Assessing the Aftermath: A Complete Guide to Water Damage Inspection and Restoration

A Professional water damage inspector reviewing residential room for water damage
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Experiencing flooding in your home can be an overwhelming and daunting task for homeowners. Not only is the cost of cleaning and repairing the damage often high, but many people are left without a clue on where to start. When you find yourself dealing with water damage, a thorough inspection will be necessary. This is where Water Damage Inspections come in handy – they provide an extensive evaluation of the destruction and offer advice on restoring your home to its safe condition.


Water damage inspection is an essential process to identify potential health risks and serious issues due to water or flood damage, whether caused by natural disasters, sewage contamination, and burst pipes. Without a proper assessment of the severity of the damage, costly repairs may be required, and certain dangers may remain unnoticed. Here you will find comprehensive information regarding water damage and inspections so that you can be prepared to act swiftly and confidently if needed.


moisture meter takign a reading

What is water damage?

Any harm to property exposed to water can be categorized as “water damage”. It can vary from minor and slow leaks to devastating floods, leaving spots on walls and carpets, or even more serious like mold growth and structural damage.  


If left unattended, water damage can lead to extensive and irreversible destruction of a home. Therefore, it is essential to conduct an evaluation as soon as possible to determine the source and level of harm. Smaller repairs may be manageable without professional help; however, larger-scale problems require expertise that only experienced contractors can provide.

Wet subflooring

What should I do immediately after water damage?

In the event of water damage, it is important to act quickly to reduce further problems.

Assess the Situation

The first step is to assess the situation, ensuring that your safety and that of anyone else in the area are not compromised. Consider whether the damage is from a septic tank, natural disaster, leaking pipes, or roof leaks, and identify the affected areas, paying close attention to any black water that may contain hazardous materials. It’s also beneficial to do an initial water damage assessment which will give you an idea of the severity and scope of the damage.

Type of water

  • Category One: water originates from a clean source such as a supply line, sink overflow, or rainwater and usually does not pose any risk to human health. Although the water is from a clean source it should be removed very quickly to avoid further damage and mold growth.


  • Category Two: Untreated sources of water, such as dishwashers, washing machines discharge, broken aquariums or fish tanks and toilets without urine can be concerning. Gray water is not usually considered highly toxic; however, it may contain contaminants like detergents, fabric softeners, and bath soaps making it potentially harmful if left untreated. Sources of gray water include malfunctioning washers and dryers, kitchen sinks’ drain pipes as well as bathrooms.


  • Category Three: Blackwater, which is often sourced from sewer systems and flooding rivers and streams, can be highly dangerous to human health. As such, restoration teams take extra safeguards when dealing with black water contamination during cleanup processes. Common causes of black water include natural flood events, toilet backflows, and sewage pipe issues.

Call Your Insurance Company

Notifying your insurance company will allow them to assess the damage and provide information regarding the coverage you may have.

Take Pictures

Documenting the damage with photos or videos from different angles is essential for insurance purposes.

Arrange Professional Help

It is important to contact a professional immediately to mitigate any potential issues and begin getting your home back to normal. A professional water damage inspection will help determine the extent of the damage, potential health risks such as mold growth or other toxins, and what steps should be taken to have your home restored safely and quickly.

Turn off All Electricity

Water and electricity can be dangerous, so it’s important to shut down all power sources before attempting repairs.

Wear Protective Gear

When addressing water damage, it’s essential to take safety measures for your protection. Always wear protective gear as rubber boots, gloves, and breathing masks, when dealing with water damage.

Protect Appliances and Valuables

Moving any electrical items or appliances to a protected and dry location to limit further water harm and destruction. Before starting the cleanup process, make sure all valuable possessions are taken away from the affected area and that power is completely disconnected.

Removing Excess Water

Once it is deemed safe, you can begin removing excess water from flooded areas using buckets, mops, wet vacuums, or pumps.

Dry the Standing Water

It is important to start the drying process as soon as possible to reduce the chance of further damage and the growth of mold. Fans and dehumidifiers can speed up water’s evaporation and help draw moisture out of walls, carpets, furniture, and other affected areas. Using a combination of both can be more effective than relying on only one method.

Clean and Disinfect

In addition to the removal of dirt and debris, surfaces that have come in contact with contaminated water should be thoroughly sanitized. This includes any walls, furniture, carpets, and other items that bacteria-rich water may have touched. Disinfectants and detergents work together to clean and sanitize these surfaces by killing germs, fungi, and other microorganisms that could cause health issues. It is important to leave disinfectant on the area for a few minutes before wiping away any excess moisture or residue.


Use bleach, baking soda, essential oils, or vinegar on fabric items like carpets and upholstered furniture to kill any bacteria that might linger after the water has been removed. Never combine bleach with other household cleaning agents, and stay away from using vinegar on carpets as its acidic properties can leave permanent stains.

Inspect for Structural Damage

Examining the walls, windows, and floors of your home can reveal any structural problems that may have been caused by water. If the inspection finds any dry rot or warped wood, it is important to call in a professional contractor as soon as possible to make any necessary repairs.

Damage Repair

After the dry rot and other damage have been remedied, it is important to start the process of restoring your home. This includes any necessary repairs such as patching walls with mold-resistant paint or primer, replacing the furniture that may have been affected, and re-installing carpets and rugs. If there were any electrical components in the affected area, it is also important to have them examined by an experienced technician before being used again.

Keep an Eye on it

Be sure to check the affected area for any signs of further water damage or mold. It’s also important to keep an eye out for any lingering odors, as these can be a sign of more moisture trapped within walls and floors. If you notice anything that is concerning, it’s best to contact your local water damage specialist.

