What Are The Three Categories and Four Classes Of Water Damage?

Water damage to your home or business can have severe, long-lasting consequences ranging from structural damage to illness. Sadly, water damage comes in all varieties, and there are any number of sources water damage can come from:

  • Condensation from air conditioning can leak into insulation
  • Leaky piping can damage surrounding furniture and flooring
  • Plumbing back-ups can flood and contaminate your property
  • Severe weather can damage your roofing, which in turn leads to water leaks
  • Clogged gutters can lead to overflowing, which can damage ceilings and floors

Even if you have a maintenance team on-call to treat water damage, getting professional help is essential to prevent any further damage. After all, attempting to treat water damage yourself can lead to more structural harm, increased business downtime, and even severe health problems.

However, understanding the differences between the classes and categories of water damage can help you appropriately respond to each type of water damage, even before reaching out for help. Being able to distinguish between different types of water loss can help you communicate more effectively with contractors, insurance agents, repair crews, tenants, and others.

The Three Categories of Water Damage

When describing water damage, the term “category” refers to the level of water contamination in the leak; determining a leak’s category also involves gauging the source of the leak. There are three categories of water damage.

Category 1 Water Damage

Category 1 water damage describes damage coming from a clean water source where the water doesn’t represent a significant health hazard. Examples of category 1 water loss include a broken supply pipe, rainwater, or clear tub overflow.

Category 2 Water Damage

Category 2 water damage describes water that is visibility contaminated and could lead to illness if ingested or otherwise contacted. Category 2 water frequently serves as a breeding ground for bacteria that likely contains dangerous organic and inorganic matter. You might see category 2 water loss in washing machine run-off, toilet overflow, or broken aquariums.

Category 3 Water Damage

Category 3 water damage refers to water that contains dangerous matter, ranging from pathogenic to toxic agents. Any contact with category 3 water is potentially harmful. Examples include sewage, flooding seawater, septic backup, or any contaminated ground surface water.

The Four Classes of Water Damage

If water damage categories refer to the toxicity and source of water damaging the home, then the four classes of water damage refer to the scale and extent of the damage. When gauging the class of water damage, it’s important to factor in the amount of area covered by a leak and the materials in the affected area.

Class 1 – Class 1 water damage refers to water damage that’s minimal in scope. Class 1 damage may only cover part of a room or area. The damage to materials in that space may be minor, with only minimal water absorption.

Class 2 – Class 2 water damage describes more significant water damage, with water saturating a room of carpet and cushion. Water has likely seeped into particleboard and structural wood, as well as possibly concrete.

Class 3 – Class 3 water damage describes damage where water may have come from overhead. In class 3 damage, walls, ceilings, carpets, and even insulation are saturated with water.

Class 4 – Class 4 water damage describes water damage where even water-resistant materials like bricks, concrete, and stone are affected. Class 4 damage is generally severe, and it may require specialized treatment methods and longer drying times.

Complete, Professional Water Damage Restoration for Your Illinois Property

Regardless of its scope, water loss can cause serious damage to your home and is likely to be a threat to your health. For these reasons, it’s important to seek out professional help when repairing water damage at your home, rental property, or commercial property. In all of these situations, no matter the category or class, McMahon Services is here to help you.

For over twenty years, we’ve provided water damage clean-up services to the Chicago and northern Illinois areas. From inspections to repair work, we’ll help you get back on your feet after suffering water damage. We also provide service to Arlington Heights, Berwyn, Des Plaines, Evanston, Mount Prospect, Grayslake, Mundelein, Libertyville, Oak Park, Palatine, Wheaton, Naperville, Waukegan, Schaumburg, Skokie, and the surrounding IL service areas. Contact us today, and let us know what we can do for you!