The All-Inclusive Guide: Water Damage Restoration Cost (How its Done!)
Water is life. We wouldn’t be able to function without it. We cannot picture our world without it. However, this blessing can turn into a nightmare sometimes when an excess of water causes damage to our property. Real estate is also integral in modern life and damage to our property can have serious repercussions on your quality of life. Water damage is an unfortunate reality of life and the restoration costs after water damage can rise to unexpectedly high numbers which may or may not break your bank but it is bound to put a dent into it. In this article, we discuss the exact nature of water damage and its causes. In addition to this, we will dive into some detail about the various factors that affect the extent of damage in the unfortunate event water damage happens to your property. Finally, we will share some details on how to find the best price for your water damage restoration and the steps you could take to reduce the costs. We hope you will find this piece worth your time and its always better to be prepared than to panic at the unfortunate moment.
What is Water Damage?
Water damage is any type of damage to your property with water being the express reason behind it. It could be as simple as a leak or water seeping through your walls. It could also be a natural disaster or a catastrophic calamity like a flood, a thunderstorm or a tsunami in the worst cases. Whatever the reason, water can easily cause irreversible damage to your property if proper measures are not taken quickly to avoid lasting damage. Most of the times the damage can be
minimized and prevented from spreading by taking some quick precautions like dealing with the source of water damage and then taking care of the actual damage. Such precautions can greatly reduce your eventual costs of restoration. Frequent maintenance is also one simple way to prevent major damage. However, one thing everyone agrees on is the fact that cost will rise dramatically if cleanup and restoration activities are delayed. The delays could inevitably
happen for a variety of reasons but serious effort should be made to prevent the costs of cleanup, repair and restoration from getting out of hand.
Dangers of water damage
The dangers of water damage are serious. A simple leak may seem inconsequential and you can easily convince yourself to postpone the minor repairs. This is more common than you can imagine and often undesired consequence is the situation escalating manifold in a short amount of time. Water damage can lead to and is not limited to causing mold on any kind of surface due to prolonged exposure to moisture. It can speed up the rusting of metals like iron and also accelerate rotting of wood and other organic materials. In extreme cases, water damage can also lead to a fire if it comes in contact with electrical circuitry causing a short circuit. Finally, a major health scare is the formation and proliferation of disease-causing bacteria and other microorganisms. This can take a long time to clean up and can give rise to potential health hazards for the entire community.
Major causes of water damage
Water damage can happen for a variety of reasons. Some of these can be obvious and most of us can relate to them. However, some of the reasons are unexpected and unforeseen circumstances can force us into a peculiar situation causing major water damage to our property. The most common reason for water damage is unsurprisingly a leak in a pipe or a water tank. A burst pipe is also a common reason. An overflowing tank can go by undetected and stagnant water can cause major damage to the walls, roofs, floors and ceilings. This could easily be prevented by a roof with adequate slope to let water run off or installing larger drainage pipes to ensure excess rainwater also washes off quickly.
Some of the unforeseen events that can cause water damage are natural disasters. Hurricanes on the US east coast cause major damage every year to hundreds of properties in major urban centers. Another recent calamity was the tsunamis in the Indian Ocean which caused major damage in the South Asian and South East Asian coastal regions. The damage due to such natural disasters can often be irreparable and can seriously affect the lives of people living in these regions. Often, people temporarily relocate to different regions in anticipation of an annual flood and then return to their homes doing the annual restoration work so life can continue. This is a testimony to the resilience and grit of the human civilization but also demonstrates the extremes of the painful realities of life caused by major water damage.
What are the different Categories of Water Damage?
The water damage differs with the type of water causing the damage. The standard practice is to divide these into three major categories according to the type of health hazard they pose. The categories are simply called Category 1, category 2 and Category 3.
Category 1 is the clean water causing the damage. This type of water causes no significant health risk immediately. However, if it is allowed to remain and becomes stagnant for a long period, it is more likely to get contaminated and it transforms into the other two categories. Out of the three categories, if the extent of water damage is relatively similar, Category 1 water damage is the least expensive when cleanup and restoration costs are considered.
Category 2 refers to grey water which is a rather ambiguous name. The grey basically refers to its possible contaminants which can be chemical, biological or physical in nature. These substances and organisms may pose a slight to medium health risk and mild safety precautions are necessary to avoid endangering the cleanup and restoration personnel. Some companies would employ the safety measures regardless of making the costs of Category 1 and Category 2 clean up and restoration almost the same. However, in general, the cost of Category 2 damage cleanup is higher than Category 1.
