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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Water Damage Mitigation vs. Restoration | Process, Costs & Timelines

12/13/2020 (Permalink)

Brown and white house in flood, with car almost completely submerged. They're definitely going to need some restoration.

After a flood, a burst pipe, a leaking dishwasher, or any kind of water emergency, what do you need: water damage mitigation, or water damage restoration?

Often, you need both. We’ve been helping home and business owners all over Western New York recover from water damage for over 25 years from our home base here in Hamburg, and we’re proud to say we do it all (including reconstruction!). 

So what’s the difference between mitigation and restoration? We’ll tell you.

Water Mitigation Versus Water Damage Restoration

Both mitigation and restoration share the goal of reducing the damage that your structure and contents suffer from water. The basic idea is that, if water damage can be dealt with quickly and effectively, much of your structure and contents can be saved instead of replaced. This helps to limit the disruption to your life that water damage can cause, as well as save you (and your insurance carrier) money in the long run. 

Usually, the first thing we do when we arrive at a loss is water damage mitigation. This process is designed to prevent any further water damage from occurring. As part of our 1-4-8 Response Guarantee, we’ll be on-site within four hours of your initial call to begin the mitigation process - and usually much sooner. 

Mitigation activities vary depending on the location, severity and type of water loss. Often, mitigation means extracting water, removing materials that cannot be salvaged, and drying materials that can be saved. This can often mean that some level of demolition has to occur, as in flood cutting walls to remove insulation and dry out wall cavities. This sort of work is necessary to prevent long-lasting damage to the structure, as well as mold growth.

Restoration, on the other hand, is the process of repairing, rebuilding and reconstructing after the mitigation process has ended. Restoration work can be even more varied than mitigation work, as it is entirely dependent on the type and scope of damage. If demolition was necessary, then restoration might include reconstruction. If water has sat for too long at the structure, some level of mold remediation might be necessary as well. It all depends on the emergency. 

Restoration usually begins once mitigation has ended. There’s no sense in trying to restore a structure that’s still actively being damaged by water, after all. 

At SERVPRO of The Southtowns, we do it all - mitigation, restoration, reconstruction and more. As full-service water damage professionals, we make the process simple and straightforward for our customers.

Scope of Water Damage Mitigation Work

It’s difficult to list out every single mitigation service we provide, as they’re so context-driven. However, we can go over some common themes to give you an idea of the scope of what we do.

Often, our first priority is protecting a structure from the elements so no more water gets in. If the roof has been damaged, we might tarp it up. If windows have been broken, we’ll have to board them up. There’s no point in starting mitigation if more water will get in before the process is complete. 

Next, we’ll focus on detecting and eliminating moisture. Our powerful truck-mounted extractors can remove water from carpets and floors very quickly, avoiding serious damage from letting the water sit. Moisture meters can be used to detect water within the walls of a structure, helping us to figure out the best way to dry a building. Commercial-grade drying equipment like dehumidifiers, air scrubbers and air movers can then be placed to dry the structure - hopefully, with a minimal amount of demolition.

Finally, our team will clean and disinfect the loss site. This might entail clearing debris, like tree branches and shingles. It also often entails disinfecting and applying antimicrobial agents to inhibit the growth of mold.

Scope of Water Damage Restoration Work

The goal of restoration is just that - to restore a loss site to the condition it was in before the water emergency (or in some cases, even better condition). 

Imagine if hardwood flooring was severely damaged by standing water. It’s warped and soaked, so the mitigation team pulled it out to dry the structure and remediate mold growth. The restoration team might lay down new floors once they confirm the structure is truly dry. They’ll also replace any cut or demolished walls, repair the roof and reinstall any fixtures that might have been removed. Whatever needs to happen, our restoration team can handle it.

How long do mitigation and restoration take?

Water damage mitigation and restoration are emergency services, so the faster they can safely be completed, the better. The length of time that they take, however, depends entirely on the scope of the damage.

Our 1-4-8 Response Guarantee is designed to kick this process off as quickly and effectively as possible. It breaks down like this:

  • Within one hour, our on-call manager will return your call - even if you called at 3am.
  • Within four hours, we’ll be on-site to begin emergency services.
  • Within eight hours, we’ll provide you with a verbal briefing on the scope of work. 

In that eight hour period, it’s likely that we’ll focus entirely on the mitigation side of things. Restoration can take much longer depending on the damage. An unfinished basement with stone floors is much easier to restore than a finished basement with carpets, contents and greater potential for mold growth. 

If you have water damage, your best bet is to call SERVPRO of The Southtowns ASAP to get the mitigation process started. The quicker you start, the better chance you have of keeping the process short and getting your life back to normal faster. 

How much does water damage mitigation and restoration cost?

Unfortunately, we can’t really answer this question - it’s like asking “how long is a piece of string?” It depends on the situation. We can, however, talk about some of the factors that affect cost.

Take, for instance, the type of water. Water damage from a clean source is inexpensive to restore compared to “black” water from a contaminated source, and more material will likely have to be replaced. 

The amount of water, obviously, is also a major factor. A little bit of leakage from your dishwasher is nothing compared to a flood blowing through your window straight from Lake Erie. 

The amount of time the water dwells can have a huge effect on cost as well. Water does more damage over time, but more than that, it can also lead to the development of mold if left unattended. 

If you’re concerned about cost, our advice to you is this: call both SERVPRO and your insurance carrier as quickly as you can. The sooner we can get started, the more contained your costs will be. The sooner you kick the claims process off, the sooner you’ll find out the extent of your coverage. 

If you’d like, we can also provide an estimate on water damage mitigation and restoration before we get started. The danger with estimates, however, is that if you wait too long to start the process, the damage will become more severe and the entire job will become more costly.

That said, if you have water damage and you’re worried about cost, call us at 716-646-6684 to talk through your options and get a sense of what the process might entail. We’ll do our best to put your mind at ease. 

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