What is a Water Damage Restoration?

A water damage restoration is the process of repairing damage and restoring a property to pre-loss condition after it has been flooded from plumbing leaks, roof leaks, basement flooding, flash floods, sewage backflows, bathtub/sink overflows, appliance failures or otherwise damaged by water from fire suppression flooding.

Some key aspects of water damage restoration typically include:

  • Emergency Response: Taking quick action to start removing standing water and drying out wet areas to prevent further damage like mold growth. This includes techniques like extracting water with sump pumps or vacuum systems.
  • Drying Out: Using specialized drying equipment like dehumidifiers, air movers, and drying chambers to thoroughly dry out flooded materials and spaces like walls, carpets, wood flooring, etc. This stops additional moisture issues.
  • Sanitizing: Disinfecting and sanitizing with anti-microbial treatments to clean contaminated surfaces and prevent mold and bacteria growth. This includes treatments to porous materials like drywall.
  • Structural Repairs: Making necessary repairs to buildings structures, like floors, walls, etc. that sustained water damage and need rebuilding or replacing.
  • Contents Restoration: Cleaning, repairing or replacing furniture, appliances, electronics and other contents impacted by flood waters and moisture.
  • Rebuilding: Necessary finishing work bringing restored spaces and materials back to pre-loss functionality and appearance. May include reconstruction work.

The goal is to stabilize the property, undo water damage, bring the premises back to a pre-loss state, and prevent future issues like mold growth. Certified water damage restoration specialists handle the technical aspects.

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George Nicola

George is a seasoned interior designer and property marketing strategist with over 13 years of experience. He specializes in transforming properties into visually stunning spaces, helping clients recognize the potential and beauty in each property. With an impressive international client base of exciting projects throughout Europe and America.

Water damage can be a nightmare for homeowners. It can cause significant structural damage, mold growth, and even health hazards. When facing water damage, it’s crucial to act quickly and hire a professional water damage restoration company to mitigate the damage and prevent further problems.

But how do you find and hire a reliable water damage restoration company?

TL;DR Finding water damage restoration that can do the job

The first step in finding a water damage restoration company is to do some research. Start by asking family, friends, and neighbors for recommendations. Check online reviews and ratings on reputable websites such as the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List. Look for companies that have experience in water damage restoration and are licensed, insured, and certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC).

Once you have a list of potential companies, it’s time to narrow it down by contacting them and asking some important questions.

Find out if they offer emergency services, how quickly they can respond to your call, and what their process is for water damage restoration.

Ask for a detailed estimate of the cost and what services are included. A reputable company will be happy to answer your questions and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.

illustration of a water damage restoration team preparing to enter a flooded house after a fire.
Play Video about illustration of a water damage restoration team preparing to enter a flooded house after a fire.

What is Water Damage?

Water damage is a common problem that many homeowners face. It can be caused by a variety of factors such as leaks, floods, storms, faulty appliances, clogged gutters, and overflowing toilets.

Water damage can lead to serious structural damage, mold growth, and bacterial contamination. Therefore, it is important to understand the different types of water damage, the common causes of water damage, and the potential health risks associated with it.

Types of Water Damage

There are three types of water damage, each with its own level of contamination: clean water, gray water, and black water.

The category of water and amount of contaminants determine restoration methods needed to remediate properly for habitation/occupancy. Knowing the source helps technicians address all issues. Proper identification guides appropriate restoration processes.

There are several common types of water damage that restoration services deal with:

Category 1 (Clean Water)

  • Broken water supply lines or tub/sink overflows that release clean, contaminant-free water.

Category 2 (Gray Water)

  • Discharge from dishwashers, washing machines or toilets with some contaminants.

Category 3 (Black/Contaminated Water)

  • Sewage backups or flood waters with unsanitary contaminants.

Flash Flood Damage

  • Rapid flooding from sudden rainstorms that rush into buildings. Leaves behind mud and debris.

Leaky Roof Damage

  • Water pooling fromleaky roofs that soaks into insulation and finishes. May lead to mold issues.

