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Understanding Categories and Classes of Water Damage

Discovering water damage in your home can be stressful, but sometimes it’s not as bad as it may seem. It’s true that all water damage requires restoration, but some cases are a little less severe and require less work to be repaired. When water damage is neglected or isn’t taken care of properly, it can cause irreversible damage to your home’s structure, which is why you should hire a water damage restoration company as soon as you spot any evidence of water damage. It’s also important to understand that there are different classes and categories of water damage, each varying in severity. To learn more about the categories and classifications of water damage and how to identify and address them, keep on reading.
Categories and Classes of Water Damage

Categories of Water Damage

Categories of water damage are mainly defined by the type of water that has caused the damage. The higher the category, the less sanitary the water. If you know the source of your flood, let the water damage crews know. It will help them identify the category of water damage you have, so they can be proceed with best practices.

Category 1 Water Damage: Clean Water

Category 1 water damage refers to water damage that has been caused by water that came from a sanitary source—floods caused by broken water supply lines, a toilet tank, a faucet, or a failed water heater, for example, would fall into this category. While Category 1 water damage is the cleanliest, it can quickly escalate into a Category 2 or 3 situation if it’s left untreated for an extended period of time or comes into contact with any kind of contaminant. To prevent Category 1 water damage from increasing in severity, you should always have it taken care of as soon as possible. In fact, this is a general rule of thumb for any sort of water damage at all.

Category 2 Water Damage: Gray Water

Category 2 water damage includes water that is contaminated in some way, and could cause discomfort or illness if ingested. Grey water can come from instances like a washing machine overflow, a toilet overflow with urine, or a dishwasher overflow. In these cases, the water likely contains unsafe levels of microorganisms and/or a hospitable environment for the growth of microorganisms. Similar to Category 1, these situations can quickly escalate into a Category 3 if not properly taken care of in a timely manner.

Category 3 Water Damage: Black Water

The highest level of water damage, Category 3 refers to damage caused by grossly unsanitary water. Black water contains human and/or animal waste, along with other contaminants that could cause severe illness or even death if ingested. Sources of Category 3 water damage can include sewer backup, flooding from rivers or streams, wind driven rain, water from beyond the toilet trap, and standing water that has begun to support microbial growth. Black water is teeming with disease-causing viruses, and can cause very serious illness or even death if not treated properly.

Classes of Water Damage

Water damage is categorized into four classes, all varying in severity. The more water damage there is, the higher the class. When looking for water damage restoration services, you can use this list to identify which class of water damage you are experiencing on your property.

Class 1

Class 1 water damage is the least severe, and easiest to deal with since it has a slow absorption rate. Only a portion of the room or area has been affected and there is little to no wet carpet to restore. In class 1 cases, moisture has only affected materials with low permeability like plywood or concrete. Water damage restoration services will be needed, but only light repairs will likely be necessary.

Class 2

Class 2 water damage wreaks a little more havoc than class one. The entire room or area is affected, with moisture in the carpeting and/or cushioning. In these cases, wetness has wicked at least 12 inches up the walls, and there is moisture in structural materials—this leaves the opportunity for lasting damage to the structure of the building.

Class 3

Class 3 water damage has the fastest absorption rate, with ceilings, walls, insulation, carpet, and sub-floors all saturated with moisture. The liquid may have come from overhead, and/or it has wicked up the walls over 24 inches.

Class 4

Class 4 water damage means that wet materials with lower permeance like hardwood, plaster, and concrete have deep pockets of saturation. Getting rid of moisture in these materials can prove to be difficult. They may need to be treated with low levels of humidity, and often take longer drying times and more specialized methods to be remedied.

Experienced Water Damage Restoration Service in Toronto

Flood Services Canada specializes in water damage restoration in Toronto. Our professionals make use of the latest and most efficient technologies to help restore your home to its previous condition with as little turnaround time as possible. Regardless of which part your home has flooded, our water damage restoration services will drain, dry, extract, and recover as much as possible to minimize current damage, and prevent the chance of lasting damage. Contact us at (416) 302-2107 to learn more about our services or reach our emergency hotline by calling (416) 999-3930 to get our rapid-response teams deployed to your location.

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Chad Vanvari

Chad Vanvari has over 20 years of experience as a cleaning & restoration professional. He started out in Montreal, establishing a commercial carpet cleaning company in the early 1990’s. By 2001, Chad had relocated to Toronto and now had extensive knowledge and experience in responding to fire/water related emergencies. He has been instrumental in the cleanup of several catastrophic floods. Currently, Chad is the president and owner of Flood Services Canada, a 24/7 emergency service restoration company.