Water Damage Services

Quick Summary

If your home has suffered water damage, it can be a very stressful time. Whether you’ve uncovered black mold in your basement or you’ve discovered a burst water pipe or even a leaky sanitary pipe, it’s always important to address it immediately. It’s important not to delay contacting a water mitigation professional, as the longer the damage is left unintended, the worse and more expensive it will be to fix.

Water Damage Services

Due to the time-sensitivity of water damage remediation, it’s important to choose a local water damage restoration company that can address the issue immediately.

Most remediation service companies offer 24/7 fast response service calls, and you should make use of that service even if you are calling them outside of normal business hours.

When choosing a restoration company, choose one with IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) certification to ensure they meet all industry standards and practices.

Most insurance companies will require that you hire an IICRC-certified company to clean up your water damage emergency in order to qualify for coverage. If you live in an area with multiple 24/7 IICRC restoration technicians, you can call around and compare their prices.

By selecting an IICRC restoration specialist you can be sure that your remediation process will be as stress-free as possible.

Types of Water Damage Services

Water damage including storm damage can result in damage and deterioration to many household materials. The size of the affected area also can change the type of response required and the water damage restoration process itself.

Water damage services can include:

Most single-family homes and low-rise residential buildings are constructed of wood or simulated wood products, while commercial and industrial buildings are constructed of steel and concrete. These materials and environments require vastly different restoration approaches, and as a result, companies tend to specialize in one particular area.

Water Removal

The water damage repair process usually begins by ensuring all domestic water sources contributing to the damaged area are shut off. If the source of the water is a burst pipe or leaking storm or sanitary pipe, the pipe will be repaired.

Shortly after the source of the water leak is stopped, the water damage restoration company will remove standing water using either pumps or vacuums:

  • Pumps remove large amounts of water fast
  • Vacuums remove smaller amounts of water

If you are going to use a vacuum to suck up water, it must be a vacuum designed to do so. Most shop-style vacuums can usually be used for this purpose while central vacuums installed in homes usually cannot.

Water Damage Cleanup

After standing water is removed from the space, excess moisture contained in the building materials and air must be removed. If water damage is severe enough, structural drying must be performed.

Technicians remove materials such as flooring or drywall that are soaked with water and allow the structural materials to be exposed to the air. Then, they use drying equipment, such as fans and dehumidifiers.

Cleaning Up White Water

They’ll then test the moisture levels in the rooms to ensure they are below an acceptable level for the building materials and the health of the occupants. If the water damage is the result of potable or white water (the kind that comes out of your taps), a light cleaning is usually performed using disinfecting cleaning products.

Cleaning Up Gray and Black Water

If the water damage is the result of a stormwater leak or sanitary pipe burst or leak (grey and black water), then a more extensive cleanup will be required in order to ensure bacteria and mildew growth does not occur in the space.

Water Restoration

After technicians remove standing water and complete the drying process that removes excess moisture from the air and building materials, the restoration process can begin.

Due to the damage that water can inflict, often new flooring, carpeting and upholstery is required. Many building materials such as laminated flooring or drywall will often have to be disposed of to ensure mold growth does not occur in the future. If water came through the ceiling or the roof, those soft materials will have to be replaced as well.

While most household appliances are fairly water-resistant, if the damage is extensive enough, such as soaking electrical components, they will have to be dried out, repaired by a qualified technician, or replaced entirely.

Oftentimes, restoration experts will be able to identify whether certain materials or appliances can be salvaged or need to be replaced. If damage is beyond the restoration expert’s scope, they will suggest that you consult a general contractor that specializes in the specific construction work required.

Mold Remediation

Mold is a type of fungus that grows when there is sufficient standing water or humidity present in the air.

Mold can cause a whole host of health problems, including:

  • Allergy-like symptoms
  • Itchy eyes and skin
  • Headaches

Mold exposure may also aggravate symptoms of those with asthma. In more serious cases, mold can lead to pulmonary hemorrhage (bleeding of the lungs).

To ensure mold doesn’t grow in an indoor space, the relative humidity must be kept below 60%. Ideally, the relative humidity should remain at 30-50%.

Dehumidifiers are typically used to reduce humidity, however, it’s important that standing water or sources of water leaks be removed before dehumidification can be effective.

It’s also important to remove mold not only for health reasons but also for the longevity of building materials. Mold tends to lock moisture in close to the surface of materials, which leads to water penetration and further damage over time.

Water Damage Prevention

Water damage prevention always begins with making sure water stays where it’s intended to be. This means that professionals must perform proper plumbing practices and appliance installations.

Appliances that use large amounts of water, such as washing machines and hot water heaters, need to be serviced frequently and replaced promptly at the end of their service life.

If building foundations have not been constructed properly with footing drains, water can leak into and collect in basements. If this occurs, it’s often more affordable to install a sump pump, rather than reconstruct the building foundation.

Sump pumps provide a low point for water to collect, and then pump it up to a higher location where it can drain out of the building with the rest of the building’s sanitary waste.

