Water Damage Restoration

The Complete Guide

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    Water Damage RestorationIf you have suffered interior water damage due to a roof leak, pipe leak or some other water source, you landed in the right place.

    This guide is for you.

    In this water damage restoration guide ››

    You're going to learn everything you need to know about:

    • Water damage restoration vs. removal
    • What to do right after water damage
    • How to select a water damage restoration contractor
    • And lots more

    Let's take a closer look at water damage restoration and how RestoreMasters can help you.

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      Water Damage Restoration Basics

      What is Water Damage Restoration?

      Simply put, it's the process of restoring a water damaged property to pre-loss condition.

      On the surface, this sounds fairly simple.

      But the process of actually drying out a property is very complex and can take several days to weeks depending on the size of the affected area and the scope of damage.

      When it comes to water damage restoration, most property owners incorrectly think it's nothing more than surface drying a property, but this is neither accurate nor is it safe.

      Water damage restoration is all encompassing.

      While it may begin with water removal services and extraction...

      It proceeds to drying out of the property with humidifiers and air movers, encompasses contents restoration, materials removal and reconstruction along with mold prevention and/or mold remediation.

      Below, we'll get into much more of the water damage restoration process, what a water damage restoration company does and frequently asked questions about restoring a flooded property to pre-loss condition.

      Standing Water on Roof

      Water Damage Restoration Process

      The water damage restoration process starts with a water removal company.

      Sometimes referred to as "restoration first responders," the removal company arrives on scene to assess the property, contain and prevent further damage, and eventually extract any standing water from it so that the restoration process can begin.

      It's worth noting that while it's not unusual for a water damage removal company to work independently of a water damage restoration company, often the same company will perform both removal and restoration services.

      After water extraction, however, is when the water damage restoration process truly begins. Here's a look at how it typically unfolds:

      1. Additional Water Extraction

      If necessary, the process may consist of using portable extractors to remove any excess water that's soaking carpet, should the carpet be deemed salvageable. In other cases, the carpet may need to be removed and discarded.

      2. Demolition & Debris Removal

      In many cases of water damage, certain building materials (i.e., drywall down to the studs, carpeting, carpet padding, etc.) may need to be removed if it cannot be salvaged. This process normally occurs before drying out of the property takes place, as removing drywall to expose wall cavities and carpeting to expose subflooring can result in a more efficient overall drying process. If it's determined that no structural damage occurred, then restoration companies can typically skip this step and move on to drying out the property.

      3. Final Dry Out

      Next, your contractor will strategically arrange air movers to help dry out the property and position dehumidifiers to remove moisture from the air. With the right drying plan, it's not uncommon for the property to dry out in a matter of just a few days.

      4. Antimicrobial Application

      In some water damage situations, fungal and mold growth may be a concern. Under the right circumstances, it can take as little as 24 hours for mold to begin growing, so whether it's out of caution or out of necessity, a restoration company may deem it necessary to apply antimicrobials to prevent mold growth or destroy existing mold spores.

      5. Contents Restoration

      Though any type of property damage has the potential to ruin certain belongings, contents restoration technologies have advanced to a point today where many items are also salvageable. Usually near the beginning of the restoration process, a contents pack out will occur. This consists of a restoration company removing saveable contents such as textiles, clothes, hard goods, photos, electronics and more, and taking them off site to restore. Not every item can be saved, but many can.

      6. Reconstruction & Build Back

      The final step of the restoration process typically involves moisture testing to verify dryness, and then construction services to build back the building structure that was removed. This could include electrical, plumbing, drywall, finish materials, etc. A full-service restoration company will help you through the entire process.

      Water Damage Restoration Drywall

      Water Removal vs Water Damage Restoration

      What's the difference?

      The main difference between water removal and water damage restoration involves the process.

      As noted, water removal is essentially preventing any further damage from occurring. In other words, it’s what professional restoration contractors do before they get to the restoration step in an effort to contain the amount of loss a property suffers.

      This might include preservation of the property’s structural integrity, removing contents from the property that can be salvaged, and tarping off or containing other areas of the property where water damage could potentially spread.

      Eventually, removal also involves removing water from the property to essentially eliminate the threat of further spread and property damage.

      Extracting water from the property is typically performed using a commercial-grade truck-mounted extractor to remove any standing water. Following this, water is often removed from carpeting or other soft surfaces with portable extractors.

      Learn more about water removal ›

      Water Removal Fan & Dryer

      After removal occurs, water damage restoration begins. This is the process of restoring the property to pre-loss condition.

      The severity of the property damage will largely reflect the amount of restoration that needs to be performed.

      In some cases, setting up air movers and dehumidifiers on the property is enough to adequately dry the property out.

      In other cases, drywall will need to be cut out, carpeting and carpet padding removed, and antimicrobials applied to prevent subsequent mold growth.

      It also often consists of contents restoration to return the likes of a property’s hard and soft goods to pre-loss condition.

      In addition to that, if building materials need to be removed from the property, reconstruction may be required before the property can be returned to its pre-loss condition.

      As you can see, it’s impossible to restore a water-damaged property until it’s properly mitigated, as professional restoration contractors need to know what needs to be done first.

      This cannot be learned until the situation is contained and damage doesn’t risk spreading any more throughout the property.

      What a Water Damage Restoration Company Does

      What does a water restoration company do?

      The main role of a water damage restoration company is to take the necessary steps to return your property to pre-loss condition.

      As we noted in the previous section, the overall water damage restoration process consists of a variety of steps to ensure the property is properly restored and subsequent damage and mold growth does not take place.

      Your restoration company - in conjunction with a team of professionals - will usually work with your property owner's insurance company to help file claims and ensure things go smoothly from start to finish.

      While it is possible for separate companies to handle removal and restoration, it’s often easy for property owners to have one company that does both.

