Water damage is the main cause of mold growth and musty odor in basements. Mold produces spores which not only initiate new mold growth on wet organic materials but also compromises the air quality in the building. Mold removal and remediation are very expensive. Apart from mold growth, water damage can also lead to wood rot and insect infestation. Annually, water causes thousands of dollars’ worth of damage by damaging wood furniture, upholstery, electronics and household appliances in finished basements when they get flooded.
Causes of Water Damage
The obvious causes of water damage in basements are water from heavy rainfall or melting snow if it collects near the foundation and fill the drains, sewage backup, rain water through foundation cracks and basement windows. While these are fairly easy to detect, enabling a quick repair before maximum damage occurs, water damage due to moisture behind finished basement walls that are insulated with fiberglass and poor grading around foundation walls are not so obvious. It is therefore possible to discover mold growth in the basement before knowing the source of moisture.
Categories of Water Damage
The IICRC’s S-500 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration, has divided water into three categories. These categories are based upon the level of contamination present, or presumed present in the source water.
- Category 1. This refers to clean water, or water that does not pose a threat to humans. Possible causes of this type of water damage include broken appliances or sink overflows.
- Category 2. This category is also called gray water. This means that the water is contaminated with microorganisms and may cause sickness if ingested. Broken toilets, broken sump pumps, and seepage may cause category 2 water damage.
- Category 3.This category of water is unsanitary, as it contains bacteria and other organisms that cause sickness. The possible sources of category 3 water include sewage backup.
The damage caused by water is classified into four classes. The class of damage is important when assessing water damage repair options. These classes are:
- Class 1: This is the least harmful form of damage. Materials absorb very little of the water from this type of damage. Water damage repair is the easiest in this type of situation.
- Class 2: This has a fast rate of evaporation, which means that carpets and cushions may be damaged. Water damage repair is more difficult when it involves class 2 damage.
- Class 3: This has the fastest rate of evaporation. In this case, the water may come from broken sprinklers or other overhead sources, soaking the walls and furniture.
- Class 4: This class requires special water restoration and water removal procedures. This type of damage may affect hardwood floors, plaster, and concrete.
Water Damage Restoration
While hiring a water damage restoration company is not cheap, it can make the cleanup process easier to handle, as these companies employ experienced workers who know the best ways to repair or replace damaged items and help with water damage cleanup. A major mold outbreak can be prevented if the damaged materials are dried within 48 hours.