Posted by: Elite Restoration LLC on April 1, 2023

Back to the Basics - What is Water Damage?

Water damage can be a broad term used by homeowners, handy men and women, and industry professionals. But what does water damage actually mean when it comes to your home and the well-being of your family?

We’ve broken down what water damage actually is to help understand this issue in your home so you feel more prepared when seeking help to fix an issue.

What qualifies as water damage?

Water damage refers to any type of damage that is caused to a structure or material as a result of water exposure. This damage can occur from various sources such as flooding, leaks, and humidity.

Common examples of water damage include:

  1. Water stains on walls, ceilings, and floors
  2. Warped or swollen wood floors
  3. Mold and mildew growth
  4. Rust or corrosion on metal surfaces
  5. Electrical damage from water exposure
  6. Cracks in foundations or walls
  7. Peeling paint or wallpaper

It is important to address water damage as soon as possible to prevent further damage and health hazards.

What does mild water damage look like?

Mild water damage in a home may not be immediately noticeable, but there are some signs to look out for. Here are some common indicators of mild water damage:

  1. Water stains on walls or ceilings - these may appear as discolored patches or streaks.
  2. Musty or damp odors - these may be particularly noticeable in basements, attics, or other areas with poor ventilation.
  3. Peeling or bubbling paint or wallpaper - water damage can cause the paint or wallpaper to loosen and peel away from the wall.
  4. Swollen or warped wood - water damage can cause wood floors, baseboards, or other wood surfaces to expand and warp.
  5. Rust or corrosion on metal surfaces - water damage can cause metal surfaces to corrode and rust.

It is important to address mild water damage as soon as possible to prevent further damage and potential health hazards. Even if the damage appears minor, it can quickly escalate if left untreated. If you suspect water damage in your home, it's best to consult with a professional water damage restoration company to assess the situation and recommend appropriate steps to mitigate the damage.

What does severe water damage look like?

Severe water damage in a home can be devastating and can cause significant structural damage and health hazards. Here are some common indicators of severe water damage:

  1. Flooded areas - if your home has been flooded, you will likely have standing water throughout the affected areas.
  2. Sagging or collapsed ceilings - water damage can cause ceilings to sag or even collapse due to the weight of water and soaked building materials.
  3. Buckled or warped flooring - water damage can cause flooring to buckle or warp, making it uneven and difficult to walk on.
  4. Mold growth - prolonged exposure to moisture can lead to mold growth, which can appear as black, green, or white patches on walls, ceilings, and floors.
  5. Foul odors - water damage can cause a musty or earthy odor that can be very strong and unpleasant.
  6. Electrical damage - water can damage electrical systems and create a fire hazard, so it's important to have a professional inspect any electrical damage.

Severe water damage can be dangerous and should be addressed immediately to prevent further damage and health hazards. If you suspect severe water damage in your home, evacuate the area and contact a professional water damage restoration company for immediate assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Most homeowner's policies cover most water damages, but not all water damages are created equal. There can be a lot of exceptions to coverage depending on the intricacies of your policy. This is why it's a good idea to be familiar with your policy and call your agent right away when damage occurs.

A good portion of water damage can be prevented by proper household maintenance. Routine plumbing maintenance, as well as sump pump and appliance maintenance, are effective ways to avoid preventable damages. If you live in a cold climate, preparing your home for the winter can also help avoid damage. Finally, it's a good idea to regularly check the exterior of your home, particularly your roof, for damage to ensure water isn't unexpectedly leaking into your home.

Identifying the source of the water damage is one of the first steps in both the insurance claim process and before beginning to dry out and repair the damaged areas. After all, if you replace a sagging, wet ceiling that was caused by a roof leak but don't fix the roof, too, the next rainstorm will start the cycle all over again. The buckling to your hardwood floor could be caused by a leaking pipe. We will pinpoint the exact cause of your water damage and make sure the source is repaired. We make sure your restoration job is done right the first time.

That depends on the types of materials that were affected by water. Drywall, carpet, and hardwood floors will take longer to dry than other materials in the space. We use moisture meters throughout the process and in many different locations to gauge the moisture levels and will continue to adjust our fans and dehumidifiers to achieve an efficient but effective dry time. The bare minimum of "three days to dry" may only produce a surface dry, but can still leave behind moisture levels that create an ideal environment for mold to grow.

Water damage insurance claims depend on a few different criteria. Ultimately, that's a question you'll have to clarify with your insurance company. However, we can tell you that the viability of water damage insurance claims depends primarily on what caused the damage (storm, burst pipe, plumbing malfunction, localized flood, sump pump failure, etc.). Some insurance policies will outline scenarios that will NOT be covered without specific riders like flood insurance, or sump pump failure insurance.

Contacting a restoration contractor as well as your insurance adjuster at the same time is a good idea because the restoration contractor will help make sure that not only will the water extraction and dry out be covered but the rebuild process that should follow. If the full scope of the claim isn't outlined and agreed upon from the start, there may be issues down the line, and property owners may find themselves having to pay out of pocket to get the property completely back to normal.

Most homeowners start trying to remove the water themselves before they realize they'll need to contact their insurance company about a claim so they can call in a water damage restoration company. However, standing water around anything with a power cord or outlet or sagging ceilings make the area unsafe. Also, many insurance claims require documentation of the loss BEFORE any work is done, including removing the water. Always take plenty of photos of the damage you see before taking any action to start cleaning up the mess. Your restoration contractor will be able to back up your insurance claim scope with the necessary technical documentation as well.

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