5 Factors That Affect Water Damage Restoration Cost

If you’ve experienced water damage, you know how labor-intensive and expensive water damage clean-up can be. Some of the most common reasons for water damage in your home can include:

  • Plumbing issues
  • Faulty appliances
  • Air conditioning problems
  • Weather-related damage (flooding, hailstorm damage, melting snow)
  • Moisture buildup in basements, attics, and similar spaces
  • Clogged and broken gutters
  • Sewer backups and overflow issues

Water damage can ruin nearly everything in your home. From your furniture, carpeting, electrical wiring, and even the structure of your home, water damage has the potential to cause widespread damage. Once you’ve experienced water damage, your home may develop poor air quality, mold growth, and a number of health hazards – some of which will be both short-term AND long-term issues if left untreated by a professional water damage clean-up service.

At ServiceMaster Cleaning and Restoration Services, we’ve compiled 5 factors that can affect the cost of water damage clean-up:

  1. Size of the affected area
  2. Source of water damage
  3. Type of water
  4. Is the water still present?
  5. Time Elapsed Since the Water Damage Began

Size of the Affected Area

Obviously, the larger the area affected by water damage, the more time and effort it takes to repair. Larger areas require more dehumidification and drying before you can assess which materials will need repair and replacement. Also, larger areas tend to spread to different floors or adjacent areas, so problems can be even greater than what meets the eye.

Source of Water Damage

It may seem counterintuitive, but the size of the area affected may not be as important for water damage as source of the water damage. For example, a slow-leaking pipe in your walls may drip for years without being noticed versus a pipe that burst for only a few minutes. This slow drip can spread to the rest of your home unnoticed, creating a series of unnoticeable problems that can lead to serious structural problems to your home.

Type of Water

Water is broken down into three categories based on the level of hazard it represents. The more hazardous the water, the more expensive the water damage clean-up will be:


  • Category 1 is clean water that comes from sanitary sources. Typical sources come from a faucet, a toilet tank, or a water pipe. Melting snow and rainwater are also types of Category 1 water. While this water isn’t inherently dangerous for humans or pets, it can still cause damage throughout your home.
  • Category 2 is water that has been used in some capacity, often from a washing machine or dishwasher that overflows. Category 2 water is not safe for consumption, but it also doesn’t contain sewage. If left standing, this type of water can develop bacteria that push it into the next type of water, Category 3.
  • Category 3 is water that has been contaminated sewage, hazardous chemicals, or harmful bacteria. It often comes from the sewer but may also enter your house due to severe flood waters. Unfortunately, many objects that come into contact with Category 3 water may not be salvageable, requiring a complete replacement rather than other water mitigation methods.

Is the Water Still Present?

If water is still present at the damaged site, you can expect ongoing problems until it is fully addressed. You may need to use specialized pumping equipment to remove water (i.e., basement flooding) or industrial-grade dehumidifiers to assess the entirety of the damage and what methods you’ll need to use to restore the property.

Time Elapsed Since the Water Damage Began

Water damage left untreated develops into worsening problems over time. Taking care of water damage quickly not only preserves your property, but also creates better overall health and safety. To give you an idea of how water damage progresses over time, here’s a general overview of water damage can lead to:

Within minutes or hours

  • Hazardous water can spread and contaminate your home.
  • Wood furniture starts to swell up with water.
  • Furniture on wet carpet will begin to stain the carpeting.

Within a few days

  • Signs of mold and mildew begin to appear.
  • Paint and wallpaper may need to be replaced.
  • Wood floors begin to warp.
  • Structural wood supports may start swelling.

One week

  • Mold and mildew will grow and spread throughout your home, including in your furniture, the drywall, and even within the structure of the home itself.
  • The structure of the home may start to erode.

More than one week

  • Mold will take root deep into organic materials like wood, requiring a complete replacement.
  • The home may become uninhabitable due to hazardous mold, electricity, pest infestation, and more.

More than one week

  • The foundation of a house may begin to weaken and shift under its own weight, including basement walls flexing and the house becoming permanently slanted.

Contact The Professionals At ServiceMaster Cleaning And Restoration Services Today

Now that you understand the factors that comprise water damage to your home, it’s time to call the water damage clean-up experts today.

At ServiceMaster Cleaning and Restoration Services, we’re here to address ongoing water-related issues, restore your home to its previous state, and ultimately bring you the peace of mind you deserve. We’re at your service 24/7. Call us today to schedule prompt and effective service from our experienced technicians.