Are There Classes of Water Damage?

If you have water damage in your home, you’re probably certain of what degree your own damage is, whether it’s small or large, and how much damage has actually been done. Perhaps you’ve wondered how the professionals classify it, as well. We do have different classifications of damages to homes so that we know what’s necessary in the cleanup efforts. It makes it simpler for us to communicate with each other about it as well as understand quickly what needs to be done—which, when it comes to water damage, is very important!

The class names are easy to understand. There’s Class 1, Class 2, Class 3, and—you guessed it—Class 4. They’re easy to remember and apply to most of the situations that we deal with in our work. Here are the descriptions:

Class 1 Water Damage

When it comes to Class 1 water damage, this is the easiest cleanup you’ll have to deal with in the spectrum. This class is for localized, smaller spots of water damage. With Class 1 damage, you’ll not have soaked carpets or too much water in general. Think about if your dishwasher broke and it leaked water over half your kitchen, creating a big mess and dirtying half of the tile floor. You’d need to mop the water up, clean the floors (and perhaps the cabinets if they were affected), and replace the dishwasher. Simple stuff, really—that’s why it’s called Class 1.

Oftentimes, this level of water damage doesn’t require professional assistance. There are few (if any) porous materials, and the water is easily taken care of. We’ve got a few guides on our blog on how to clean up some Class 1 damage, if you were looking for specific advice. Be careful, of course; water can be hazardous, but this damage shouldn’t affect you too much.

Class 2 Water Damage

Here’s where we start getting into the more serious water damage. Class 2 Water Damage requires that the entire room is saturated with water and that the water has not wicked up the walls more than 2 feet. In this case, the carpets, furniture, walls, and sometimes even the structural materials in the home is damaged. This requires quite a bit of cleanup as well as specialized equipment to get the water out. You might be able to do it yourself, but not without risking serious damage to your home.

Class 3 Water Damage

This one is the big one. This is water damage that has effected the entire room, ceiling to floor. Everything within the room is saturated, from the subfloor up. The carpets, padding, walls, structural materials, furniture, everything; all of it is damaged. This is the worst type of damage that you’ll find out there, and most definitely requires professional help to aid in the cleanup. The requirement for specialized equipment becomes more obvious here, as there’s little way to remove all of the water in the home without it. If you have this type of water damage, call a professional immediately.

Class 4 Water Damage

This is for specialty situations regarding water cleanup. While the amount of water may not be as large, the amount of work required is substantially higher because of the special conditions needed to clean these materials up. Class 4 also includes liquids that are more harmful than water, like radiological residues and other controlled and regulated substances. This is the worst damage to clean because it tends to vary from case to case and may be extremely dangerous.

Now that you know the classes of water damage, you’re more forewarned about the situations you may be running into. Be aware that along with these classes of water damage, we also categorize the type of water that caused the damage. We’ll address that in another post soon. If you do have any questions or need help with your own water damage, feel free to call us! We’re here for you no matter the damage class.