Groundwater Seepage

  • Water seeping into basements or crawlspaces through walls and floors from saturated ground soil.

HVAC/Plumbing Leak Damage

  • Leaks from supply lines and appliances like water heaters flooding contained room areas.

What can water damage restoration company restore?

A water damage restoration company can restore a wide variety of items and materials, including:

Carpets – Companies use specialty drying equipment and anti-microbial treatments to decontaminate, dry, and save soaked carpets.

Hardwood Flooring – Water restoration firms are often able to dry out hardwood floor boards and subflooring to prevent warping and buckling.

Drywall/Insulation – Companies can dry these porous materials in place using dehumidifiers and negative air systems to control moisture and prevent mold growth. They may need partial replacement where too saturated.

Furniture – Leather, wood, and upholstered furniture can usually be thoroughly cleaned and dried to eliminate water damage and prevent further issues like mold or wrapped finishes.

Appliances – Many basic appliances like refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers and kitchen gadgets and electronics can be dried out, sanitized, and restored to working order. May require some repairs.

Documents – Companies use vacuum freeze drying techniques to dry and restore vital paper documents, photos, books and other valuables. Gentle process preserves delicate items.

In some cases, demolition and disposal of severely damaged, porous materials is unavoidable. But water restoration companies excel at rapidly stabilizing flooding situations and drying items to near pre-loss condition when possible. Preventing further issues like mold growth is key.

Common Causes of Water Damage

Company specializing in water damage restoration would offer solutions for all types of damages, including black water incidents.
Company specializing in water damage restoration would offer solutions for all types of damages, including black water incidents.

Water damage can be caused by a variety of factors. Some of the most common causes include leaks, floods, storms, faulty appliances, clogged gutters, and overflowing toilets. Leaks can be caused by damaged pipes, loose fittings, or worn-out seals.

Floods and storms can cause water damage by overwhelming drainage systems and causing water to enter homes. Faulty appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers, can also cause water damage if they malfunction.

Clogged gutters can cause water to overflow and enter homes, while overflowing toilets can cause water to spread throughout a home.

Potential Health Risks

Watercolor illustration depicting the health risks associated with water damage if not addressed promptly
Watercolor illustration depicting the health risks associated with water damage if not addressed promptly

Water damage can lead to serious health risks if it is not addressed promptly and properly.

Mold growth is a common problem that can occur after water damage. Mold can cause respiratory problems, allergies, and other health issues. Bacterial contamination is another serious health risk associated with water damage.

Black water contains harmful bacteria and other pathogens that can cause serious health problems, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. Structural damage is another potential health risk associated with water damage. Water can weaken the structure of a home, making it more susceptible to collapse.

Selecting a Restoration Company

When it comes to water damage restoration, it’s crucial to find a reliable and experienced restoration company. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting a restoration company.

Illustration depicting the process of assessing the experience and reputation of a water damage restoration company
Play Video about Illustration depicting the process of assessing the experience and reputation of a water damage restoration company

Certifications and Standards

Look for a company that holds certifications from reputable organizations such as the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). These certifications ensure that the company has the necessary training and expertise to handle water damage restoration.

Assessing Experience and Reputation

It’s essential to assess the experience and reputation of the restoration company. Check their website and online reviews to see what their previous customers have to say about their services. It’s also helpful to ask for references from the company and reach out to those references to get a better idea of their experience working with the company.

Insurance and Transparency

Make sure that the restoration company has insurance and is transparent about their restoration process. A reputable company will provide you with a detailed estimate of the work that needs to be done and the associated costs. They should also be willing to answer any questions you may have about their process and provide you with regular updates throughout the restoration process.

Selecting a restoration company requires careful consideration of a variety of factors, including certifications, experience, reputation, insurance, and transparency. By taking the time to thoroughly research and assess potential restoration companies, you can ensure that you choose a reliable and experienced company that will provide you with high-quality restoration services.

