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Water damage restoration is the process of restoring a house to the condition it was in before it was affected by water damage. Water damage often occurs as a result of a flood, pipe burst, or other plumbing problem. There are several steps to restoration including loss assessment and categorization, decontamination and

drying the structure, monitoring things, and finally completion. The IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification) and the RIA (Restoration Industry Association) are the two primary certifying bodies that set the standards for water damage restoration. The organizations put out the S500 guide which serves as the benchmark for professional companies that specialize in water damage restoration.

Loss Evaluation and Categorization

The first step in restoration is to take a loss assessment. This process identifies the source of the water damage and takes stock of all the items that have been damaged. Estimates are then made to determine how to fix the problem and repair the damage. The assessment results in the water damage being given one of the following categories:

  • Category 1 – Water from clean sources such as pipes, toilets or sinks. This water must not contain waste or urine.
  • Category 2 – This water may have some contaminants such as water from a washing machine, dishwasher, or toilet with urine.
  • Category 3 – This water contains waste and is highly unsanitary and contains a serious health risk. Examples include sewage water and floodwater.

Decontamination and Drying

The next step is to begin the decontamination and drying. The drying process will depend on the extent of the damage. Damage of the items will fall into one of the following classes:

  • Class 1 Damage – This is when only a small area or limited number of items are lost. Not much water has been absorbed into materials.
  • Class 2 Damage – The water damage has affected the entire room and carpet area.
  • Class 3 Damage – The entire area is completely saturated.
  • Class 4 Damage – There are still many pockets of deep saturation throughout the damaged area.

Drying and decontamination is an important step once the damage class has been determined. Equipment such as dehumidifiers, blowers, and subfloor drying machines will be used to dry out the water. If contamination has been detected, then decontamination will take place.

Monitoring and Completion

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The final step is water damage restoration is monitoring the process to make sure that you receive the results you desire. This involves frequently checking the drying equipment to ensure it is doing an adequate job and assessing that the professionals are taking the steps needed to get your house back in shape. The final process is considered complete only once the temperature, humidity and moisture content is considered safe per industry standards. The drying equipment can then be removed and the household items be replaced.

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