Water damage can be caused by a variety of things. This includes roof leaks, pipe leaks, pipe ruptures, gutter failures, sewer backups, and flooding caused by severe weather storm damage, just to name a few.

The severity of the water damage will strongly influence the type of water extraction techniques needed to dry the site. It will also factor heavily in the type of material extraction, repair, and mold remediation methods that need to be implemented before the site can be deemed safe for human occupancy.

The severity of the water damage and the restoration services performed might also play a factor with the insurance provider. Some home and property insurance policies require specific measures based on the severity of the water damage. If these measures are not carried out to specific codes and standards it can void the policy or lead to serious liability issues later on.

There are three different categories of water damage, as well as four different classes of water damage. This can get a little bit confusing, so it helps to take a closer look at how water damage is professionally defined.

What Are The Three Categories Of Water Damage?

Water damage categories are largely defined by the type of water that has invaded the area. This includes the sanitary or potential pathogenic degree of the water source, as well as materials the water may have passed through along the way.

Category 1

This is water damage caused by water that originated from a sanitary source, and tends to be the easiest to clean up and remediate. It includes things like flooding caused by rain and severe weather as well as broken fresh water supply lines. Things like a leaky toilet tank, a faucet, or a failed water heater, might also be considered a sanitary source. Though category 1 water damage that isn’t cleaned up and dried promptly, could change the classification. Especially if that previously sanitary water picks up chemical or biological contaminants.

Category 2

This is water damage that is caused by water that has been contaminated in some way, and could cause discomfort or illness if ingested. This includes forms of gray water such as a washing machine overflow, a toilet overflow with urine, or a dishwasher overflow. Category 2 water damage typically contains some levels of unsafe microorganisms or the high potential for the growth of microorganisms.

Category 3

This is water damage that is caused by “Black Water.” Most often this refers to things like a sewer backup or a leak from a sewer line that caused black water to invade the building. The pathogenic risk is high as is the risk for contamination and microbial growth. Category 3 water damage can be very hazardous to try to clean up without professional assistance. It also tends to have the highest scrutiny when it comes to health and safety standards.

What Are The Four Classifications Of Water Damage?

Once you have assessed the type of water that’s caused the damage to the area, you can then further break it down into one of four distinct classifications. Each has its own criteria, which can influence the type of repairs and remediation necessary to make the affected property once again compliant with local safety codes and insurance standards.

Class 1 Water Damage

This is the least severe form of water damage, which also makes it the easiest to deal with. It usually indicates that only a limited portion of the room or area has been affected by water. It’s typically reserved for hard floors without wet carpet or rugs that can be removed and disposed of. Class 1 water damage is typically reserved for incidents where moisture has only affected materials with low permeability such as plywood and concrete. If the amount of water that needs to be removed is minor class 1 water damage might be handled without professional intervention.

Class 2 Water Damage

This is one modest step up from Class 1 in that the water event affects an entire room and typically saturates permanently installed carpet and underlayment padding. Class 2 flooding is limited to water that is 12-inches deep or less, though it can still present the opportunity for lasting damage to the structure of the building.

Class 3 Water Damage

This indicates materials that have a fast absorption rate. Class 3 water damage often includes water damage that affects multiple structural components such as ceilings, walls, insulation, carpet, as well as sub-floors. The fluid may have come from overhead, such as from a pipe rupture in a fire sprinkler system or it has saturated through the walls to cause flooding in the room that

Class 4 Water Damage

This is the most severe form and typically indicates that wet materials with lower permeance such as hardwood, plaster, and concrete have been deeply saturated. Thoroughly eliminating moisture in these deeply affected materials can be very difficult. They may need to be treated with low levels of humidity which requires professional equipment. Class 4 water damage typically has much longer drying times and more specialized methods to be remedied. It is also at the highest risk for mold development.

Professional Drying & Mold Prevention

If your home or commercial property has been affected by category 2 or 3 water damage or you have more water in the affected area than you can deal with using mops and wet/dry shop vacs, then time is of the essence. The longer you wait to dry the area and remediate the potential microbial threat, the more likely you are to experience mold problems in the future.

At Affordable Remediation, we have a team of dedicated professionals who are highly trained and experienced at dealing with water damage. Our technicians have access to state-of-the-art professional water extraction and drying equipment to safely remove water and unwanted fluids from the affected site. We can then properly dispose of any compromised materials according to all pertinent local, state, and federal codes.

Afterward, we can assess the severity of the damage to help you understand what measures you will need to restore the property’s like-new appearance. We can also help you develop an effective mold prevention strategy to reduce the risk of indoor mold colonies trying to exploit the property in the future.