Illustration depicting the process of assessing the experience and reputation of a water damage restoration company
Illustration depicting the process of assessing the experience and reputation of a water damage restoration company

How much does it cost to hire a water damage restoration company in US for 3 bed house or 5 bed house?

The cost of hiring a water damage restoration company in the US varies greatly depending on the extent of the damage, the type of water involved, and the specific area of the country.

However, based on the information provided, we can provide an estimate for a 3-bedroom house (approximately 2500 square feet) and a 5-bedroom house (approximately 4000 square feet). For a 3-bedroom house (2500 square feet), the cost can range from $9,375 to $17,500 based on an average cost per square foot of $3.75 to $7.00.

For a 5-bedroom house (4000 square feet), the cost can range from $15,000 to $28,000 based on the same average cost per square foot.

These estimates are for the restoration process, which includes removing the water, drying and sanitizing the area. However, additional costs may be incurred for repairing or replacing damaged materials. For instance, the average cost per square foot for mold remediation is $15 to $30, carpet replacement is $2 to $8, hardwood flooring is $7 to $25, drywall is $1.50 to $3.50, and plastering walls is $2 to $10.

Note that these are rough estimates and the actual cost can vary based on several factors including the severity of the damage, the type of water (clean, gray, or black), the materials affected, and the local labor rates. 

How does a water damage restoration company structure their fees?

Initial Service Call – A flat fee that includes basic elements such as visual inspection, site assessment, and determination of water source as well as efforts to control the leak or stop water flow at the time of initial report.

Size of the Affected Area: The larger the area affected by water damage, the higher the cost. This is because a larger area requires more time, resources, and labor to repair.

Type of Water: The type of water involved in the damage also affects the cost. Clean water (from sources like rain or leaking pipes) is generally less expensive to handle than gray water (from appliances like washing machines or dishwashers) or black water (sewage or floodwater). This is because contaminated water requires additional precautions and specialized equipment.

Extent of Damage: The severity of the water damage plays a significant role in determining the restoration cost. Minor damage might only require localized repairs, while extensive flooding can substantially damage multiple areas of a home, increasing the cost.

Materials Damaged: Depending on what materials were affected, the cost will vary. For example, hardwood floors are often easier and less expensive to repair than carpets, walls, and trim.

Drying Services Charges – Fees for the actual restoration process like drying wet materials in place using commercial dehumidification equipment, blowers, air movers, heaters and monitors. Charged based on time and equipment needed as well as weight/quantity of materials needing drying.

Cleanup & Sanitation – Fees for disinfecting contaminated water areas, general debris removal, surface cleaning and finish restoration needed after drying operations are completed. Usually based on job size and materials involved.

Location and Accessibility: If the affected area is hard to reach, such as a basement or crawlspace, it may require extra effort and time to perform the repairs, which can increase the restoration expenses.

Additional Repairs Needed: The cost can also increase if additional repairs are needed, such as plumbing or electrical repairs, or mold remediation.

Reconstruction Services – Any carpentry, masonry, plumbing, electrical or construction trade work required to rebuild damaged areas after water removal and restoration is completed, often using subcontractors for this specialty work.

Local Labor Rates: The cost of living in the area can affect the cost of services like wa.ter damage repair.

Profit/Overhead Markups – Percentage multipliers applied to any and all services rendered. These margins can vary but range from 10-30% typically.

These factors contribute to the overall cost of water damage restoration, which can range from $3,750 for 1,000 sqft to $7,954 on average for small condos, or potentially as low as $450 to $1,100 for average size basement or as high as $28,000 to $30,000 for five bed home depending on the source and the extent of the damage. 

It’s recommended to get quotes from several local restoration companies to get a more accurate estimate for your specific situation.

The Restoration Process

After a water damage event, it is essential to hire a water damage restoration company to help you restore your property to its pre-damage condition. The restoration process typically involves several steps, including:

Initial Inspection and Assessment

The restoration company will first conduct a thorough inspection and assessment of the water damage to determine the extent of the damage. This assessment will help them develop a plan of action for the restoration project. They will also identify the source of the water damage and take steps to stop it if it is still ongoing.