Mold above bawseboard

Identifying Mold and Mildew

Molds and mildews are common after water damage has occurred, so it’s important to be aware of their presence. Visual inspection is the best way to detect mold — look for any discoloration or growths on walls, carpets, and furniture. If you see anything out of the ordinary or notice any musty odors, it’s best to contact a professional immediately.


Water damage can be a stressful experience, but by keeping safety measures in mind and following these steps, you can get your home back on its feet quickly. Take the time to inspect your property and ensure all necessary repairs are made before moving forward.


How to Dry Out Standing water and Remove Humidity?

With standing water, you can start by emptying buckets or plastic tubs. After that, use a mop to absorb any remaining moisture in hard-to-reach spots. It might be daunting to face the task of drying out your home from water damage and high levels of humidity but don’t worry – here are some useful tips on how to restore it:


  • Dehumidifier: Investing in a dehumidifier will help control the air’s moisture. This will address not only stagnant water but any existing mold, too.
  • Fans or air movers: Placing fans around the affected area allows the air to circulate, which can reduce humidity levels when used with a dehumidifier.
  • Air Conditioner or HVAC: An air conditioner or heating ventilation and cooling (HVAC) system can also help reduce moisture levels by recycling air indoors and expelling humid air outdoors. The temperature can also be adjusted as a way to combat humidity.
  • Wet Vacuum: A wet vacuum is another option for removing standing water from carpets and other materials that have been damaged by flooding or heavy rain. Be sure to use caution when using this method as surfaces may be slippery due to moisture levels present.

Water Damaged ceiling

What are the most common signs of water damage?

The signs of water damage can vary depending on the type and extent of the problem, but there are some key indicators that your home is at risk. These include:

  • Discoloration or stains on walls, ceilings, or floors;
  • Musty odors, especially in basements or other areas that may be exposed to dampness;
  • Warping or buckling of wood flooring;
  • Visible mold on walls, ceilings, or floors;
  • Peeling paint or wallpaper;
  • Buckled tile or other flooring materials;
  • Cracking in drywall;
  • Water spots on the ceiling.


If you suspect that your home has suffered from water or flood damage, it is important to call a professional restoration contractor. A reputable restoration company can assess the situation and provide proper repairs and home inspection services. The process of restoring your home may take a bit of time, but with the help of a professional restoration team, you can ensure that the job will be completed correctly.

What qualifies as water damage?

Water damage is classified as any material that has been damaged by water. This can include structural materials such as walls and floors, furniture, carpets, personal belongings, and more. The extent of the damage depends on the amount of time the material was exposed to moisture, as well as the type of material it is made from. Can also manifest in a variety of events, including a flooded basement, secondary damage caused by water or moisture accumulation, or even sewer backup. All of these issues require professional attention and appropriate repairs to ensure the safety and integrity of your home.


Why do I need a water damage Inspection?

It is important to have a professional conduct an inspection of your property after experiencing any form of water damage. A qualified inspector will be able to detect potential problems and determine the proper course of action for restoring your home. They can also check for signs of mold growth, as this can become a health hazard if not addressed quickly.

How do home inspectors check for water damage?

Home inspectors typically use a multi-step process to identify and assess water damage. First, they must identify the source of the water and determine the type: whether it is clean water from a burst pipe or contaminated water from a sewer backup.


Once they have determined this, they can begin to inspect for signs of damage, such as discoloration on walls or floors, peeling paint, and warping wood. They can also take moisture readings throughout the affected area to determine the extent of damage and create an action plan accordingly. This could include removing damaged materials and restoring any affected areas.


How much does the water damage inspection cost?

The cost of a water damage inspection varies depending on the property size and the extent of damages. Depending on the situation, emergency services may have additional costs, such as repairing broken pipes or board-up after storm flooding.


A reputable restoration contractor should always provide a written estimate outlining the expected cost and any potential additional costs that could arise due to undetected structural damages, secondary damages, mold remediation, and repairs requiring licensed professionals. Check their website for more information about their water damage restoration process.


How do I fill a claim with my homeowners’ insurance?

When it comes to water damage assessment reports the repairs are mostly covered. Property insurance policies can cover the costs of cleanup and restoration. However, filing a claim can be complicated, making it beneficial to have solid documentation of the damage. This is why a professional inspection by a restoration contractor is so important; it details what repairs are needed and helps expedite the claims process. Some homeowners opt to let their chosen restoration company handle all interactions with their insurance carrier, as this simplifies paperwork from the home inspection to job completion.

Catching dripping water from a flood above

How Does Water Damage Restoration Work?

Water damage restoration typically involves an initial assessment of the affected areas to determine the extent of the damage. Afterward, technicians will assess what needs to be repaired and begin draining any excess water and removing debris or ruined materials. Depending on the situation, they may also use special equipment like dehumidifiers or pumps to remove any excess water.


Once these measures are taken, professionals will evaluate whether additional structural problems may have been caused by moisture and then begin cleaning affected areas and drying out any remaining moisture with fans and air movers. Finally, they will repair any damages where needed.


Homeowner’s insurance can often cover some of the costs associated with water damage, but it typically depends on if the cause is covered under your policy. Generally speaking, damages as a result of regular maintenance issues such as broken household appliances, are usually not covered.

Professional Help

Professional help is essential to preventing further damage and ensuring a successful restoration process. Restoration professionals have the expertise and equipment required to tackle even the most complicated water damage situations effectively. Their services may include extracting standing water, cleaning affected areas, disposing of damaged items, drying moisture with fans and air movers, and repairing damages where needed. They can also provide advice on water mitigation measures, such as installing drain guards or waterproofing materials during a renovation.