Water Damage Restoration

Water damage can come in many forms from pressurized pipe breaks, to sewer backups, to weather related events. All forms can damage your home in different ways, and should also be treated in the same manner.

The S500 (and currently the S520) are reference manuals that water restoration technicians rely upon to help diagnose how to treat certain types of water damage and has been an industry standard for many years.

Depending on your type of water damage, different methods are applied in order to produce the same desired result: preventing further damage to the building and providing a safe environment within the affected dwelling.

What is water damage?

Water can damage many different types of materials that are commonly used in construction today. Items such as wood, drywall, and insulation are all considered porous materials. The problem with porous materials is that they are good at trapping in moisture, and elevated trapped moisture is not a good thing to have as bacteria and fungus (mold) love trapped moisture.

Fungus/Mold, which are commonly referred to as secondary damages because they grow as a result of trapped moisture, need two elements in order to grow: 1.) Moisture and 2.) A food source. Materials that biodegrade such as wood are great sources of food for these microbes to grow and multiply, which is why drying these materials the correct way is so important.  Our drying methods are designed with that notion in mind. Different affected materials require different drying techniques.

Are there different categories of water damage?

Yes, there are different types of water damage depending on multiple factors, including what type of water affected your materials. There are 3 different categories of water damage:

Category 1 originates from a sanitary source and poses no substantial risk from dermal, ingestion, or inhalation exposure. However, it may not always remain clean after it comes into contact with other surfaces or materials.

Category 2 contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans. It may contain potentially unsafe levels of microorganisms or nutrients for microorganisms, as well as other organic or inorganic matter (chemical or biological).

Category 3 is grossly contaminated and may contain pathogenic, toxigenic or other harmful agents. Such water sources may carry silt, organic matter, pesticides, heavy metals, regulated materials, or toxic organic substances.

Depending on which category your loss associates with, different techniques are used to treat the affected areas.

There are also 4 different “classes” of water damage associated with a loss:

Class 1 is the least amount of water, absorption and evaporation.  It affects only part of a room or area, or larger areas containing materials that have absorbed minimal moisture.  Little or no wet carpet and/or cushion is present.

Class 2 involves a large amount of water, absorption and evaporation.  It affects at least an entire room of carpet and cushion (pad).  Water has wicked up walls less than 24 inches.  There is moisture remaining in structural materials and substructure soil.


Class 3 involves the greatest amount of water, absorption and evaporation.  Water may have come from overhead.  Ceilings, walls, insulation, carpet, cushion and subfloor in virtually all of the entire area are saturated.

Class 4 relates to specialty drying situations.  Wet materials with very low permeance/porosity (eg. hardwood, plaster, brick, concrete, light-weight concrete and stone).  Typically, there are deep pockets of saturation, which require very low specific humidity.  These types of losses may require longer drying times and special methods.

As you can see, there are many factors that determine the correct way to treat your damages. It’s important to identify the correct category and class when designing the correct dryout method, and experience is critical when evaluating a new loss.

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