Water damage restoration is the process of restoring a property back to pre-loss condition after sustaining any level of water damage. While there are currently no government regulations in the United States dictating procedures, two large certifying bodies, the IICRC and the RIA, do recommend standards of care. Most companies use the IICRC procedural standard, which is the S500. It is based on reliable restoration principles, research and practical experience with extensive consultation and information gathered from numerous sources. These include the scientific community, the international, national and regional trade associations serving the disaster restoration industry, chemical formulators and equipment manufacturers, cleaning and restoration schools, restoration service companies, the insurance industry, allied trades persons and others with specialized experience. The S500 water damage guide is subject to further revision as developments occur in technology, testing and processing procedures.
Water damage is classified into one of the following classes:
- Class 1 Water Damage – Slow Evaporation Rate: Water losses that affect only part of a room or area, or losses with lower permeance/porosity materials (e.g., plywood, particle board, structural wood, VCT, concrete). Little or no wet carpet or padding is present. Minimum moisture is absorbed by materials, releasing moisture slowly.
- Class 2 Water Damage – Fast Evaporation Rate: Water losses that affect an entire room or carpet and cushion. Water has wicked up walls 12″ – 24”. There is moisture remaining in structural materials (e.g., plywood, particleboard, structural wood, concrete).
- Class 3 Water Damage – Fastest Evaporation Rate: Water may have come from overhead. Ceilings, walls, insulation, carpet, cushion and sub-floor in the entire area are saturated.
- Class 4 Water Damage – Specialty Drying Situations: These consist of wet materials with very low permeance/porosity (hardwood, plaster, brick, concrete, stone, crawlspace). Typically, there are deep pockets of saturation, which requires very low specific humidity.