 1-2 days, then further damage and issues can start, and the longer you leave it, the more damage that can occur. You will also find there may be hidden damage and that simply clearing the water away and drying doesn’t resolve, such as:

  • Mold will grow under carpets and in the underlay.
  • Drywall will start to sag, warp, and become permanently damaged.
  • Wood will swell, warp, split, and even rot if you don’t address the problem.
  • Paint will bubble
  • Electric wiring will corrode and even short out.
  • Wood or laminate flooring will buckle and warp
  • Tiles may become loose
  • and much more…

If the leak didn’t come from fresh pipe water, like sewage or outside flood water, you likely don’t have the skills, products, or equipment needed to clean and sanitize the environment with antimicrobial agents.

Insurance companies will often require you to use a professional water damage service quickly, or they won’t pay out the insurance, so if you think there may be extensive damage or you just don’t know, then you must call a restoration company or risk being out thousands of dollars.

Another factor to consider would be, has the water escaped your home and caused damage to somebody else’s property. Because you can’t see how much damage and you may be on the hook for a large bill from them if not addressed quickly.

So the question ultimately becomes, how much damage do you think there is, can you handle it yourself, and do you think there could be a high water damage restoration cost involved. At a minimum, you can have a water restoration company come to assess the damage and discuss your options with you.

How do you Hire a Water Restoration Company, and what should you look for when you need cleanup and restoration?

When your home has flooded, and you want to get a restoration company to come quickly, who do you call, and can you trust they will do a good job?

  • Trained Professionals

The restoration company should be using trained professionals and not people they quickly hired off craigslist. They should have the training and equipment required to clean, dry, and restore your property effectively. In addition, they must have excellent communication skills to work with you and your insurance company. 

  • Availability

The restoration company should dispatch a team almost immediately to help stop further damage from happening. If you can’t get hold of them, they say they will come the next day or even later, then move on to another restoration service.

  • Industry Certification

If your restoration company isn’t certified, they likely have no oversight, and if they perform a poor job, you have limited options to deal with them. Check they are accredited in your local area or nationally. The Institute for Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and the Restoration Industry Association (RIA) are great options if the restoration company holds these. 

  • Payment and Insurance Options

The restoration company should validate your insurance as quickly as possible and then perform the work. If they ask you directly for money before they start, you may end up out of pocket on what you pay them. 

  • Price

Cheaper may be better in some situations, but if your insurance company is paying for this, you should ensure the restoration company will do an excellent job at a fair price and do it as quickly as possible. You don’t want to have missing floors and holes in your walls for months because the company doesn’t get back to you.

Mold damage on wood on door way.
Mold damage on wood on door way.

Is Water Restoration Different Between Commercial and Residential Properties?

The most significant differences between industrial water damage cleanup and residential property cleanup are the size and scope of the property and the types of plumbing systems used. As a commercial property owner, you must not only look after your interests but look after your employees, customers, and clients. If you fail to do this, you may become liable and incur additional expenses.

A restaurant in Houston famous for its asian food, had to close down due to severe water damage that occurred when the ceiling of the aging building, a former Pizza Hut, collapsed due to rain. The water damaged much of the sheetrock and unfortunately for the owners and the customers and employees, insurance didn’t cover anything and all the costs had to be paid out of pocket.

Acting quickly when water intrudes homes or offices is ideal but that’s not always possible. Costs are high, furniture needs to be removed and sometimes funds are not available. In that case, owners may face even higher costs as the water continues to damage your house, office, and belongings. In addition, insurance may not cover the total price if property owners do not act quickly either.

Max Francisco