      RestoreMasters, for instance, helps you every step of the way with cleanup, water removal, mold remediation, smoke and fire damage restoration services, roofing, interior and exterior construction.

      Learn More About RestoreMasters

      Water Damage Restoration FAQ

      What should I do if my home or business floods?

      Contact your insurance company to report your flood loss. When reporting a claim, ask about advance payment to help start the recovery. Then contact RestoreMasters to schedule a quick response inspection of your property. Visit the FEMA.gov flood insurance page for more information on what to do after a flood.

      How does water damage occur in a property?

      While water damage is commonly associated with a lower level or basement flood as a result of a hurricane, tornado, heavy rain or other extreme weather situation, it's hardly the only reason why it may occur. For instance, water damage may occur from a busted pipe in a basement or crawlspace. A water-using appliance such as a washing machine, freezer, hot water tank or refrigerator may malfunction. A pipe may leak inside of a wall cavity. A roof might become damaged in a storm, thereby allowing rain water into the attic or upper level of a home. Or a fire may break out in a property and lead to water damage in addition to fire and/or smoke damage. Water damage can happen in a variety of ways. 

      How dangerous is flood water?

      It certainly can be, especially if it mixes with sewage and other contaminants. It’s another reason why you should always leave removal to the professionals. As we noted earlier in this piece, the IICRC defines flood water in three categories: 1, 2 and 3. Category 1 water is clean water, as if it was right out of a faucet. Category 2 water is mostly clean, but likely contains some contaminants. And Category 3 water is highly contaminated water, often containing raw sewage. If you don’t have the necessary PPE to handle hazardous water, you risk becoming very ill. The professionals know how to properly assess water conditions and proceed accordingly. The contaminant level of the water will also likely influence restoration efforts.

      What other hazards should be considered with water damage restoration?

      Sside from any standing water which may be contaminated and dangerous, other hazards that you have to be aware of include asbestos, especially if the property is older. For properties that were built in or before the 70s, there's a greater likelihood that there's asbestos-containing building materials somewhere. In older homes or buildings, certain flooring and even ceiling tiles contain asbestos. It's worth noting that studies show asbestos to be perfectly fine and safe if it's left alone. It's only when it becomes disturbed and the fibers have the potential to be released into the atmosphere does it become dangerous. In a flood situation, there's a greater chance that any asbestos-containing materials become disturbed. If this occurs, asbestos will need to be properly removed or else occupants risk long-term health issues. Lead abatement is another issue that may become problematic in a water damage situation. 

      Can you help restore my belongings with contents restoration?

      Yes. We can help with things like rugs, furniture, electronics, machinery, etc. If it has just endured smoke or water damage, then there's a chance that it can be restored to pre-loss condition. This is largely thanks to the advances in contents cleaning technologies today, as ultrasonic equipment, specialty dry cleaning, hand cleaning and electronics cleaning tools offer great potential to restore hard and soft goods alike. However, if an item has been engulfed in flames, then it will almost always need to be discarded during the contents packout.

      Do professionals follow any industry standards?

      Yes, it’s suggested that companies follow the IICRC S500 Standard for Professional Water Damage Restoration, which also covers identifying the category of water and proper restoration practices. These standards are also approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

      Where can I find information on Disaster Assistance?

      If your area has been hit with a severe event and has received a Presidential Disaster Declaration, you may qualify for assistance. Visit Disasterassistance.gov to find individual assistance. Or the Other Recovery section of the same website for business, community or local government assistance.

      How to Select a Water Damage Restoration Contractor

      Selecting a water water damage restoration company to clean up and restore your property after a disaster is a big decision. These projects are complex and require knowledge of multiple aspects of construction, including: water removal, electrical, plumbing, roofing, remodeling, ground-up construction, insurance assistance, and complex project management.

      Ranked Top 100 Roofing ContractorLook for a restoration contractor with the following qualifications:

      • Is licensed, bonded, and insured
      • Experience working with complex projects that require coordination with multiple different parties
      • Experience managing staged restoration projects that may require parallel demolition and installation
      • Experience working with water, fire, mold damage repairs and restoration
      • Experience working with insurance companies on damage claims

      An experienced water damage restoration contractor can help you restore your property as if the damage had never happened.

      RestoreMasters is one of the nation's top full-service restoration contractors. RestoreMasters has been honored with multiple years on the Inc. 5000 List of America's Fastest Growing Companies and consistently ranks among the Top 100 Roofing Contractors in the nation.

      In addition to water damage restoration, RestoreMasters offers: all types of roofing, roof tarping, loose lay membrane roofing, emergency roofing & repair, water removal, mold remediation, catastrophic damage inspections, property damage documentation, testing & damage reports, fencing & perimeter security, disaster recovery services, permanent roof replacement, interior restoration services. and general contractor services.

      We have a locations across the country to serve you better.

      RestoreMasters Restoration Projects

      RestoreMasters Project Videos

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      Palmetto Plantations - Mexico Beach, FL
      Condos Restoration – Panama City Beach, FL
      Ramsgate Harbour Condos - Total Restoration
      Hurricane Destruction - Water Removal 
      Hurricane Repair - Salphur, LA
      Hurricane Restoration - Pensacola, FL
      Historical Tile Roof Repair - Buffalo, NY
      Hurricane Destruction - Water Removal 

      Water Damage Restoration Resources

      View other resources related to water damage restoration. If you have any specific questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to our team.

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      Do you need restoration help?

      If your property has recently suffered a devastating loss, or if you have old damage the needs repair...

      Contact us for a complimentary property damage assessment ›

      RestoreMasters is an experienced full-service restoration contractor - offering turnkey solutions including roofing, siding, windows & doors, interior restoration, exterior repairs & more. With offices nationwide, we are here to serve you!

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