Water damage may all seem the same–after all, wet is wet. But there are actually different categories of water damage according to the risk factors in your water that could lead to disease-causing pathogens.

  • Category 1, Clean Water: The water poses no threat to your home as it is water that comes from the supply lines of your home plumbing system. Examples include: burst water pipes, failed supply lines on appliances, and rainwater.
  • Category 2, Gray Water: This water contains contaminants, such as detergents from a dishwasher overflow or a dehumidifier leaking. The contaminants are low in risk, but you still want to avoid contact with skin and eyes, as well as ingestion.
  • Category 3: Black Water: This water is harmful to your health, containing raw sewage or other pathogens that should be completely avoided. Additional examples include: rising water from rivers and streams and ground surface water flowing (or flooding) into homes.

The category of water causing the water damage plays a major factor in the water damage restoration process.


Additionally, how water damage is addressed varies according to the area or item that is wet.

  • Floors: Water on hardwood flooring or wood subflooring can cause the wood to warp, buckle, or crack if exposed for too long. We take every restoration effort to salvage what we can, but some flooring may need to be repaired or replaced.
  • Carpet: Even when carpeting may feel dry, the padding can hold water. This excess moisture can cause mold growth, as well as negatively affect the subfloor. If carpet padding cannot be sufficiently dried, our mitigation technicians will need to remove it.
  • Walls and ceiling: When drywall becomes wet, it can weaken its structural integrity. Water damaged drywall can be removed and replaced. If areas behind the drywall are also wet, the area will be thoroughly dried before new drywall is installed.
  • Furniture: Because of their size, upholstered furniture can be tricky to clean and dry. With this in mind, wet fabric can be pressure treated to remove harmful bacteria before being placed in a room with dehumidifiers and air movers to remove moisture.
  • Electronics: Water and electronics don’t mix. The O’delle Cleaning System utilizes de-ionized water and special electronic detergents to clean the inside and outside of electronic and mechanical devices. This could save you and the insurance carrier thousands of dollars on a water damage restoration project.