If there is one household disaster that can do a serious amount of damage, it’s water damage. The problem with water is that it can spread and penetrate into various materials, which is what makes it so difficult, time-consuming and costly to deal with effectively. The issue is that whether it’s caused by a burst pipe, bad weather, or a leaking water tank, water damage within your home can lead to various structural problems if it is not dealt with properly.
The time frame for dealing with these kinds of issues is 24 to 48 hours, after this time, secondary problems linked to the flooding that has occurred, such as the growth of mold or mildew, can begin to set in. There is various types of water damage, not just one set type, which is why the cost of water damage restoration can vary so significantly.
What are the dangers of water damage?
While a burst water pipe or household flood caused by bad weather might seem like a small inconvenience and nothing to worry about, that actually is not the case. In addition to causing water damage to the area that the flooding has occurred in, there is also the potential for other, more serious problems to occur as a result of the flooding. Wondering what these problems are and why they are important?
Water damage may lead to the following issues occurring:
- An electrical fire occurring due to water making contact with electrical outlets or sources.
- The growth of mold or mildew on hard and soft surfaces within your home.
- The rotting of wood due to water absorption.
- Water staining caused by seeping water.
- The spread of contaminated water containing pathogens like raw sewage.
- Odors caused by stagnant water or mold or mildew.
- The onset of rising damp.
These types of problems tend to be far more complicated to manage and treat than the issue of flooding, which is why it’s so important that water leaks are dealt with as soon as possible to help minimize the damage and prevent these issues from occurring and causing further problems and costs.
What impacts the cost of water damage restoration?
The average cost of drying out a home from a ‘clean water’ leak is around $2,700, whereas the cost of drying out a property from a more serious leak that has penetrated walls and flooring is around $7,500.
Water damage is ranked and classified via a specific chart system. How water damage is classified is outlined below:
- Category 1 Water Damage: This is when the water comes from a sanitary water source that is safe for human consumption. This type of water does not pose a threat to human health – sources include sprinkler systems, broken water supply lines, and natural sources such as rainwater.
- Category 2 Water Damage: This level of water damage is where the water has been significantly contaminated and has the potential to cause illness if people come into contact with it. This type of water damage contains matter such as urine, detergents, and other dangerous substances. This is called ‘gray water’.
- Category 3 Water Damage: This is when the water is ‘grossly contaminated’ and contains both harmful pathological and toxigenic agents. This is called ‘black water’ and raw sewage is the common cause of this type of contamination.
These categories are then further categorized into classes, which determines how intrusive the water has been to the area that has been exposed to it.
- Class 1: Where a small amount of water has covered materials that are low in porosity. After the water is removed, this type of water damage requires minimal levels of evaporation. An example would be a burst water pipe onto a sealed concrete floor, for instance.
- Class 2: This is where a larger amount of water has been discharged and the exposed materials have a high porosity. This means that there is a greater absorption of water into the houses’ materials and water damage process becomes longer as not only does the water need to be removed but there is a lengthened drying time.
- Class 3: This is where a large amount of water is absorbed by a highly porous material, resulting in the need for the highest rate of evaporation necessary to ensure that the water restoration process is successful.
- Class 4: This is when water penetrates and is trapped by building materials, which makes the restoration process extremely difficult, expensive and time-consuming.
While most water restoration experts have a set cost per square foot for dealing with water damage, there are various other factors that can also impact the cost of having water restoration performed on your home.
The first factor that impacts cost is the type of water. Clean water that does not contain contaminants is the easiest type of water damage to deal with and the least costly. This usually costs around $4.25 per square foot. Whereas, ‘gray water’ or water that has leaked from an appliance, such as a washing machine or dishwasher and contains chemicals is also more expensive to deal with. This type of water cleanup and removal normally costs around $5.25 per square foot. While ‘black water’ is the most expensive water damage to clean up and tends to cost around $7 per square foot.
As well as taking into account the water type that has leaked, the amount of damage that has occurred and the types of materials that have been impacted also have to be taken into account. For instance, if the damage is only moisture that has occurred, removing the water and drying out your home will be quicker, easier and less expensive to do. However, if there is deeper damage, such as problems with your drywall, for instance, then restoring your home to its pre-water damaged state will cost more. Different types of damage cost different amounts to deal with, which is why talking to your water restoration expert about pricing beforehand is crucial.
The size of the area that has been damaged by water is also a factor to take into account; the larger the size of the damaged area, the more expensive it will be to fix. For instance, a smaller area of around 100 square foot, usually costs around $250 to fix. Whereas, an entire basement that is filled with flood water or water that’s more than one inch in depth will cost around $4,500 to clean up.
Always ask for an estimate
While you need to act quickly when it comes to dealing with water restoration, what you don’t want to do is rush into accepting work from a water restoration team that will charge you over the odds for the work that needs doing. It’s important to stay calm and keep a level head, to ensure that you get offered a good price for the work that you require doing.
Always ask for a written estimate before you agree to any work being completed. Having a written estimate is important because that way you have written evidence of what was offered for the price that you were quoted, which means that you can more easily query things should the price change or the work that you were expecting to be completed in not completed to the standard that you expected.
How do companies tend to charge?
When it comes to pricing for water damage restoration, it’s important to bear in mind that like with any quote, every company charges differently. There’s no set way that a company should charge for this kind of work, it depends on what their rates are. Bearing that in mind, it’s useful to see their rate card before inviting them to come and inspect the water damage in your home, to ensure that you are getting a competitive rate.
Most companies set their prices based on per square foot, with different categories of cost depending on whether it’s clean water, gray water or black water, as discussed above. Usually, the initial costs that quotes refer to the clean up of the standing water and the drying process. However, they don’t usually refer to dealing with any resulting problems from the water damage. For this reason, it might be wise to inquire about the cost of these services, so that you have an idea of how much it will cost you to have any water damage-related problems dealt with, should you need to do so.
Usually, how it works is that after the initial cleanup process, further costs are set on a case by case basis, with different prices for different levels of work. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an idea of what this kind of work would cost beforehand, because that is not the case. The price relates to how deep into your home the water has penetrated, what areas of your home it has impacted, such as your electrics, for instance, and how much work is required to remedy the situation and return your home to its former pre-flooded state.
What additional costs are there to consider?
While your insurance company should cover the cost of your water damage, providing that you have water damage included in your home’s insurance policy (check with your policy provider to be certain of this). However, there are other areas of the cleanup process that may not be covered by your insurance policy, and it’s important to realize that. You may also find that your insurance policy comes with an excess that needs to be paid prior to any work being covered by your insurance provider, so you might want to find out how much that excess amount is and when it needs to be paid.
Then there’s the cost of any spreading damage. Your insurance policy might cover the initial damage and a set amount of work, but it might not cover further problems. For instance, you may get mold in the affected area which your insurance policy will cover the cost of treating. However, if that mold manages to spread to other areas of your home, they may not be willing to cover the cost of dealing with that.
It’s a good idea to get a written copy of what your insurance provider will and won’t be happy to cover the cost of, to ensure that you know how much money there is available to you, to deal with your home’s flooding and the required restoration process required to repair the water damage and ensure that your home is restored to its previous state.
For more information about homeowners insurance covering water damage, click here.