Part 1: The Low-Down About Water Damage, Including Why Water Damage Restoration is Necessary (Some Causes Will Surprise You)

14,000 people in the U.S. experience a water damage emergency at work or home per day.

98% of U.S. basements will experience some form of water damage within their lifespan.

And 250 gallons of water can leak from a one-eighth inch pipe crack in a day.

What we’re trying to say is that water damage is not a rare occurrence.

Since many homes in Colorado do have basements and all have pipes running through the properties, there is a high chance you’ll have to deal with water damage at one point or another.

Look, we don’t want to scare you.

But we do want to inform you about all things water damage, which is why we created this Part 1 and 2 series: The Low-Down About Water Damage, Including Why Water Damage Restoration is Necessary.

What You’ll Get Out of  This Series

We want to give you some tips on how to identify water damage and what to do when you find it. And in addition, how to prevent it and why water damage restoration is important. Because let’s face it, this isn’t a DIY project.

Part 1 discusses the common causes (including some unexpected causes you’ll be surprised by). It also includes the different categories and classes of destruction, so you have a little background in how a restoration company assesses the damage.

Part 2 teaches you how to identify water damage and what prevention strategies you can incorporate to reduce the chances you have to call us! (It’s chalk full of creative and practical ways so take advantage.)

And hopefully, both these parts show you why water damage restoration is necessary because, let’s be frank, being out of a house is not fun.

Common Causes of Water Damage

The truth is, there are many causes—from flash flooding to a bursting pipe, to even your washing machine overflowing.

The most common causes though result from broken pipes and hoses. Pipes in very cold winters may burst because they aren’t receiving enough heat.

Rubber and plastic hoses to the washing machine tear or rupture because they’re in need of replacement and are made of poorer quality materials than their steel counterparts.

Accidents, such as forgetting to turn off an overflowing bathtub or not fixing a toilet, are another cause.

Other causes include sewer backup (tree roots clog and put pressure on drain lines), flash flooding (this is usually due to unexpected downpours), and leaky toilets and faucets.

Some unexpected causes that lead to water damage:

  • Setting organic matter within 8 inches or less of the exterior walls, and not moving it.
  • Piling up organic materials against the exterior walls, and leaving it there for a period of time.
  • Your sprinklers spray directly on the exterior walls every time they go off.
  • Your French drains (if you have them) are not below the highest point of your property.
  • The footing drains near the foundation of your house aren’t properly draining water.
  • The water shutoff valve fails to work when there is an expected leak.
  • Drainage system and gutters clog up or have wear and tear, inadequately getting rid of excess water.
  • Vines are growing on the exterior walls, ripping up and widening wall cracks.
  • Tree branches are closer than 7 feet to your house, clogging gutters and damaging your roof.
  • Vent pipes and roof joints have wear and tear and/or are pulling away from the house.
  • There’s a leak in the attic, which, given its location, spells trouble for the rest of your house below.
  • Soffit intake and ridge vents (responsible for providing ventilation to the roof) clog or suffer from wear and tear.
  • The boiler backs up.
  • The water heater backs up because it's clogged with sediment.
  • Your water shutoff system doesn’t work when there’s a suspected leak.
  • Your sump pump clogs and there isn’t a backup sump pump to drain out water.

That’s kind of a lot.

Categories of Destruction

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to water damage. Instead, there are three categories and four classes.

Category 1

This usually results from faucets, toilet tanks, and drinking fountains. The liquid is clean and fairly sanitary.

However, if the situation isn’t dealt with immediately, mold can grow, escalating the status to Category 2.

Category 2

As implied from the description of Category 1, Category 2 usually stems from an overflowing dishwasher, toilet (only some urine) or washing machine, or sink drains. Originally dubbed “grey water,” the liquid carries some contaminants that, if ingested, may lead to illness or discomfort.

Category 3

This is the most extreme of the categories. How bad? Let’s just say people use the words “black water” for the liquid.

Yep, it’s that unsanitary. In fact, ingesting or using “black water” may cause serious illness or, in some circumstances, even death.

This degree of unsanitariness is the result of a sewage backup, flooding rivers or streams, toilet overflow (with feces), and any stagnant pool of water in the house that's left untreated, which becomes a cesspool of bacteria and mold.

Not good.

Classes of Destruction

Here are the classes of destruction pertaining to water damage.

Class 1

It has the lowest and easiest evaporation rate. The water damage only affects a part of the room. It only impacts materials with a low permeance rate such as plywood and concrete.

Class 2

The evaporation rate is fast. The entire room, carpet and cushioning included, are wet. The walls are too, with at least 12 inches of moisture, affecting the structural materials.

Class 3

This class has the fastest evaporation rate of them all. The ceilings, walls, insulation, carpet, and sub-floors are saturated, as the source of the liquid may come from the overhead (i.e. attic or upstairs leak).

Class 4

This applies to specialty drying situations, where low porous materials (hardwood, brick, and stone) are saturated. These materials require longer drying times and may call for more work to ensure they are completely dry.

Stay tuned for Part 2: The Low-Down About Water Damage, Including Why Water Damage Restoration is Necessary (#5 is really creative and practical)

Questions and comments about water damage and water damage restoration

Also, if you need any advice or have questions or comments about water damage and water damage restoration, contact us—we're happy to help you out!

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