Category 3 refers to black water. As the name suggests, this type of water is heavily contaminated and is unsanitary to the level that it poses significant health risks. This type of cleanup and restoration requires extensive safety precautions and can cost extra for the specialized equipment and labor that needs to be employed to tackle this tricky activity. Often, the cost can increase manifold if the restoration professionals get sick at your property since most law puts the responsibility on the contractor who can then charge you an unfairly high amount to compensate for their loss of profit. Insurance cover can come in handy at this time but it also means paying the extra premium. It is usually best to get comprehensive insurance coverage to minimize the potential risk in terms of cost.
Factors Affecting the Extent of Water Damage
There are multiple factors the effect the extent of water damage and we will attempt to briefly discuss most of them below.
1. Source of Water Damage
The source of water can largely help gather an initial estimate of the costs of restoration. The final cost may vary from this initial estimate but it will give a general idea. A simple example is to consider a leak. It is always easier and less costly to replace a pipe or a section of pipe than to replace your water heating mechanism. Rebuilding or replacing a tank will also likely cost more but the time commitments will be straightforward and the repair process should be quick. If the source of water damage is a natural disaster, then you’re left with no choice but to go for a major renovation which may involve demolishing and rebuilding the structure anew in some cases.
2. Quantity of Water
This is another obvious and easily understood factor affecting the water damage. The quantity or amount of water causing damage can be a quick determinant of the final costs. Fixing a small leak will always be inexpensive compared to a large one. However, it should be used as a rule of thumb only and not proof that small amounts of water must lead to inexpensive repairs. A simple counterexample for this would be a small leak that seeps and spreads into the section of walls or ceilings. If ignored, it can eventually cause major reconstruction work which can be very costly. So, a thorough professional analysis and check is essential to quantify the actual costs and there’s no way around this fact.
3. Size of Affected Area
The costs of water damage cleanup and restoration are in direct correlation with the size of the area to be repaired. A tsunami-hit or flooded house will be obviously more expensive to repair than an overflown water tank or a toilet flooding due to a burst drainage pipe. Significant repair costs may be added here depending on the category of water that affects the area.
4. How Long the Premises was Exposed to Water?
As mentioned earlier as well, we’ll reiterate this important point again. The longer water is allowed to stay in a given space, the greater the damage caused. Some materials may only need drying and they would be good to go if they were left for a couple of hours maximum. However, the same materials will incur serious damage and pose serious health risks if they had been left for a couple of days. They may need to be replaced completely in such cases.
5. Type of Materials Involved
Homeowners typically put their heart and soul into their homes. For many people, this means the best quality materials were used in construction and in the unfortunate event of water damage, the replacement costs can be similarly high. The materials involved will have a direct impact on the cost of repairs.
6. Accessibility – Difficulty to reach some areas
Certain spaces are more difficult to reach than other areas on the property which are easily accessible. This makes such difficult to reach areas more difficult to clean and repair and this can add to the eventual final cost. The labor can simply take longer for cleanup and if they’re paid by the clock, the homeowner cannot legitimately complain because of their own house features. A simple comparison should make it clear. A wall is much easier to clean than a cramped attic. The worker will have difficulty reaching some areas in the attic or a crawlspace than simply going for the cleanup in a spacious room.
7. Is Mold Removal Needed?
Mold can form on all kinds of surfaces if water or moisture is left to stay in an area. Cleaning mold can be a daunting and expensive undertaking. If mold removal is necessary, the category of water and the time the water sat can be major contributors to costs of cleaning it up. Mold removal is almost always necessary but you may be able to save cost if you can do it yourself. The only times you should consider this is when it doesn’t pose a significant health risk or the amount of mold is minimal. Always use safety precautions when cleaning up mold yourself.
8. Reconstruction Necessary or Not?
This is the last item on this non-exhaustive list and it’s a fairly obvious one. If many of the above factors combine to add to the costs of repair, it might be a good idea to consider the reconstruction of the space altogether. This can be less costly in some cases and may be completed in a significantly shorter time span compared to replacing individual components. It also gives you an opportunity to redesign your space which can be a breath of fresh air in a perilous time like this.
How to find the best price?
1.Enhancement and Improvement Costs
The primary question post water damage is the cost of cleanup and restoration. Another very important question to ask at this time is whether it’s better to repair or replace. While you are expected to worry about the cost of water mitigation, the damage usually worsens if you delay the necessary cleanup and restoration activities. The cost of water damage cleanup and restoration directly depends on the factors affecting the water damage in the first place. The 8 major factors that we discussed above are not the only ones that contractors will consider but they form the largest subset of the common considerations to determine the cost of repairs.