Water Removal and Extraction

The restoration firm will then begin the water removal and extraction process. They will use specialized pumps and equipment to remove any standing water from your property. The faster the water is removed, the less damage your property will sustain.

Drying and Dehumidification

After the water removal process, the restoration company will begin the drying and dehumidification process. They will use high-powered fans and dehumidifiers to dry out your property and prevent the growth of mold and mildew. They will also monitor the drying process to ensure that everything is drying out correctly.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

Once your property is dry, the restoration company will begin the cleaning and sanitizing process. They will clean and sanitize all affected areas to remove any bacteria or mold that may have grown during the water damage event. This step is crucial to ensure that your property is safe to live in.

Repairs and Structural Restoration

The restoration company will begin the repairs and structural restoration process. They will repair any damaged areas of your property and restore it to its pre-damage condition. This step may involve replacing flooring, drywall, and other materials.

A water damage restoration project can be a complex process that requires expertise and specialized equipment. Hiring a professional restoration company can help ensure that your property is restored to its pre-damage condition quickly and efficiently.

Working with Insurance

Dealing with insurance companies can be a daunting task, but it is a necessary part of the water damage restoration process. Homeowners should file a claim as soon as possible to ensure that they receive the coverage they deserve. Here are some tips for working with insurance companies during the water damage restoration process.

Filing a Claim

When a homeowner experiences water damage, they should call their insurance company as soon as possible. The insurance company will assign an adjuster to evaluate the damage and provide an estimate for repairs. It is important to note that insurance companies require policyholders to report claims in a timely manner. Failure to do so could result in a denial of coverage.

Documentation and Evidence

To ensure that the insurance company provides the appropriate coverage, homeowners should provide documentation and evidence of the damage. This includes photographs, videos, and a detailed list of damaged items. Homeowners should also keep receipts for any expenses related to the water damage, such as hotel stays or meals.

Understanding Coverage

Homeowners should understand their insurance policy and the coverage it provides. Most insurance policies cover water damage caused by sudden and accidental events, such as burst pipes or a washing machine overflow. However, policies may not cover damage caused by flooding or neglect. Homeowners should review their policy carefully and ask their insurance company for clarification if they have any questions.

In addition to understanding their policy, homeowners should also understand the estimate provided by the insurance company. Insurance adjusters may provide a low estimate, so homeowners should consider getting a second opinion from a reputable water damage restoration company. This will ensure that they receive the appropriate coverage for the damage.

Working with insurance companies during the water damage restoration process can be challenging, but it is important for homeowners to file a claim and provide documentation and evidence of the damage. By understanding their policy and the coverage it provides, homeowners can ensure that they receive the appropriate coverage for their water damage restoration needs.

Prevention and Maintenance

Water damage can be devastating to a home or property, and it is important to take preventative measures to avoid it. Regular maintenance and inspections can help identify potential problems before they turn into costly disasters. Here are some important steps to take to prevent water damage:

Regular Inspections

Regular inspections of a property can help identify potential sources of water damage. Homeowners should inspect their property regularly for signs of leaks, mold, and water damage. They should also inspect their plumbing systems, including pipes, faucets, and appliances that use water. Regular inspections can help identify problems before they become more serious.

Immediate Response to Leaks

Leaks can cause significant damage if they are not addressed immediately. Homeowners should respond quickly to any signs of leaks, such as water stains or wet spots on walls or ceilings. They should also be aware of any unusual smells or sounds that may indicate a leak. If a leak is detected, it is important to repair it as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

Upgrading Plumbing Systems

Upgrading plumbing systems can help prevent water damage. Homeowners should consider upgrading their plumbing systems to prevent leaks and other plumbing issues. This may include installing new pipes, faucets, and appliances that are more efficient and less likely to leak. It is also important to ensure that plumbing systems are properly installed and maintained.

