The Categories of Water Damage

There are 3 categories of water damage which are based on the level of contamination in the water.  The first category being clean water and the third being highly contaminated.  All categories can cause a great amount of damage but some are much more hazardous and difficult to clean up.  The first step of water damage restoration is determining which water damage category is being dealt with, as this will determine the process used to ensure a safe and effective recovery.  Here we will discuss the 3 water damage categories and their differences.

Category 1:  Clean water

If your home has experienced flooding and water damage, hopefully it falls under this category.  Although category 1 water damage can still cause plenty of damage, the water is from a clean source.  Since the water is sanitary there is no immediate health risks and there is a much better chance of being able to salvage items that have been affected.

Examples of flood water sources in this clean water category could be a broken supply pipe, water heater, faucet, appliance malfunctions with the supply line or toilet tank overflow. It can also include melting snow and rainfall.  Despite the fact these water sources are clean, they can easily and quickly deteriorate to a category 2 or even 3.  Category 1 water damage that is left standing for 48 hours or greater will become a category 2.  This is because standing water will promote bacterial and fungal growth.  It is necessary to take action as fast as possible to prevent this occurrence.

Category 2: Grey Water

Category 2 water damage is commonly referred to as “grey water.”  This means that the water contains a significant number of contaminants.  This category can potentially cause those in contact with it to experience discomfort or sickness.  Just as a category 1 will move into a more severe category if not treated quickly, a category 2 will also move up to a category 3 if the water has been stagnant for too long.

“Grey water” can come from a number of sources in your home.  It could originate from the drain line of a washing machine or dishwasher, or from an overflowing toilet bowl as long as there is no presence of feces.

Category 3: Black Water

“Black water” is the most severe water damage category.  It is water that is “grossly contaminated.”  It may contain pathogenic or toxigenic agents.  This water can be extremely harmful when in contact with people or animals and many precautions need to be taken when dealing with this type of category cleanup.

When thinking of black water, the first thing coming to mind is sewage which is without doubt a category 3 but there are also many other sources that can be classified as black water. Rising seawater, overflow from streams or lakes, and even groundwater can fall into this category.  Groundwater can contain traces of animal droppings, pesticides and more that can make it very harmful. Wind driven rain can also sometimes be placed in this category.  Wind driven rain from a severe storm like a hurricane can pick up many contaminants as it falls and runs over contaminated surfaces.  This is different from rainfall during a light shower, which is a category 1.  Testing the water may be necessary in some cases to accurately determine the proper classification.

Knowing the category of water damage is of the highest importance.  A category 1 clean-up is completely different from a category 3 clean-up.  There will be differences in the type of equipment needed, personal protective equipment required, and cleaning and disinfectants used. Many times, in a category 3 clean up demolition will be necessary.  Handling the clean up properly for the determined category is absolutely essential to guarantee the health of everyone in the home and to ensure there are no further problems down the line.

Restoration Mate are experts in all categories of water damage.  We will accurately evaluate so we know exactly what we are dealing with and come up with the best possible recovery plan.  All steps of the process are carefully completed to the highest standards and we are available 24/7 for any emergencies!

Ceiling Water Damage

The signs of a water damaged ceiling can be quite obvious. You may notice spots of water stains, buckling or sagging, cracks, bubbling or even visible dripping water. It can be much trickier to find the actual source of the leak.  When there are signs of water damage on the ceiling it is most likely going to be from either a roofing issue or a problem with your plumbing. Do not put off identifying the cause and having it repaired as there can be much more water there than you realize.  Leaving it be for an extended amount of time will risk mold growth and further jeopardize structural integrity.

Leaky Plumbing

If the affected ceiling is directly below a bathroom or kitchen, it is very likely that you have a problem with the pipes, drains or a plumbing fixture. Pipes can leak over time and in some cases may burst, appliances may also leak and fixtures such as the toilet can leak around the base causing the water to seep downwards.  In the bathroom, caulking wears away over the years.  This will cause the water to make its ways into the walls and flooring which will find its way to your ceiling. 

If you cannot identify the source of the water leakage it is probably coming from pipes that you did not even realize were there.  It is also important to note that the cause of the water damage may not come from directly above the visible signs.  Leaking water can travel along the pipes before dripping down.  It is worth it to have a professional assess the situation.  It may be necessary to cut away parts of the ceiling to determine the source.  A professional will have tools to help them better pinpoint the problem.

Roofing Leaks

The leak is most likely from the roof if its directly below the roofing or the attic.  If the leaking occurs during or after rain, it is a fairly sure thing that it is from the roof.  Water sources from the roof may also appear dirty as the water usually picks up dirt off of the roof.  A leaking roof could also be from ice dams. Many homeowners usually only think of leaky roofs in the spring or summer.  However, in the wintertime snow can continuously melt and freeze on the roof.  This forms what is known as an ice dam.  When ice dams are formed, they can cause water to build up under the shingles and leak down into your home.  If you have signs of leakage on an exterior wall or on a ceiling at the edge of the room this potentially is the cause especially if you can see ice buildup around your eavestroughs. 

