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Water Damage: Classes and Categories

Water Damage: Classes and Categories
11/26/2020
Water damage comes in different classes and categories, which also need different approaches in order to be mitigated the proper way. ServiceMaster of Savannah discusses the common causes.
Residential and commercial properties that have experienced water damage know that it can escalate into a major problem if not attended to immediately. Even a small water leak can cause serious damage to building materials if repair is not performed as soon as possible, so some home or business owners often choose to take the task on their own to remove the water and prevent further damage.

The problem, however, is that improper water extraction can cause more harm than good. Water damage comes in different classes and categories, which also need different approaches in order to be mitigated the proper way. Fortunately, there are restoration specialists, such as ServiceMaster of Savannah, who have the training and equipment to restore the property to pre-disaster condition. To guide home and business owners alike, ServiceMaster of Savannah discusses the common causes, classes and categories of water damage in this article.


What Causes Water Damage?

Water damage can come from many sources. Here are the most common.
  • Broken or leaking pipes. Many factors can cause the bursting or leaking of pipes in homes. Signs of broken or leaking pipes include dripping water, water stains on walls and ceilings, cracked tiles, and a moldy smell. Moisture detection devices can help trace invisible leaks and other damages down the line and prevent further problems from occurring. 
  • Plumbing problems. Plumbing is susceptible to blockages and clogs. A small crack can develop into water damage. Malfunctioning drains, signs of moisture, or cracking and deformation of structural materials may indicate faulty plumbing. Call a licensed plumber to repair the problem and a professional water damage restoration company to restore the affected area.
  • Clogged gutters and drainage systems. Working gutters and drainage systems direct water away from the home. If they become clogged, water can overflow and seepage will occur, causing damage to the foundation or roof leaks. Clean gutters and drainage systems regularly to prevent the accumulation of debris. 
  • Backups or overflows. Sewer backups and water overflows are caused by clogs down the pipeline. Sewer backups can also be caused by brutal storms or tree roots blocking the pipes. If not acted upon right away, these overflows can destroy flooring and carpeting. Have your pipes cleaned regularly and turn off water supply lines in the event of an overflow. 
  • Broken appliances. Malfunctioning or damaged appliances can cause water leaks, which in turn can warp wood or cause mold growth. Refrigerators, washing machines, and dishwashers can undergo wear and tear and can start leaking unless they are regularly maintained. Have appliances checked routinely and replace any item that has become too old or too damaged to use.
  • HVACs. HVAC ducts can wear out and be damaged, leading to water fissure. Regular HVAC maintenance allows professionals to spot minor issues early which decreases the probability of incurring bigger problems or even system breakdown.
  • Basement or attic concerns. Basements or attics can potentially house moisture, which in turn causes mold growth. Have them inspected regularly.
  • Weather or natural concerns. Natural calamities such as flash floods, thunderstorms, and other severe weather phenomena can cause substantial water damage to property. While these occurrences cannot be avoided, steps can be taken to keep the home in good condition.

Other Causes of Water Damage

  • Badly fitted bathroom tiles;
  • Broken or poor fitting shower screens and curtains;
  • Shower trays – broken or badly fitted;
  • Baths – poorly plumbed in or unattended;
  • Poorly maintained sealant around the bath and shower;
  • Poorly maintained or open chimneys;
  • Flashing around the chimney – damaged or poorly installed;
  • Roof tiles – missing or broken;
  • Poorly installed or broken windows;
  • Defrosted fridges and ice machines;
  • Damp proof course – failed or missing;
  • Insufficient or low lying air bricks;
  • Damp proof course – bridged;
  • DIY, i.e. nailing into pipes;
  • Corroded ball valves in toilet cisterns;
  • Insufficient threshold on external doors;
  • Poorly maintained boilers; and
  • Hot water cylinders – poorly maintained.

Categories of Water Damage

ServiceMaster of Savannah is here to discuss the three (3) types of water damage as designated by the IICRC (the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification).

CATEGORY 1: Clean Water 


  • Category 1 water is that which escapes from a clean and sanitary source, such as faucets, toilet tanks and drinking fountains. However, Category 1 can quickly become Category 2 water damage if not dealt with right away. 
CATEGORY 2: Grey Water
  • Grey water is water that is contaminated with chemical, physical, or biological elements or water that travels through another material, such as insulation or drywall, which may cause illnesses.
CATEGORY 3: Blackwater
  • Blackwater contains bacteria, viruses and other pathogens and is grossly unsanitary, causing severe sickness and even death if ingested. Category 3 water can come from sewer backups, flooding from rivers or streams, toilet overflows, and stagnant liquid that has begun to support the growth of bacteria.


Classes of Water Damage

Knowing the class of water damage is significant when assessing options for water damage repair. Here are the four classes of water damage.
  • Class 1 - this is the least harmful form of water damage. It is the easiest to repair since materials absorb only very little of the water.
  • Class 2 - this class of water damage has a fast rate of evaporation, which means that carpets and cushions can be damaged. Class 2 damage can be more difficult to repair than Class 1.
  • Class 3 - water damage with the fastest rate of evaporation. The damage can come from overhead sources such as broken sprinklers, which soak walls and furniture.
  • Class 4 - water damage affecting plaster, hardwood floors and concrete. This class of water damage requires special water extraction procedures.

  • Savannah, GA Most Trusted Water Damage Restoration Company


No matter what the cause, class or category of water damage is, proper mitigation can only be performed by the right professionals. When flooding occurs or a pipe breaks in the walls, ServiceMaster of Savannah can take care of the problems that traditionally occur, such as water damagewater extractiondehumidification, and structural drying. Since 2012, the trusted team of ServiceMaster of Savannah has been providing dependable and highest quality water damage restorationfire damage restorationstorm restorationmold remediation and cleaning services to the residents and business owners of Savannah, Georgia and surrounding areas.

ServiceMaster of Savannah is here in your time of need to restore your peace of mind.  We take pride in our level of service when it comes to drying out your home or business when restoring it. A water damage emergency can be traumatic, and our goal is to get your life back to normal as quickly as possible. We are approved as a preferred insurance vendor and work with many insurance carriers to provide water restoration work.

Contact Savannah, GA Water Damage Company

Contact ServiceMaster of Savannah at 912-244-6966 today to request on-site inspection and assessment.

We serve customers in Brooklet, Clyo, Eden, Ellabell, Fleming, Fort Stewart, Garfield, Guyton, Hinesville, Meldrim, Midway, Pembroke, Pooler, Portal, Register, Riceboro, Richmond Hill, Rincon, Springfield, Statesboro, Tybee Island, and Walthourville, Georgia.

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Business details
  • +1 (912) 234-0270
  • 222 E Lathrop Ave, Savannah, GA 31415
We are a full service emergency restoration company with the dedication and community loyalty to be available to our neighbors 24 / 7 with fast response to your call and needs.
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