Taking preventative measures can help homeowners avoid costly water damage. By performing regular inspections, responding quickly to leaks, and upgrading plumbing systems, homeowners can protect their property from the damage caused by water.

Choosing the Right Service

When it comes to choosing a water damage restoration company, there are several factors to consider. Here are some essential aspects to look for when selecting the right service.

Emergency Response and Availability

One of the most important things to consider when choosing a water damage restoration company is their emergency response time and availability. A reliable company should be available 24/7 to respond to emergencies promptly. They should have a quick response time and be able to arrive at the site within an hour of being contacted.

Customer Support and Communication

Another crucial factor to consider is the quality of customer support and communication. A good company should have excellent customer service and be able to communicate effectively with their clients. They should be able to provide regular updates on the progress of the restoration work and be available to answer any questions or concerns that the client may have.

Comparing Quotes and Overall Cost

It is also important to compare quotes from different restoration companies and consider the overall cost of the service. However, it is essential to note that the cheapest option may not always be the best. A company that offers a significantly lower price may not provide the same level of quality service as a more expensive one. It is essential to consider the reputation and experience of the company, as well as the quality of their work, when making a decision.

What is the best water damage mitigation?

The most effective water damage mitigation follows these best practices:

  1. Rapid Response – Acting quickly to start water extraction and drying out wet materials within 24-48 hours is crucial to minimize damage and prevent mold growth. This may involve removing standing water with pumps and vacuums.
  2. Structural Drying – Using commercial dehumidifiers and drying equipment like air movers and fans to fully dry out soaked structural materials like drywall and wood framing down to normal moisture levels.
  3. Monitoring and Control – Checking moisture content with moisture meters throughout the drying process until all affected materials have reached the target dry moisture levels for that material.
  4. Manage Humidity Levels – Controlling indoor humidity through dehumidification is key to proper structural drying and inhibiting mold growth which thrives on moisture.
  5. Surface Cleaning – Disinfecting and sanitizing contaminated flood water sites, then cleaning surface finishes like floors and walls to restore appearance and usability.
  6. Rebuild/Replace – Removing and replacing porous finishes like soaked carpets, insulation, or fragmented drywall that remain damp and cannot be fully dried out.

Following IICRC water damage restoration standards using commercial drying equipment and proper moisture testing ensures affected materials are completely dried out to prevent further issues. This comprehensive mitigation limits damage and inhibits mold growth allowing rebuilding efforts.

Conclusion

When choosing a water damage restoration company, it is essential to consider their emergency response time, customer service, and overall cost. By taking these factors into account, clients can make an informed decision and select a company that can provide high-quality restoration services.

How long does it last water damage clean up

The timeline for water damage cleanup and restoration can vary greatly depending on factors like:

  • Extent of Damage – Was it a small leak or a major flooding event? How much needs cleaning, drying, replacing? More extensive damage takes longer to repair.
  • Type of Water – Clean or dirty/contaminated? Category 3 black water may require extensive sanitizing and decontaminating first.
  • Drying Conditions – Time of year and ambient temperature/humidity levels impact drying times with standard equipment. Cool & wet weather delays drying.
  • Surfaces Impacted – Porous materials like carpets and drywall hold more water and take longer to thoroughly dry as moisture can be trapped in materials.
  • Scheduling Contractors – If rebuilding finishes like drywall or flooring, you must secure contractor schedules which delays timelines.

While every scenario is different, typical water damage restoration timelines are:

  • Small leak cleanup – 1-3 days
  • Minor flood cleanup – 3-5 days
  • Major flood restoration – Could take weeks; even months for large-scale water damage needing extensive repairs.

A company giving an estimate should assess all factors to provide expected timeframes for various project stages and bringing the property fully back to pre-loss condition. Watch for lingering moisture or secondary damage even after initial cleaning.

Can water fire damage be restored?