Types of Equipment Used

To remove large amounts of standing water, technicians typically use pumps. If there is only a small amount of standing water, restoration professionals will often use a portable shop vacuum.

Once the standing water is removed, the air drying and dehumidification process can begin. This process uses fans, often equipped with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, sometimes called air scrubbers, to remove unwanted contaminants.

They also use dehumidifiers to remove moisture from the air. Usually, the space affected by water damage is then kept at a warmer temperature to increase the rate at which water will evaporate from the space.

Water Vacuums and Extractors

Water vacuums, typically called shop vacuums, are a convenient way to remove puddles of water from a space. Extractors can also be used to remove water from materials like carpet and upholstery.

Water extraction works by using a hand tool to “scrape” the water out of the material while a vacuum sucks the moisture away.

Fans and Air Movers

Fans and air movers are essential tools in drying a space after standing water is removed. The air inside spaces containing lots of moisture is often saturated with water. This means that the water in the space is unable to evaporate into the air.

To fix this, professionals use fans to push air out of the space. Open windows allow fresh, dryer air into the space. This fresh air encourages the moisture sitting in the space to slowly evaporate.

There are many different types of fans, and some direct airflow along the floor to maximize moisture removal from saturated air.


Dehumidifiers also help remove moisture from a space. They work by passing the moist air through a series of cold tubes, which makes the moisture in the air condense on the surface of the tubes and collect in a bucket.

As colder, dryer air continues through the dehumidifier, it’s reheated and pushed back into the space. Eventually, the air in the space has a lower relative humidity level, allowing the remaining water contained in the building materials to begin to evaporate, drying out the materials.

Air Scrubbers

Air scrubbers are special fans that force the air from the space through a filter or series of filters.

Air scrubber filters range in effectiveness from removing dust, all the way down to things as small as viruses.

Air scrubbers can use multiple filters, usually starting with the coarsest filter and progressing down to finer filters. There are several different standards of filter types:

  • MERV: Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value filter sizes range from MERV 1 up to MERV 16, getting progressively finer as the number gets higher.
  • HEPA: High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters are even finer filters than MERV 16 and are often used in environments that require especially clean air, such as hospitals and pharmaceuticals and electronics manufacturing.

When an indoor living space undergoes floor damage, air scrubbers using HEPA filters are often used to restore the indoor air quality to acceptable levels.

How Much Do Water Damage Services Cost?

Water damage restoration services can vary widely in their costs. On the lower end, water damage remediation can cost around 1000, while larger water damage incidents involving black water sewage backups can approach up to $7,000 or more to fix.

Other situations can cost much more, such as emergency response services when there’s been an electrical fire and water has been used to put it out. If there is fire and smoke damage, costs can increase dramatically.

Flooded Basement Costs

Average costs from water damage repair are typically the largest when involving flooded basements, as the amount of water can be substantial.

Flooded basement restoration services range in cost from $500 to $50,000+.

Leaky Roof Costs

Flooding and leaking from damaged roofs can affect trusses and seep into ceiling spaces, potentially causing structural damage. Asa result, leaky roofs can carry a wide range of associated repairs, requiring multiple different contractors.

Water damage services for leaky roofs range in cost from $350 to $4,000 or more.

Plumbing Costs

If flooding and water damage are the results of leaking or backed-up plumbing fixtures and only damages flooring and drywall, typically costs are not that high to repair.

You can expect it to cost $200-$4,000, depending on the extent of the damage.

Insurance Coverage for Water Damage Services

Insurance coverage depends largely on your plan’s policy. The first thing you should do after calling a water damage restoration company begins taking pictures and videos of the damage, as well as detailed notes. This can help dramatically in explaining your situation to the insurance company and cover yourself in case they attempt to limit coverage or your damage expenses.

In cases involving storm damage, fire damage, or other unexpected situations, water damage services will usually be covered by insurance. If water damage is due to poor plumbing maintenance, your insurance policy may not cover your repair costs.

Finding Trusted Water Damage Services

The most important thing to do after you discover water damage is to call a water damage restoration company as quickly as possible. This will ensure the quickest response time and allow them to perform a damage assessment before beginning their work. The longer you wait, the more the damage, and costs, increase.

It’s important to hire a qualified professional because their work will often last for many years, and they resolve the issues the first time. The last thing you want is to discover mold damage several years after you thought the water was removed and had new flooring and drywall installed.

Water Damage Advisor

The Water Damage Advisor content team is made up of multiple contributors, writers, and editors. We are your resource hub for anything related to water damage, mold and restoration needs that you may be challenged with facing.

4 References
  1. Aer Industries. (2016) The complete Guide to Water Damage Restoration. https://aerindustries.com/blog/2016/12/07/water-damage-restoration-guide/
  2. Sylvane. (2020) The Best Water Damage Restoration Equipment. https://www.sylvane.com/the-best-water-damage-restoration-equipment.html
  3. B-Air. (2020) Water Damage Restoration Equipment. https://b-air.com/restoration/
  4. How Stuff Works, Science. (2008) How Gray Water Reclamation Works. https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/gray-water-reclamation1.htm
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