What are the Four Classes of Water Loss?

drying wet carpetWater damage is one of the top issues that homeowners face on their property. It is a common problem that can be caused by toilet overflow, burst pipes, floods, heavy rains, leaky appliances, clogged sink drains, and more. Since there are many potential causes of damage due to water, there is a high chance that you will have to do some form of restoration for wet materials in your home at some point.

However, not all water damage incidents are the same. Some types of damage may be minimal and only affect a few items in the home, while others could damage an entire room.

Categories of Water

Three main types of water could cause damage to your property; clean, grey, and black. Clean water, or white water, has a low number of contaminants and does not pose any serious health risks. Grey water contains low levels of contaminants and could take the form of a bacteria-laden stagnant liquid. This could come from dishwashers, showers, or washing machines. Black water is the most dangerous, and contact with it could lead to severe illness or other risk factors. An example of black water would be feces-contaminated toilet overflow.

These categories of water damage can be further organized into different classes of water loss.

Classes of Water Loss

There are four classes of water loss that you could experience, and the type of restoration services needed to repair your property will depend on the level of damage. Let’s break down what these four classes of water loss entail.

Class 1

The first category of water damage that may happen in your home does not usually require an intense and expensive restoration. Only a small part of the room has been affected, and the items that have absorbed water have very low permeance and are considered low-porosity materials. This means that there are fewer gaps in the material that can absorb water. Particle boards, structural wood, and concrete would fall under this category.

Examples could include toilet overflow, a leaking sink, or a washing machine malfunction.

Class 2

The second category of water loss affects the whole room. Carpets, cushions, and other upholstered possessions have absorbed a lot of moisture and the water has climbed up to 24 inches on the walls. Moisture remains in the structural materials of the building, making it very important to begin the extraction and drying process to prevent long-term damage to the home.

Some causes of class 2 water damage could be a dishwasher that leaks, heavy rains that flood the basement, or a burst pipe.

Class 3

When water has damaged virtually the entire area, you have class 3 water loss. It has affected materials with higher porosity and permeance, leading to more absorption and a longer drying process. Often, the source of the water leak came from overhead, damaging everything from ceilings and walls to carpet and furniture. This category of water loss leads to heavy damage to a large portion of the house.

Class 3 water losses may be the result of intense flooding, a broken pipe in the walls, or a roof caving in during a rainstorm.

Class 4

The final categorization of water damage requires specialty drying situations to restore the materials. This happens when low-porosity materials become wet and retain moisture due to long exposure. Subfloors, hardwood, concrete, stone, and other building materials could fall under a class 4 loss after a water-related disaster.

Any significant damage can lead to this category of water loss if structural elements are affected for a long enough period.

Cleaning Up the Mess

Restoring your property after a water loss can be a difficult process. Depending on what has been damaged, you may be able to tackle the project yourself. But when the incident is too severe for you to handle, you may need to get in touch with a Portland water damage restoration company.

Personal Possessions

For personal belongings that are affected, the drying process is relatively simple. Take these items out of the affected room, use fans, dehumidifiers, and air circulation to dry them, and then clean them gently with soap or a bleach solution. The sooner you begin the restoration process, the better chance you have of saving your possessions from permanent damage.

Structural Materials

If the water has affected structural elements of the building, such as drywall, hardwood floors, or vinyl composition tile, then a more thorough drying process will be needed. Open up the windows, use large air movers, turn on dehumidifiers, and start drying the area as quickly as possible. If the water that caused the damage was contaminated, sanitize all surfaces once they have dried.

Hiring a Restoration Company

For a job that is too big to handle yourself, beginning water damage restoration by calling a professional service is crucial. The right firm can handle all categories of water damage, following state and local laws to make sure the property is returned to its pre-loss condition and up to the safety code.

When you experience damage from a water incident, your goal is to protect the condition of the home. Holiday fire hazards can set sprinklers off. Winters can make pipes freeze and burst. Weather can bring heavy rain that overwhelms your gutters. There are so many uncontrollable circumstances that could result in water flooding parts of your home and causing a level of damage belonging to any of the four classes of water loss.

If you have recently suffered water damage, and have wet materials that need to be restored, contact locally-owned professional contractors immediately. Their expert knowledge and equipment can handle all four classes of water loss, making you one of their many satisfied restoration customers.