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How Much Does Water Damage Restoration Cost?

By Luke Armstrong

Torrential rains, violent storms, burst pipes, faulty appliances, leaky faucets, clogged toilets, foundation cracks, and leaking roofs can all result in severe water damage to a home. Yet, every water damage scenario is different – the extent and type of damage vary considerably from one situation to the next and so do the required mitigation procedures.

Water damage can compromise the structural integrity of a home and pose health threats to the occupants.
Water damage can wreak havoc in your home.

It is, therefore, impossible to have a set cost for water damage restoration – each restoration job is unique and the price can range from as little as $500 to over $10,000, depending on the specific circumstances in every individual case. Clear water from broken pipes or rain, for example, is less difficult and less costly to clean up than water from a backed-up sewer line; household surfaces that have been dried out within 48 hours after the incident are much easier and cheaper to restore than materials that have stayed underwater for long and have been affected by mold or rotting; etc.

In any event, the average cost of drying out a property is $2,600, while the average cost of repairing the sustained water damage is around $7,500. The actual water damage restoration cost you’re going to pay, however, may be much lower or significantly higher, depending on a number of factors.

Factors That Determine the Cost of Water Damage Repair

Repairing water damage is so expensive because it is necessary to not only dry out the home and fix the source of the damage but also to restore the affected areas and materials. Therefore, the cost of the restoration process is influenced by a great number of factors:

1) Category – The category of the water damage refers to the source of the excess water and its cleanliness and safety:

  • Category 1: Clean water – Water from rain, broken pipes, leaky faucets, etc. that poses no health risks and is quite easy to deal with. The cost of cleaning up the damage and drying out the affected areas starts at $3.75 per square foot;
  • Category 2: Gray water – Water discharged from malfunctioning appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines, that contains harmful chemicals (cleaning agents, detergents, etc.) and poses minor health threats. Gray water is slightly more expensive to deal with than clear water – around $4.50 per square foot;
  • Category 3: Black water Sewage water or floodwater that is swarming with hazardous contaminants and constitutes an extreme health risk. Blackwater cleanup is costlier as it requires specialized equipment, stringent disinfection processes, and experienced remediation crews. The average black water mitigation cost is $7.00 per square foot, but the restoration costs are much higher as anything that may have absorbed the contaminated water (upholstered furniture, carpeting, clothing, and all permeable building materials) should be replaced.

Keep in mind that any category of water damage can degrade quickly if left untreated, so you need to act quickly in order to prevent greater trouble and costlier repairs.

2) Size of the affected area – It is only logical that the water damage repair cost will increase in proportion to the size of the affected area. In fact, most water damage restoration companies base their initial estimates on the square footage of the area they will be working to restore. A 2,600 square foot house sustaining the same degree of damage as a 1400 square foot home, for example, will cost more to restore as the area is bigger and there will be more water cleanup to be done and more ruined household materials and structures to be repaired or replaced. There will also be more content restoration because of the greater number of items in the house.

The water damage repair cost depends on the extent of the damage.
Drying your home within 24-48 hours after the accident will help prevent serious water damage and costly repairs.

3) Height of water – The more water there is in a home, the more difficult it will be to remove it and the greater damage it will cause to the household materials. The National Flood Insurance Program estimates that if standing water reaches one to four inches, the restoration cost will be about $7,800 (for a 1,000 square feet home). Nine to twelve inches will cost nearly $19,000, while eighteen inches of water can require over $26,000.

4) Time underwater – The longer the water stays in a home, the more time it has to penetrate the household materials and compromise their structural integrity – mold will start growing on the affected surfaces, wood will begin to rot, etc. The damage will become greater with every passing hour and the necessary repairs will get more and more expensive.

5) Class – The class of the water damage determines its severity – if there’s only moisture, then drying out the home will be fast and easy and will not cost much; if there’s damage to floors, ceilings, drywall, or other household materials and content, however, the repairs will be much more difficult, time-consuming, and expensive:

  • Class 1 – When clean or gray water has affected only a small area of the home, the damage is very easy to deal with and the restoration costs can be as little as $250$500. In most cases, class 1 water damage can be cleaned by the homeowner without professional assistance.
  • Class 2 – When an entire room has been affected and the water reaches 9 inches or more, the premises should be dried out and disinfected by a professional and some of the porous materials may need to be repaired or replaced (as they have absorbed too much water). The cleanup and restoration cost will typically range from $1,000 to $4,000.
  • Class 3 – When insulation, drywall, carpeting, ceilings, or floors have been saturated with water, their integrity will be compromised and they will have to be replaced to mitigate the damage and prevent mold problems in the future. Class 3 water damage restoration usually costs about $7,500 (the average water damage claim in the United States).
  • Class 4 – When long-standing water has saturated materials such as stone, brick, and hardwood, the restoration process will require a lot of time and effort – the final cost may soar up to $10,000 or more.

