What you need to know about water damage.

Water damage can be deceptive.  It can come from any number of sources like a leaky or broken pipe, backed up sewage or flooding. Undetected moisture will continue to cause damage.This damage, at a minimum, will cause odors and mold if not taken care of promptly. Greater damage will surface when materials delaminate, shrink, split and further deteriorate to where costly repairs are required. Water sources causing damage to homes fall into three different categories.  Each category requires a different cleaning protocol.

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3 categories of water damage:                                                                                                                                                                         

  • Cat 1 (clean)- Is not harmful. It is water from a clean or sanitary source like  the kitchen faucet, shower or bathtub.
  • Cat 2 (grey)- This could cause discomfort or illness if ingested. Its source is the dishwasher, washing machine, or toilet (only if small amount of urine present NO feces).
  • Cat 3 (black)-  This could cause serious illness or even death if ingested. It includes but is not limited to toilet water that has feces, sewage, flooding from rivers and streams, and standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.


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There are four different classifications of damage because water can penetrate into structural cavities creating trapped pockets of saturation.. Each classification requires specific equipment to ensure all the moisture has been removed.

 4 classifications of water damage:

  • Class 1 Water Damage – (least amount of water, absorption and evaporation): Water losses that affect only part of a room or area, or larger areas containing materials that have absorbed minimal moisture. Little or no wet carpet and/or cushion are present.
  • Class 2 Water Damage – (large amount of water, absorption and evaporation): Water losses that affect at least an entire room or carpet and cushion(pad). Water has wicked up walls less than 24”. There is moisture remaining in structural materials (e.g., plywood, particleboard, structural wood, concrete).
  • Class 3 Water Damage – (greatest amount of water, absorption and evaporation): Water wicked up over 24″, or water may have come from overhead affecting ceilings, walls, insulation, carpet, cushion and sub-floor. The entire area are saturated.
  • Class 4 Water Damage – (Specialty Drying Situations): These consist of wet materials with very low permeability/porosity (hardwood, plaster, brick, concrete, stone). Typical there are deep pockets of saturation, which requires very low specific humidity.



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Proper clean up is based on the type of water and where the damage occurred. The need to know questions about damage are: 

 Is the flooring and/or ceiling damaged?

Are there any pockets of saturation? If so where are they?

Where is the water line?

To prevent dry rot and on-going structural damage, has the moisture content fallen below 16% in those materials?

If you can not answer these questions you should consider hiring a professional.  A professional restoration company like PRS, has trained technicians, antimicrobial agents, water extraction and drying devices, dehumidifiers, turbo fans and moisture measuring equipment to get the job done properly and within a timely manner. Holding 5 licenses and several certifications in remediation and restoration they have the know-how to handle your water emergency with 24/7, 365 days a year service. Call 727-NO-Water.  For more information about the services Professional Services of Tampa Bay, Inc. can offer you go to www.prs24hr.com .

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