When dealing with roofing, it can be very difficult to determine and successfully fix the root of the problem.  In the winter season, it can be dangerous to tackle such a job.  Entering the attic if needed can also be risky for someone who is not experienced.  It is wise to have a professional to do the necessary assessment and repairs. 

Restoration Mate is more than prepared to help with your water damaged ceiling.  With our many years of experience we will determine the cause and mitigate the damages. We are always prepared for any emergency service needed.

Preventing Mold Growth in the Cold Cellar

Cold cellars are common in many homes and are normally used for storing foods.  Although, many people also now use them as storage areas to hold boxes and other items.  Cold rooms are a frequent area in the home where we find mold growth.  This is because they are located in the basement and are usually not very well insulated or ventilated.  Proper insulation and ventilation are necessary to control moisture levels which is the leading cause of mold growth.  Cold rooms can be the perfect environment for mold considering the possible high moisture levels along with great food sources such as vegetables or cardboard boxes for storage. 

Mold can grow and spread rapidly so it is important to understand how to prevent its growth and take care of any mold problems immediately.  Not only will it destroy perishable foods being kept in the cold room but it can grow on just about anything.  Mold will thrive on wood, carpet, drywall, and furnishings.  If not handed quickly you could end up with a serious mold problem.  Mold spreads by releasing tiny spores that are able to easily travel around your home.  It is also important to note that mold can be very bad for your health, especially for those who already suffer from respiratory problems.

Most cold cellars are located in the basement underneath the front entrance to the house and most have concrete ceilings.  This makes it susceptible to lots of condensation in both summer and winter seasons.  In the wintertime, when the door to the cellar is opened and the warm air from the rest of the house hits the cold ceiling and walls, it creates condensation. 

This condensed water will build up and begin to create a great place for mold begin growing.  You should also have an insulated door and weather-stripping underneath. This is a good way to help prevent condensation.

Ventilation is also needed in order to stop mold growth.  The cold cellar should be vented to the outside to promote fresh air circulation.  One vent should be placed near the top of the cellar and another one towards the bottom.  In the summer months the vents to the outside will need to be closed off to prevent warm, humid air from entering. 

Some other tips to keep in mind are avoiding materials such as wood, keeping the door closed at all times and not storing paper products inside your cold cellar. With these considerations, you should be able to keep mold at bay.  

Having trouble with condensation and mold in your cold cellar? Call Restoration Mate and we can have your mold problems resolved quickly. We are true mold specialists with the experience and equipment to get rid of mold for good!

Emergency Board Up Services

When your home has been damaged by fire or a bad storm leaving it exposed to the outside, it is important for you to ensure that it is boarded up securely. Your home’s exterior may have been damaged by tree branches, hail or windows may have been blown out by a fire or broken by emergency services. Boarding up might not be one of the first things you think of but it is vital for this to be done. Boarding up areas of your home that are exposed will protect your property from further damage and greater losses. There are several reasons why this should be made a priority.

Firstly, when your home has experienced damage to the walls, roof and/or windows, you want to be sure that no further damage is caused by the elements. If the damaged areas are not properly boarded up it allows for wind, rain and snow to enter. This will only cause more problems therefore it necessary for this to be done quickly. Water that enters through the damaged exterior will especially cause more issues. Water damage is one of the most expensive to repair and can ruin everything in your home. When water enters, there is also the risk of mold growth occurring which can be another challenging and expensive task.

Boarding up will also deter vandals and thieves. Unfortunately, there are people out there who will take advantage of others misfortunes. If they see a damaged home that has not been secured and is easily accessible, they may enter. Once inside they may vandalize your home and/or loot it. Both of these scenarios will only cause you more devastation.

Furthermore, boarding up will keep wildlife out of your home. Animals looking for shelter and food can enter and they can cause a ton of damage. Animals can tear up your inside furnishings, chew wires, insulation and drywall and leave a horrible stench inside your home from their urine and droppings. Many species of animals can easily enter an unsecured home such as mice, rats, raccoons, squirrels, bats and skunks. They do not require a large opening to get inside, a broken window will easily allow them entry.

Boarding up can also prevent problems with your insurance company. Many companies make it their policy that measures be taken to prevent further kinds of damage. This means that if you do not board up, they may deny all or part of your insurance claim. Do not give your insurance company an easy reason to deny coverage. You will be in a much more stressful situation.
Boarding up will protect your home while you wait to have it properly repaired. It can take time for windows to be replaced or roofing to be repaired so boarding up helps ensure that in the meantime your home is safe.

Restoration Mate can be at any emergency in a very minimal amount of time. We can provide durable material to secure your home quickly in a way that will last until the needed repairs can be completed.

