What is Water Damage

Water damage can be a number of things depending on whether the process takes place slowly or very quickly. An example of water damage taking place slowly would be rotting wood, mold growth or damage that has caused rusting of steel or iron. An good example of water damage happening quickly would be of course a flooding event caused by a sudden surge of water.

What is Water Damage?

The cause of water damage in the home environment is often caused by the appliances failing in some way. This can range from washing machines breaking down causing water to pour out which can ruin carpets and floors. It can also occur from toilets overflowing caused by blockages, a dishwasher leaking or even plumbing problems caused by cracked or broken pipes that can spoil walls, ceilings and floors.

Water damage that has been caused by a flooding event if obviously very different. The sudden surge of water that can occur due to heavy rainfall because of rivers and streams overflowing is often impossible to stop. This is especially true if it happens without prior knowledge that it is going to occur.

How is Water Damage Classified:

What is water damage specifically and how is it defined? Well there are three types of water damage and they are classified by giving them specific names. These are clean, grey and black water.

The first is “clean water”. This is water that is safe for human consumption and doesn’t pose a health risk. A good example of this is when there has been damage to a network pipeline that carries water to home and offices. You may have seen this when there is a leak by the roadside. In addition, if there has been overflow from water in the home such as an overflowing sink or bathtub, this is classed as clean water damage.

The second is classed as “grey water”. This water that has been contaminated by chemicals or biological components. This will contain substances or micro organisms that will cause you to feel very unwell if the water is consumed. It would cause severe sickness and should most definitely be avoided. This type of water can be found if water from a toilet bowl that contains urine overflows. Also, if water from a washing machine or dishwasher has been allowed to stand for a long period of time it could contain bacteria or fungus. This would also be grey water damage.

The last category is “black water”. This is the really bad stuff. It usually contains faeces or other very unpleasant things. This water contains significant amount of bacteria, fungus or polluting materials and quite often has a very bad smell . This is not water you want to come into contact with at all and should be avoided as it can cause extremely severe sickness and unpleasant affects if it is consumed. Sewage is probably the primary example for this water like this but can also include seawater, standing water or rising water from rivers or streams that have a high turbidity.

Is Water Damage Covered by Insurance?

However, slow or fast the water damage process is, the net effect can be severe disruption to homes and other property. This is usually covered by a good insurance policy, however, under certain circumstances insurance firms have been known to not pay out for particular types of damage. For example, sometimes bad weather is considered an act of god. Like an earthquake or volcano erupting. This normally isn’t covered under homeowners insurance. In this case, make sure to consider adding flood insurance to the policy.

In Conclusion:

There are many people around the world who live in low lying areas that have suffered from major water damage due a flooding event. This is also true of those who have experienced “slow” water damage such as leaking pipes or  However, taking the right course of action quickly can reduce the damage when disaster occurs.

Well – I wish you luck and welcome your comments and feedback. Please look around our site and feel free to let us know what you think!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Felisha April 10, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Had a toilet over flow had flushed and went down but the handle stayed down and did not come back up noticed after awhile and water went all over wood laminent a little on carpet soaked up all water out of carpet and left fan over it should I be concerned about health effects..


waterdamageexpert April 10, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Hi Felisha,

Thanks for your comment. If the water was clean that overflowed from your toilet and you dried it straight away with the fan, you did the right thing. If you had left if for a long time, which it sounds like you didn’t, then there may be a cause for concern. However, if you are still worried then a good carpet cleaner should remove anything left. Hope that helps.


pauk May 22, 2012 at 3:45 am

Hi. My upstairs toilet overflowed. We cleaned up the water on the floor and carpet. Water leaked between floors and dripped out of the seams of the drywall ceiling in the garage. How concerned do I need to be about mold? Thank you


waterdamageexpert May 22, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Hi Pauk, thanks for your comment. Molds are quite happy living in dark or damp areas in homes especially in areas such as garages. Black spots on the walls or moldy smells are an indication that your house may contain mold. Some of the symptoms after exposure to mold include skin irritation and difficulty breathing as well as other symptoms like chronic fatigue, headache and body aches and pain.

The symptoms occur after the mold spores have been allowed to develop and grow. If you’ve had the leak for only a short length of time, the health risks should be quite low, as long as you ensure to fully dry your garage in the future. There is some more useful information at http://www.mold-exposure-symptoms.com/. However, if in doubt your GP would be able to provide further advice if you’re still concerned.


waterdamageexpert August 30, 2014 at 7:31 am

Thanks, we’ve optimized the site to run on mobile devices. Glad you’ve noticed!


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