Sometimes even something as seemingly minor as a small roof leak can turn into a much larger problem. Water is called the “Universal Solvent” for its ability to affect pretty much anything given enough time. So when water gets into your home, business, or commercial property from a roof leak, failed gutter, severe weather, or a ruptured water line, the damage can be severe. Not to mention costly.

Acting fast to stop the flow of water is a critical first step in minimizing and controlling the damage. Though even with the leak plugged, the water drained or contained, and the drying process started, you can still be looking at relatively concerning costs to restore your property’s like-new appearance.

To truly understand the process, and the overarching costs of water damage restoration, it helps to ask some key questions. Keep in mind that these are not hard true costs. Every situation is different, and depending on what happens when dwellings are explored during the cleanup process can sway things greatly in either direction.

What Are The Common Causes Of Water Damage?

Water damage can come from a variety of sources, which can affect the severity of the damage as well as the cost of water restoration cleanup.

Pipe Ruptures

Freshwater lines bringing cold water into the building as well as overhead fire sprinkler leaks are common causes of water damage in a building.

Gutter & Roof Damage

Storm damage and improperly cleaned gutters can cause rainwater to infiltrate a building. Once this happens the water can easily travel astonishing distances through the substructure of the roof to affect areas that might be far from the original point of origin.

Sewer Backups & Plumbing Failures

The internal drain lines for toilets and sinks that fail, leak, or backup can send that water back into the building. It’s also possible for failures in the municipal sewer lines to clog or back up sending untreated black water back into the building. This is even more likely to be a problem during a severe storm that causes localized flooding. In some of these cases, the fumes and potential pathogens can be a serious cause for concern. This can compound the cost of water restoration cleanup significantly.

What Is The Average Cost Of Water Damage Restoration?

The cost of water damage restoration can vary widely depending on the size of the compromised area, as well as the materials that were affected, how long those materials were saturated, as well as other key factors. The national average for water damage restoration tends to fall in a range between $3.75 to $7 per square foot.

Can I Handle Water Damage Restoration Myself?

Most people and even professional custodial staff simply don’t have the training and commercial-grade equipment to effectively remediate and restore significant water damage. While you might be able to remove the obvious water and affect a reasonable level of drying, there can still be serious water deposits and overly wet materials in the affected area that can lead to long-term problems. This includes things like material rot as well as a potentially dangerous indoor mold infestation.

Not only can these things be costly to repair later on, but they can also turn into a liability issue that can be a major factor in a commercial property. In many of these cases, local inspectors might be called in to assess if an improperly restored site is truly safe for the public, as well as insurance companies adjusting their premium rates.

If your property or commercial building has suffered serious water damage, it’s best to call in professionals who have the training, experience, and professional-grade equipment to safely, and cost-effectively restore the site.

Does The Type Of Water Affect The Cost?

The type of water can affect the cost of water damage restoration. In general, so-called “Clean” water from something like a ruptured freshwater line or a roof leak will cost less than water damage caused by gray water drain lines or black water from a backed-up sewer system. When considering the water type, you can use the following as a ballpark price guide.

Clean water: $3.75 per sq. ft.
Gray water: $4.50 per sq. ft.
Blackwater or sewage: $7 per sq. ft.

Clean Water

This is water damage caused by a ruptured fresh water line, such as a sprinkler pipe or a sink’s cold water line. Clean water might also come from an immediate roof leak.

Gray Water

This is water that comes from a less pure source. It might be a ruptured drain pipe from a bathroom sink, shower, or locker room. It could also be from a compromised gutter or a roof leak that has traveled through different layers of the building.

Black Water

This is typically sewage caused by a ruptured sewer main, a backed-up sewer pipe, or a bathroom toilet malfunction.

Material & Surface Factors That Can Affect Water Damage Cleanup Costs

The type of surface and material that is compromised by a water intrusion event can also affect the price.

Drywall – While it is relatively inexpensive to dispose of and replace the cost of restoring drywall that’s been affected by water can cost as much as $1.50 per square foot. While a section of drywall might not seem severely compromised at first, once it is wet this material is at high long-term risk of developing a severe mold problem in the future.

Ceiling – Ceilings and ceiling tiles that are affected by water can also be costly. The type of material the ceiling is made out of will greatly affect the overall price. Especially if the ceiling structure has started to sag. You can expect an estimated cost of $500 to $1,000 to properly restore a water-affected ceiling section measuring between 500 to 700 square feet.

Carpeting – By their very nature, carpets are very absorbent. Once they are soaked it can be very difficult to extract all the water and dry the carpet down to the underlayment padding. The average price of drying and restoring a soaked carpet can range between $1 to $2 per square foot. You can then compare this price against the cost of completely replacing all the affected carpets.

Dangers of Mold

Water damage and mold problems go together like peanut butter and jelly. If your property has been affected by water for more than a few days, then you should expect there to be some degree of mold remediation or mold prevention costs.

In a minor case, where the area has been soaked for just a few days mold preventative strategies can be used to prevent mold spores from colonizing the area. If an active mold problem is found in the area, porous materials might need to be professionally cleaned or properly disposed of.