Yes, it is often possible to restore a property that has suffered both water and fire damage, though it can be challenging. Here are some key points on restoring water and fire damaged buildings:

  • Sequence Matters – With both water and fire on a structure, the restoration process begins with fire remediation if that area is dried out. If still wet from fire suppressing water, drying starts first.
  • Drying Takes Priority – Whether wet from water pipes or fire hoses, thoroughly drying out the building with dehumidifiers and drying equipment is the critical first step before repairs.
  • Mold Prevention – With water and moisture, mold growth is a high risk during the restoration process and steps must be taken to prevent it taking hold while drying out the structure.
  • Cleaning Smoke/Soot – Specialty surface cleaning solutions as well as ozone treatments help eliminate smoke smells and clean fire-related soot once dried out.
  • Assessment for Rebuild – Structural stability and integrity evaluations will determine if a fire-damaged building is suitable for repair and restoration or needs extensive tear down/rebuild work.
  • Additional Restoration – Typical water damage restoration for flooded areas takes place once clean and dry. May involve replacing water-soaked surfaces.

With the right restoration team, expertise and drying equipment, many water and fire damage properties can be restored to like-new condition. Critical structural or integrity damage may necessitate extensive repairs or total demolition though.

Does water restoration damage companies have sub-contractors?

Yes, most water damage restoration companies use both in-house technicians as well as networks of trusted subcontractors to complete all the necessary services involved in water damage repair and restoration projects.

There are several reasons water damage restoration companies maintain relationships with and utilize qualified subcontractors:

  • Specialized Services – Subcontractors allow restoration firms to access niche services like professional mold remediation, structural drying, contents cleaning/restoration, or demolition/construction services.
  • Staffing Flexibility – Being able to outsource to subcontractors gives companies the flexibility to scale technician staff up or down as project volumes fluctuate.
  • Geographic Coverage – Subcontractors enhance coverage capabilities and allow companies to take on multiple concurrent jobs across a wider service area.
  • Cost Efficiency – Carefully vetted subcontractors often have lower operating costs that allow restoration firms to complete jobs more competitively.

Reputable water damage firms thoroughly qualify any subcontractors in their network, ensuring they meet stringent quality standards, are fully certified/insured, and share the high level of customer service. Established relationships with subcontractors allow these firms to tackle the wide variety of services any water loss may demand.

Can you sue water restoration damage company?

Yes, it is possible to sue a water damage restoration company if you believe they did not properly fulfill their contractual services or caused additional harm through negligence. Some common grounds to potentially sue a water damage restoration contractor include:

  • Failure to prevent mold growth – If undisclosed moisture and improper drying leads to a mold outbreak, they may be liable for remediation and health issues.
  • Damage to belongings – Improper handling of cleaning or moving contents could result in broken or lost items.
  • Structural damage – Using overly-dry equipment settings or aggressive demolition techniques can damage drywall, floors and framing.
  • Slip and fall accidents – Failure to properly ventilate and dry floors or leaks from old pipes can cause slippery areas.
  • Scope of work issues – Not fully performing promised services detailed in a signed work order or estimate.
  • Billing disputes – Overcharging for non-rendered services, excessive up-charges, or invalid change orders.

To have a case, you would need proof of a binding agreement or contract, documentation of the issues and failures to address them, and evidence clearly linking this negligence to incurred financial damages. Most states allow damages up to 2-3 times actual costs. Consulting an attorney is advisable before beginning legal proceedings.

Are water restoration companies insured?

Yes, reputable water damage restoration companies carry insurance coverage to protect both their business and clients when performing water mitigation and repair services. Common insurance policies held include:

  • General Liability Insurance – Covers property damage and bodily injuries caused by the restoration company while on a job site. Protects if their work results in damage or accidents.
  • Pollution Liability – Important policy after sewage back-ups or flooding. Covers improper containment and cleaning of contaminated water resulting in later mold/bacteria outbreaks.
  • Commercial Auto Insurance – Covers vehicle liability and damage of company trucks used to transport equipment and workers to job sites.
  • Workers Compensation – Provides coverage if technicians are injured while performing restoration work at a client’s property.
  • Project Specific Insurance – Some firms take out additional policies when extensive reconstruction work is required, adding clients as additional insured.

