Using The Categories Of Water Damage To Determine What You Can Salvage

Just hearing the words "water damage" makes some people cringe. They recall a bad experience involving a flooded basement, stained drywall, or the carpet they had to replace once. But it's not just about the amount of damage sustained. Water damage is broken into different categories based on the type of water that caused damage – which relates to the level of contamination in the water. Understanding these different categories will help you determine what can or can't be salvaged when facing repairs from floods or leaks. And as you learn about the categories, you might realize you can save more than you initially thought.

Category 1 Water Damage

When it comes to water damage, this is definitely the type of problem you want to be facing. Category 1 water damage is considered clean water. It comes from a source such as your kitchen faucet and typically relates to pipe leaks. While this damage can still be extensive if not addressed right away, you can salvage most of your belongings with category 1 water.

When you debate whether to restore or replace, consider the type of water damage you are dealing with. As long as your flooring can be adequately aired out, you don't have to worry about contamination or a lingering mildew smell. You aren't required to replace anything that has been damaged by category 1 water. However, baseboards and walls might need some repairs so they aren't weakened or stained.

Category 2 Water Damage

Category 2 water is a little trickier when it comes to restoration and repairs. Category 2 water is also referred to as grey water and may or may not be harmful to you. Grey water is water that contains sediment and buildup such as dirt, hair, grease, and other nontoxic substances. It isn't harmful as long as you don't ingest it. However, because grey water has so much buildup, you need to be careful about what you salvage when sustaining category 2 water damage.

When it comes to grey water, simply airing out your carpets and linoleum won't suffice. You should have them professionally cleaned. Although this is a more expensive repair, a thorough cleaning eliminates sediment that could develop into something harmful. If you don't clean damaged surfaces, they could become infested with mold and bacteria that create a health hazard for you and your family.

Category 3 Water Damage

Category 3 water damage must be dealt with immediately. It is toxic water – typically flooding from a sewage pipe – that causes health problems on top of the water damage. This is also called black water damage. Black water is the source of bacteria and black mold and has been linked to respiratory illnesses, intestinal damage, and other sicknesses.

When it comes to category 3 water damage, you should enlist professional assistance and plan on replacing anything that contacted water. Even if you can't see visible damage, you don't want to risk exposing yourself or your family to viruses and bacteria found in black water.

Deciding what to repair and what to replace when dealing with water damage is a difficult task. Start by determining what category of water damage your home sustained and then work from there. If you caught the damage early and the water is clean, you might not have to replace anything. However, if the water was contaminated in any way, consider the cost of restoration versus the cost of replacing. If you can save money by restoring furniture and cleaning carpets, do that instead of replacing them as long as the water wasn't black. Consider the health of your family in addition to the cost of flood damage restoration and do what is best for you.