The Levels of Water Damage

When a water loss happens in your home, before removing the affected area and the remediation process, the category and class of the damage has to be determined. There are 3 main categories of water damage and 4 classes. Some will be worse than others, but they are typically in order by severity. Discovering the category and class of your water damage is one of the most important steps since different levels mean different health effects.

A Category 1 Water Loss

Let’s take a look at the first category of water loss. A Category 1 (more commonly known as a Cat. 1) will not pose a threat to your lungs, skin, or allergies. Category 1 will not contain pathogenic agents, bacteria, and will not be from any sort of sewage overflow. A typical Category 1 will be from appliances malfunctioning and leaking, or from a bathtub overflow, sink overflow, etc. The water that is exposed to your home should not have any odor or color to it to be considered a category 1.

Somewhat of light water damage.

A Category 2 Water Loss

If your water damage is associated with toilet overflows, then you may have a category 2 water loss. There are different types of water contained and utilized in your home and any grey water leakage will be a category 2 water loss. The reason grey water is classified as more severe is because of what the water contains in it. Usually water from a toilet would make a person sick if ingested or exposed because it contains harmful subjects called ‘Micro-organisms’. Bacteria are contained in the organisms, and can be harmful to your home and more importantly, to yourself. It is very important in a category 2 water loss that the water be removed as soon as possible, before it can cause any further damage.

Category 2 Water Damage Restoration

A Category 3 Water Loss

Category 3 water loss is considered to be the most ‘harmful’ or grossly unsanitary. In these cases the water will be colored, black is one of the most common colors. The water will contain harmful parasites, bacteria, and fungi can grow faster and easier. This goes with any category of water loss however, category 3 is considered more effective when it comes to harmful agents. A category 2 water loss may also be re-classified into a category 3 if enough time passes without it being treated. The reason is because the more time that passes, you are allowing fungi (mold) to accumulate and further damage your home and put your health in danger. It is highly recommended to contact a professional restoration company if you are put in this unfortunate situation.

Category 3 Severe Damage

Classes of Water Loss

Along with categories, there are classes when it comes to water damage/loss. Classes are determined by the rate of evaporation, based by which materials are affected in your home. These materials can be carpet, carpet pad, drywall, and base boards to name a few. Class 1 will be selected if there is a very slow rate of evaporation (if the affected part of the room is small, and the materials are lightly saturated). Class 2 will be selected if the rate of evaporation is fast (typically when the majority of whole room is affected, and the materials are soaked or heavily saturated). Class 3 is selected when the evaporation rate is rapid, and the entire room (ceilings, floors, walls, all materials) are all soaked. The water will usually come from the ceiling in these cases, soaking everything when gravity pulls it down. Class 4 is selected when areas that are more difficult to get to are affected. These require special equipment specifically used for the drying of small areas. Areas such as crawl spaces and attics, and materials like concrete or hardwood engineered wood.


Now that you know the Categories and Classes of water damage, how can you determine your water damage and restore your home back to its normal state? Remember, the main things to notice are odor, water color, and the amount of damage that has occurred. If the water is clear, and has no odor, more than likely it will be a Category 1. If the water has an odor, and has color to it (whether grey or black) it is safe to say you have a Category 2, or Category 3 water damage present in your home. When it comes to the Classification that is where a professional restoration company will have to come in. PuroClean will walk you through what your water damage is step by step to ensure you know why the categories and classes have been selected. We will also restore your home back to its normal state in the safest and fastest way, doing all procedures by the book to ensure you quality restoration and professionalism.

About Dan Camara

Dan Camara is the CEO of PuroClean Home Rescue in Sacramento. We have been helping the good folks of Northern California with water damage dryouts, mold removal and fire cleanups for nearly 5 years now. Connect with me on Google+
This entry was posted in DIY water and mold damage, Flood damage advice, Flood damage warnings, Water damage advice, water damaged contents, Water damaged floors, Water damaged rooms and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Levels of Water Damage

  1. 911 Restoration For Water Damage says:

    Nice job in illustration the different levels of water disaster. The classes or types of water loss will always depend on the evaporation level as well including the materials used at home. 911 Restoration team adheres on every points of view you have especially when taking care of every water disaster and its restoration. We have different ways but with the same goals in resolving our client’s problem.

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