Reputable companies will also require any subcontractors they partner with to hold adequate general liability and specialty insurance policies. Asking for insurance documentation is an important step before signing any water loss mitigation or repair contract. Ensures there is coverage for clients if additional damages occur. Most carry at least $1 million per occurrence limits.

How to recognize bad water restoration company?

Here are some red flags to recognize a potentially shady or bad water damage restoration company:

  • No Licensed Technicians – They lack accredited technicians certified in water damage categories and proper drying techniques.
  • Vague Pricing – They refuse to provide clear, itemized pricing upfront for different services and rely on vague “industry standards”.
  • High Pressure Sales – Use intimidating scare tactics pushing immediate decisions before insurance claim details are clear.
  • Mold Issues Downplayed – They assert mold isn’t an issue without proper moisture testing or push encapsulation over remediation.
  • Lack Proper Equipment – Minimal specialty drying equipment that may fail to fully dry out flooded building materials and spaces.
  • No Meaningful Warranties – Don’t stand behind their work or provide warranties covering mold outbreaks or recurring water damage.
  • Can’t Verify Licensing – Unable or unwilling to provide official license documentation, insurance certificates, or references upon request.
  • Unavailable After Job – Difficult to reach/unresponsive after finishing initial water removal work regarding lingering moisture or unaddressed issues.

The best practice is thoroughly vet any company before signing contracts. Reputable firms focus on complete water removal and drying, preventing further building damage, and transparent customer service. Trust your instincts if something seems questionable.

Can a house sink after flooding?

Yes, it is possible for a house to sink or settle unevenly after extensive flooding due to several factors:

  • Soil Saturation – Flooding causes soils around and underneath foundations to become completely saturated. This softens load-bearing soils causing them to compact and layers to slough off.
  • Erosion & Voids – Flowing flood waters erode soils, scouring away at the ground supporting foundations which then settle into these voids and depressions in the soil.
  • Basement Structures – If basements flood extensively the extra weight of waterlogged contents and drywall/insulation materials being removed later allows greater structure settlement.
  • Increased Loads – Debris deposits left by flood waters resting against or burying portions of the home’s foundation can create unbalanced foundation loads as the soils below give way.
  • Shifting Foundations – With soils washed away or turned soft, sections of the foundation walls can crack, lean, sink, and destabilize from uneven loads above.

The potential for uneven, differential home settlement after a flood means every foundation should be inspected by a structural engineer once flood waters recede. They can assess damage and risk of future shifting and recommend remediation from simple foundation piers to full home raising/leveling. Catching unstable foundations early is key.

What are all ways a property can suffer water damage?

There are many potential causes of water damage to a property. Some of the most common ways a property can suffer water damage include:

  • Plumbing leaks – Failures in supply lines, pipes, fixtures, appliances, etc. allowing water to leak and flood contained areas.
  • Roof leaks – Cracks, aging, and storm damage to roofing materials leading to water intrusion from precipitation into attics, walls, etc.
  • Basement flooding – Groundwater seepage during heavy rains or snowmelts, as well as overflowing drains/sump pumps flooding lower levels.
  • Flash floods – Heavy storms overwhelming drainage leading to rushing exterior flood waters into buildings.
  • Sewage backflows – Blockages and municipal sewer line backups pushing contaminated water up through drains into buildings.
  • Fire suppression flooding – Water used to fight fires can lead to extensive collateral water damage from hoses and sprinklers.
  • Bathtub/sink overflows – Blocked drains or taps left running overflow containments and leak water into surrounding areas.
  • Appliance failures – Issues with water heaters, dishwashers, washing machines, and icemakers can lead to equipment water leaks.

Any water intrusion event, big or small, that exceeds a structure’s design to repel and control water can lead to damage of finishes and vulnerable materials. Proper mitigation upon discovery is key.