Keep in mind that even if the damage starts out being relatively small, it will quickly become more severe if not addressed in a timely manner – a spill on the floor that is not dried out promptly, for example, will soak the carpeting or wood floor boards, ruining them and resulting in mold growth. The repair and mold remediation costs will quickly spiral out of control, so you need to get water problems diagnosed and solved without delay.

6) Type of affected materials/surfaces – Any household items and building materials that have come in contact with water will deteriorate rather quickly and will need to be repaired or replaced. The restoration costs will, therefore, depend on the cost of the materials, the installation time, and the complexity of the job – hardwood, for example, will be costlier to replace than carpet and plaster walls will be costlier to replace than drywall.

So, how much does it cost to clean up water damage?

Most homeowners pay $2,700 for the removal of the excess water and the drying of the home. Depending on the extent of the damage, the rebuilding and restoration of the affected property could cost much more.

Water Damage Restoration Cost

Water damage cleanup cost starts at $3.75/sq.ft.
Water removal is the first step in the water damage restoration process.

The water damage restoration process can be divided in two main phases – 1) water extraction and drying out and 2) reconstruction and repairs. As already mentioned, the water mitigation cost ranges from $1,000 to $4,000, but the final restoration cost is around $7,800.

Water Damage Cleanup Cost

As detailed above, the average water damage restoration cost per square foot is $3.75 per sq. ft. for clean water, $4.50 per sq. ft. for gray water, and $7 per sq. ft. for black water – for water removal and dry-out ONLY. These costs do not include any reconstruction or replacements required to restore the home to a good condition (such as replacing floors or repairing the roof, for example).

So, apart from the initial water damage cleanup costs, there will be further restoration costs, depending on the extent of the damage and the number of belongings that need to be cleaned, repaired, or replaced.

Water Damage Repair Cost

Once the excess water has been removed and the affected areas dried out and decontaminated, the home needs to be restored to its original condition. Depending on the severity of the damage, the cost of the required repairs may add a lot to the final restoration bill:

  • Water-damaged ceiling repair cost – Removing water-damaged ceiling materials and replacing the ceiling costs about $1.30 per sq. ft. Therefore, you can expect to pay between $500 and $1,000 for repairing a stained, soggy, or sagging ceiling. If the cause of the damage is a leaky roof, you need to add another $800-$1,000 for roof repairs.
  • Drywall water damage repair cost – Installing new drywall is about $1.50 per sq. ft. (the average drywall repair cost is estimated at about $500). Replacing sheetrock costs between $5 and $8 per square foot, while repairing damaged plaster walls ranges from $6.50 to $18.50 per square foot.
  • Water-damaged floor repair cost – Floor repairs typically range between $500 and $800, but could soar up to $2,000 or more – the cost is greatly affected by the specific type of flooring and the length of time water has sat on the floor. Some types of flooring are more permeable than others, so they sustain greater damage and require extensive repairs or replacement, as well as replacement of the subfloor material. Laminates and carpets, for example, soak up liquids very quickly and start breaking down after a short period underwater (allowing water to seep underneath and ruin the subflooring as well), whereas hardwood can sit underwater for some time with little damage. Tile floors are virtually impervious to liquids and unlikely to sustain water damage at all. Replacing baseboards is about $3 per sq. ft., replacing carpets – $3-$6 per sq. ft., and refinishing hardwood – about $10.45/sq.ft.;
  • Basement water damage restoration cost – Basement water damage cleanup cost and repair costs vary widely depending on the cause and extent of the destruction – from $1,000-$1,500 for pumping out a few inches of clear water and drying out a small basement to $10,000 or more for cleaning several feet of sewage backup in a large basement;

    The final water damage restoration cost may be quite high.
    Restoring your home to its original good condition may take a lot of time and effort.
  • Pipe replacement cost – Depending on the number and location of the broken pipes that need to be replaced, the cost can range from $200 to $2,000. (Installing entirely new plumbing in a 1,500-square-foot, two-bathroom home typically runs between $4,000 and $8,000);
  • Mold remediation cost – The average homeowner pays around $2,000 for mold removal, but professional mold remediation can cost anywhere between $500 and $6,000, depending on the size of the affected area and the type of the affected materials.

Work with a Licensed Water Damage Restoration Company

All things said, to get an accurate estimate for the cost of water damage repair, you need to have a water damage restoration company representative inspect and evaluate the affected area.

At RestorationMaster, we provide water damage assessment, water damage cleanup, sewage cleanup, and water damage restoration services to homes and businesses that have sustained damage from excess water or flooding.  We use advanced drying and water extraction equipment to completely remove all standing water and moisture, treat the affected areas with anti-microbial applications to prevent mold growth, and effectively restore water-damaged materials. We also provide a number of specialized services (structural drying, drying of carpeting and wet wood flooring, drywall replacement, debris removal, mold removal, content cleaning and pack-out services, etc.) as part of the water damage restoration process.

We are available 24 hours a day at (888) 915-7197 to respond to your water damage emergency. Our experienced technicians will arrive as soon as possible to stop the water from spreading to new areas, assess the damage, and take the necessary measures to restore the good condition of your property.