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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Water restoration experts reveal the different categories and classes of water damage and what to be aware of.

11/30/2022 (Permalink)

One of the most common causes of damage in a commercial or residential building is water. Water damage claims are the second most common insurance claim, according to the Insurance Services Office.

When it comes to water damage, there are a variety of causes and a wide range of damage from minor or major that can affect a home ro business. Knowing the classes and categories of water damage as categorized by the IICRC will help a homeowner or business owner prepare for the water damage restoration process.

SERVPRO of Metairie, a professional water damage restoration company, shares the different classes and categories of water damage that may affect a home or business space.

Water Damage Classifications

Class 1

This is the least severe water damage class and the easiest and least costly to remediate. Class 1 water damage applies if only a part of a room is affected, or if bigger areas with materials like rugs have absorbed only a small amount of moisture, the water is Category 1 or clean water, and there is minimal water absorption into construction materials.

Prolonged exposure to moisture can harm the home’s structure, thus it requires immediate water removal services to ensure damage does not progress to class 2 or 3 water damage.

Class 2

Class 2 Water damage causes more devastation as it means there is water absorption in construction materials up the wall less than two feet. It leaves moisture in the flooring, cushioning, and carpeting that affects the entire room or area.

Materials like plywood, boards, VCT, and other structural elements will retain moisture, posing a risk of long-term damage to your property.

Class 2 water damage will quickly turn to class 3 or 4 if not swiftly mitigated. The potential for microbial growth is elevated with class 2 water damage further increasing the need to act quickly and engage a professional water damage restoration service.

Class 3

Class 3 water damage most often originates from an overhead source such as a roof leak, burst pipe in the ceiling, or water from the room above yours (if it's a multi-story building). You have class 3 water damage when the walls, ceiling, insulation, and subfloor are all affected. 

There is a high probability of microbial growth setting in if water removal and restoration services aren’t engaged immediately.

Class 4

Class four is the most destructive of all. You have class 4 water damage when materials with low permeance, like concrete, hardwood, and plaster, are moist.

It typically requires more effort to dry and more intensive water removal techniques.

Categories of Water Damage

The category of water damage is based on the type of water that caused the harm.

Category 1 Water Damage

This type of water damage is caused by water from clean sources like a tap, faucet, water heater, rainfall, melting snow, and others.

While it may not seem dangerous, it can become contaminated and cause massive harm if left untreated for too long.

Category 2 Water Damage

Also known as "gray water damage," this level of water damage is caused by water that’s unsanitary as it may be contaminated with chemicals and harmful bacteria.

It can be from a leaking pipe, an overflowing washing machine, dishwasher, or a toilet bowl with no feces.

Category 2 requires immediate attention as it poses a major risk to your property and can be harmful if touched or ingested.

Category 3 Water Damage

Category 3 water damage is caused by water that is extremely filthy, and contains toxins, and disease-causing germs that are extremely harmful to humans and pets.

The water can be due to sewer blockage, flooding from rivers, water from the toilet with feces, stagnant water left for a long time, or severe weather events causing flood damage such as a hurricane.

Category 3 water removal requires the sanitization and disinfection of the salvageable contents and structure of your home after water damage mitigation and cleanup to prevent mold growth and the need for mold remediation. Category 3 water should not be dealt with as a DIY project. 

What Should You Do?

It’s important to act promptly when your home is impacted by any class or category of water damage. Consider hiring a water damage restoration expert like SERVPRO of Southeast El Paso/Butterfield to help you handle the situation and mitigate the water damage to your home or business.

Water damage restoration is a specialized service that requires expertise and experience. The water restoration professionals at SERVPRO have the requisite training, knowledge, certifications, and equipment to remediate water damage, clean your space, restore the property to preloss condition, and help ensure your property does not experience secondary damage such as mold growth.

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