How Water Damages Building Materials

Water damage color classifications, timeframes and best next steps

Let’s face it, a fire, water or mold emergency is never fun. A water emergency can be a minor faucet leak, a major main pipe break or something in the middle. The cost of fixing the damage can become expensive, especially the longer you wait. It is recommended for you to act quickly to help reduce the amount of damage to your home. Contacting an Omaha water restoration company such as Restoration Now! can give you a peace of mind. Below, our team has put together a list of the damage which water can cause over time.

How water damages building materials

Water can damage building materials within minutes, hours, or weeks. Almost immediately, water damage expands to additional areas originally damaged by its effects, inflicting secondary damage. Why is this significant? It increases the overall scope of claims to insurance companies, while raising claim costs. Some examples of water damage that can occur within minutes are the transference of stains due to metal or wood furniture, especially if they’re antique. Carpets can become stained, furniture can become discolored, and if paper goods are subjected to water, they’ll start to split, swell, and warp.

First hours of water damage

When it comes to water damage, every minute counts. Within hours, water damage can cause uncoated metal surfaces to tarnish and furniture to swell, split, and warp. Standing water will develop a musty odor. In addition, wet drywall will start to absorb the water and then what began as a clean water intrusion will transition to a much more serious gray water issue. Not all water damage is visual. It is recommended for you to contact a water restoration professional such as Restoration Now! Omaha to ensure that all damage has been identified.

Water damage in a few days when left untreated

After only a few days, uncoated metal surfaces will start to rust. Fungi will also develop, bringing with it a strong musty odor which poses health risks. Clean water damage now becomes a gray water intrusion, causing wet drywall and other porous structures to disintegrate. Electronic components in your home may begin to operate erratically or fail completely, and if you have an organ or piano, its internal parts may swell and warp.

Why quick action is required with gray water damage

As mentioned in our “Complete Mold Removal” article, water damage left untreated for weeks brings with it severe consequences, such as serious health hazards. It is recommended to contact us, as our professional water restoration team can remedy all water damage issues. When water damage is left untreated, chemicals within wood will start to dissolve and their finishes will either dissolve or be destroyed. Mold spores will develop, leading to erosion in natural fibers, paneling and paper coverings on drywall. Water damage left untreated will turn black, resulting in building materials having to be demolished or replaced entirely.

Differences between clean, gray, and black types of water

When we talk about clean, gray, and black categories of water and the types of damage associated with each, clean water does not pose substantial harm to humans, whereas black water is on the other side of that spectrum.

Clean Water
Water damage emergencies are commonly due to broken water supply lines, problems with appliances, a tub overflowing or falling rainwater. It is recommended to contact a water restoration professional in Omaha to treat water damage prior to it mixing with other materials or surfaces. When water is left for a long period of time, its status color will go from clean to gray to black.

Gray Water
When water damage is not addressed immediately, the clean color will transform to gray which is a sign that there is a degree of contaminants. The health risks associated with gray water may be associated with substantial discomfort or illness as it carries microorganisms. Typically, gray water is due to overflows from washing machines, major appliances breaking or discharge from dishwashers. The longer it exists or the higher the temperature of the environment it exists in, the worse it becomes.

Black Water
Gray water due to flooded structures can change to black water within forty eight hours if left untreated. Black water always contains agents which are capable of producing disease due to being grossly unsanitary, and commonly arise from contaminated water or sewage. In some cases black water could also include medical wastes or extremely dangerous chemicals.

Professional Tip: The black category is also defined as all ground water, water from a sea and river or stream water hence while sanitizing water prior to drinking is a must.

Why are categories of water important? The category of water helps identify the precautions that need to be taken prior to placing airflow on the drying job.