2. What to do when the damage is already done?
Many patrons understandably panic after a water damage event takes place. In this panic, they may turn to internet or some other source of information to get a repairer who is promising a very low cost of repair. As a rule of thumb, your
restoration contractor should never give you a quotation on the phone without actually visiting the site. This is a big red flag as its nearly impossible to determine the actual cost let alone give a reasonable estimate without actually
visiting the site of repair, your premises. Beware of scams and prevent another tragedy by being prudent in this tough time and it will save you energy and money.
3. How much does it cost? Price by category of water damage
The average costs of repair in the United States is around $2,700. The low-end repairs can cost as low as $400 whereas high-end repairs can exceed large figures of $8,000++.
There are two major costs involved during the restoration process.
The first one is cleanup. The general market rates for cleanup in the United States are $3.75 per square foot for Category 1 Clean Water. For Category 2 Gray Water, the cleaning cost rises to $4.50 per square foot. Category 3 Black Water is the most expensive to clean up at $7.00 per square foot.
The second major cost is the restoration. Now, this could mean repair, renovation or altogether reconstruction. Repair and renovations usually cost less than reconstruction projects but if there are too many repairs and renovations, their individual costs may add up. In such cases, it might be a better idea to go for a complete rehaul which often means demolition and reconstruction of the new space. Again, your contractor can give you a professional opinion and possible options to help make a decision for the restoration of your premises.
4. Location of Repair Contractor
This is a common misconception that repair contractors in your neighborhood should offer the best rates for your repair. This is however not true since the large costs involved mean contractors from a place far away would also be happy to come and do a survey. You may end up securing a bargain deal for better professional solutions than those present in your area. Its always better to research but don’t forget; do it quickly as the costs are rising as time passes.
5. Insurance will cover what amount
This point only applies if you actually had insurance for your home. If yes, it might be a good idea to give your insurance company a call and get their panel contractors to come and value the repair costs for your premises. Some insurance companies will even do this for free if this is included as part of a comprehensive coverage.
Insurance companies are willing to take more risks to secure business and it can work towards your advantage. Either way, having insurance will ensure you pay less overall than what you would pay without insurance. If you do decide to go for insurance, its always a better idea to go for comprehensive and complete coverage.
Take These Steps Once Water Damage has Happened and It Will Reduce The Bill
There are a number of precautionary measures you can take once you have sought help and waiting for a restoration professional to come and ascertain the extent of damage and determine the costs of cleanup and repair. We will list a few of them which will need your immediate attention:
1.Secure Children, Family and Pets: Depending on the category of water damage, it could pose a significant and direct health risk to your family. With a large cost of restoration already looming, you should give your family foremost attention and get them to safety and save on possible medical costs.
2. Turn Off Electricity: Depending on the level of water, it might be a good idea to completely shut down the power of your premises. If water gets close to electrical outlets, it can cause a short circuit and may cause a fire. Electrocution is also a serious danger so you should wear some kind of insulation while you attempt to cut the power.
3. Move Your Possessions: Water damage can escalate quickly and it can cover a lot of valuable stuff in your home in no time. Pay special attention to items which are important like the first aid kit. Secondary attention can be given to items of sentimental value like family heirlooms, works of art, souvenirs, decoration items and keepsakes. As a rule of thumb, go for essentials over valuables unless a single valuable item is very important to you. Even in that case,
always remember there is nothing more important than your life and any material possession is secondary when it comes to your life.
4. Take Down Draperies: If you have curtains or draperies, you should consider taking them down and move them to a dry space to prevent damage. An electrical fire can be easily proliferated by such items.
5. Bail Out the Water: After ensuring your safety, makes every effort to limit the extent of water damage. Use a mop, tub or a bucket remove as much water as possible.
You should act quickly to start water damage if you want to save significant costs later on. The longer you delay, the higher the chances that the cost of restoration will go up.
Water damage can incur significant costs and may directly pose a health hazard as well. However, an important point to note is that every water damage event is unique and that has a direct impact on the price of cleanup and restoration. Always remember to act quickly to inform water damage professionals. It may also be a good idea to inform rescue service so they may come to your aid. Finally, make sure you have taken adequate safety precautions. A water damage event can be catastrophic but its not the end of the world. Professional help is always available and you just have to be proactive and determined to get through the process. The cost can be high but they are a necessary expense so you should not focus on the cost but on how to reduce it and get the best deal out of the unfortunate situation.
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