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Here’s How Much Damage Water Can Do To A Basement

Posted Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

how much damage water can do to a basement

99.99% of the time, you don’t have to worry about water damage in your basement. A dry basement is a fantastic family hangout spot, almost always available for your family’s use. Unfortunately, if you’re one of the 60% of homes at risk for basement water damage (according to the American Society of Home Inspectors), your dry comfortable family hangout room might be at risk for flooding – and it could cost you thousands. You may be asking yourself “How much damage can water do to a basement?” The answer: more than you might think!

Water Categories: Clean, Grey, Black

Floodwater comes in three different categories of contamination:

  • Category 1 – Clean water
  • Category 2 – Grey water
  • Category 3 – Black water

As you can probably guess, Category 1 – Clean water is the least contaminated type of floodwater. Clean water can come from faucets, bathtubs, or fresh rainwater and has been sitting for less than 24 hours.

Category 2 – Grey water has non-pathogenic contaminants. While not immediately dangerous, these contaminants can still cause illness or discomfort. Washing machine overflows, aquarium water, and washing machine leaks are all examples of grey water flooding.

Category 3 – Black water has pathogenic contamination and is unsanitary. Sewage, chemical waste, and any water sitting for over 72 hours are all considered black water situations.

Time is of the essence when it comes to floodwater, because even Clean water can become Grey and then Black water if it sits for too long since contamination happens over time.

Flooded Basement Damage Timeline

The damage water can do to a basement isn’t limited to contamination, however. Water itself can be very destructive. Here’s how a flood will damage your basement over time:

In 60 minutes…
Water begins saturating porous materials, like wood, drywall, and carpeting. Anything made of cardboard or other paper products is destroyed. Carpet and carpet padding become saturated with water, spreading moisture into areas not affected by the initial flooding.

In 4 hours…
Furniture and other wood materials begin to delaminate and swell at this point. The increased humidity begins amplifying any organic odors present in the basement, giving off that telltale “musty” smell. Drywall often becomes unsalvageable after this amount of time.

In 1 day…
Mold and other contaminants can start growing in as little as 24 hours and can spread to unaffected surfaces. Wood will start to warp, leaving hardwood floors damaged beyond repair. Paint and wallpaper will begin bubbling and peeling.

In 1 week…
Mold and other fungi will saturate any porous materials they come in contact with and will become hazardous to an occupant’s health. Category 1 water has become Category 3 at this point, and any materials it has affected will either need to be thrown out or need extensive restorative work. The entire basement becomes a biohazard, significantly increasing cleanup costs.

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Wait

Needless to say, the easiest category of water to clean up is Category 1 – Clean water. Cleaning up clean water flood can be as simple as extracting and placing drying equipment. As water moves up the contamination spectrum, restoration costs rise significantly. Extra contamination means extra risk for your family and your home, significantly increasing how much damage water can do to a basement – and your wallet!

To prevent this escalation of cleanup costs, call an emergency water mitigation professional as soon as you notice water damage in your basement! The last thing you want to do is wait too long and end up with a lengthy and costly repair process.   

Modernistic has been keeping Michigan’s basements dry for over 45 years! Click here to learn more about what you can do to prevent water damage in your home, and contact us right away if you have a flood in your basement!

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