Water Damage Categories: How to Identify What You’re Dealing With

August 24, 2022

Water damage can come from many sources and in several forms, but when people are talking about the categories and classes of water damage, there are specific terms and definitions to consider. There are three main water damage categories and each has its own considerations when it comes to clean up and restoration. In this article, we’ll talk a little about each and help you figure out what’s best for your situation.

Clean Water/Sanitary Liquids

Known as Category One, clean water is the safest kind of water damage. This usually comes from broken pipes or the water supply lines or appliances in your home. This involves water that is free of environmental toxins, sewage, and other issues. It is usually easy to clean up and involves the least risk of potential side effects down the line.

Although clean water can still cause alot of damage, it is usually the only one that can be a DIY cleanup project because the other two categories present safety concerns. Hopefully repair work won't be required from the water intrusion.

Grey Water

This second category of water damage is a bit riskier than the first but still may not pose a severe threat to humans. This involves things like water from toilets and washing machines, sump pump backups, and other waters that may or may not be contaminated. Even if there is no immediate threat, the chemicals and risks involved with grey water damage could prove to have an impact further down the line.

This kind of water is best cleaned up by water damage restoration professionals who can determine the actual threat level and clean, disinfect and dry your home accordingly so that it can get back to good condition sooner than later.

Black Water/Toxic Liquids

Category Three water damage, or black water damage is the most extreme. It requires swift and safe action by professional water remediation experts to prevent health risks. Black water refers to any water from floods, seawater, river and groundwater, and sewage backup. This kind of water damage could lead to dangerous mold growth, as well as things like E. Coli, salmonella, Hepatitis, and other conditions that are related to bacteria and contaminants in the water.

In serious instances, black water damage can lead to serious illness or even death. Black mold can start to develop in as little as 24 hours after water damage occurs, so a quick response is a must. Many water damage restoration companies like Clarke Contractors Inc. offer 24/7 emergency services for quick response to water and fire damage.

Regardless of the type of water damage you are facing, you’ll want to call in the pros to make sure that the job is done right the first time. Even if you’ve got a clean water backup, you’ll still want someone who can assess the situation and provide you with the best outcome. You can also rely on professional restoration experts to advise on how much it would cost to do repairs and what kind of repairs to anticipate. Plus, they will advise on whether you can anticipate assistance from the insurance company based on what caused the flooding and how severe the damage is.

Now that you know more about water damage categories, you’ll have a better idea of how to proceed with your flooding and water damage issues.


JJ Sterling
As the co-founder of Urban Splatter and an architecture graduate from Chicago, I thrive on crafting a digital nexus where architectural innovation intersects with boundless digital opportunity. My academic roots in the Windy City's rich architectural tapestry inspire a unique vision for Urban Splatter's journey into the ever-evolving digital frontier of design. Join us as we navigate the exciting confluence of structure, style, and technology.

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