Why Waterproof the Basement?

Basements are at an increased risk of flooding due to them being underground. They commonly become damp and moist, creating a long list of problems for homeowners that is stressful and expensive to deal with. Basement waterproofing is a way to safeguard your home from water damage.

Many homeowners now finish their basements for extra living space or even create an apartment to rent for extra income. Water seeping into the basement can destroy all this costly work. A finished basement generally will cost somewhere between 15 and 30 thousand dollars so it is definitely recommended to have waterproofing completed beforehand to lessen your risks of water damage occurring.

Water damage can cause serious problems within your home. Not only can it completely destroy your furnishings and belongings but it will also cause mold growth if not dealt with quickly and effectively. Mold can put the health of all household members in jeopardy. Some types of mold are very dangerous to be exposed to. Water damage that is coming through the basement foundation can also start to wear away at it. This eventually will lead to structural damage, compromise safety and lead to another expensive repair.

There are 2 methods of waterproofing. The first is to have it done exteriorly. This is normally seen as the best option. A trench will be dug in the required areas, then layers of protective coatings and weeping tiles are applied. This directs the water away from the home’s foundation, keeping the inside dry.

The next option is to have the basement waterproofed from the inside. This method is very useful when there is not enough space to work from the outside of the house. It also is less costly. Interior waterproofing is more of a water management system as it doesn’t prevent the water from entering but it effectively manages the water to keep it from causing damage. For interior waterproofing a trench is dug around the inside walls of the basement. A system of weeping tiles and sump pump will direct and push the water out and away from the foundation.

Waterproofing is the best way to prevent flooding and water damage. There are several reasons for water entering through the foundation walls or flooring such as inefficient grading, foundation cracks, and hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure is when the groundwater rises and causes the water to push up through the basement slab or where the walls and floor meet together. These can all be solved using a basement waterproofing method. This is not a job to tackle on your own however. To ensure it being done correctly you should get in a professional waterproofing company as it is a lot of work and each step needs to be completed precisely for it to be successful.

If you are dealing with a flood situation and water damage, call Restoration Mate. We are always available, no matter the time of day. Restoration Mate has the tools and experience you need to minimize damages.

Removing the Smell of Smoke From a Fire

Fires will cause many types of damage to your home, one of them of course being from smoke.  Smoke smell after a fire can be very concerning to homeowners as not only is it unpleasant but it also affects the air quality of the home and can be hazardous to health.  Naturally, you want to have this odor removed as quickly as possible but it definitely proves to be a challenge.

In many cases, it will not be worth your time and effort to even attempt to do this on your own.  If the fire was large and/or the home was exposed to smoke for a length of time, it will be necessary to have a professional to handle the odor removal.  The materials that were burning also makes a difference.  Some materials produce odors that are more difficult to remove than others.  A fire that is burning wood will be much different than burning plastic.  Professionals will have specialized equipment that will be able to remove the smoke odor completely such as air scrubbers, ozone generators, thermal fogging units and hydroxyl generators.

Smoke smell can be extremely difficult to remove as the tiny particles of smoke will attach to objects in your home, especially to anything that is porous.  Paint, fabric materials and carpeting particularly will soak up the smell.  If the fire was not too serious you may be able to try some tips to get rid of the smell.

  1. Remove all fabrics and wash or dry clean them. This will include furniture covers, pillows, blankets, and curtains.


  1. All area rugs will need to be thoroughly cleaned and dried. Carpet that cannot be removed should be cleaned with a steam cleaner or you can try sprinkling baking soda and letting it sit for a number of hours.  Vacuum up the baking soda using a vacuum with a HEPA filter so that the particles of smoke are not blown back in.


  1. Wash all surfaces with a mixture of vinegar and water. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer.  Wash walls, ceilings, floors, baseboards, blinds and light fixtures.  Wash the mop out often so that you are not simply spreading smoke particles around the floors.  Also wash window frames, sills, windows and window screens.


  1. Air out the house. Open up all the windows and doors to allow for a good air circulation of fresh air.  You can also set up fans directed to blow the air outside to help push the smoke smell out.


  1. It is important to have your HVAC system cleaned out. Get a professional to do this for you.   Smoke will remain in the ventilation system which will seriously impact your home’s air quality.  Be sure to also change the filters on your system as soon as possible.


  1. Air purifiers can help as well. Placing bowls of vinegar or activated charcoal may also help with the odor.

After these attempts, if you still have smoke odor in the home, it is probably necessary to replace some of your belongings.  Items like carpets, curtains and upholstered furniture may have absorbed too much smoke and no amount of cleaning will successfully remove the smell.  Paint can also absorb odors and so repainting your home may be required.

Smoke odor removal is a hefty amount of work especially without professional equipment.  Not everyone is up to the job and if you had a large fire it will not be possible to handle it yourself.  Restoration Mate has all of the expertise and equipment to get your home smelling fresh once again.