Water damage to a home or property, whether as a result of natural disaster, fire abatement or a burst pipe or other plumbing issue, can have lasting and sometimes irreparable effects if not dealt with quickly. Structural, electrical, and plumbing damages all play a role in whether a house can be restored, and they can determine the labor and money required to do so. A professional water damage restoration company employs experts at assessing water damage, identifying problem areas, and performing repairs. In instances of severe water damage, a water damage restoration company is an essential part of ensuring repairs are completed safely and accurately. A good restoration company also ensures that correct treatments are applied to prevent any future problems, such as insect infestations, mold growth, or structural damage to the property. In cases when your homeowner’s insurance covers all or part of the cost of repairing damage from water, hiring a water damage restoration company helps maximize that benefit by verifying that restoration is done correctly and completely, and guaranteeing the quality of the restoration work. So, how do you find a good water damage restoration company, and just how much does water damage restoration cost? Here’s how to find and hire a qualified company to restore your property after water damage.
File a water damage claim with your insurance company.
The specifics of filing a claim can vary slightly from one provider to another. But the first step is always documenting water damage immediately after it happens. Next, you should contact your insurance agent, state your interest in making a claim and explain the situation in detail. If the water damage is covered, the insurance company will likely send an inspector to verify the extent of damage and determine an appropriate coverage threshold.
To get the most out of an insurance claim, you should:
- Take dated, time-stamped pictures and videos of the damage as proof.
- Control the damage by taking immediate action, such as drying spaces and removing damaged goods.
- Report all damages and the repair process to insurance as soon as possible.
- Partner with an adjuster to make sure estimates are reasonable and all repairs are fully paid.
Don’t automatically contract the water restoration your insurance company chooses.
Along with determining your coverage amount and benefit payment threshold, your insurance company is likely to recommend a restoration company they have worked with before. While you may choose to simply go with your insurance company’s preferred vendor, you do not have to hire that vendor. If the insurer’s preferred vendor tells you they can’t come right away to assess the damage, or does not have expanded, job-specific insurance coverage of their own, you may want to pass on the recommendation. In all cases of significant water damage, you want to speak with multiple restoration companies, and compare qualifications, responsiveness and your comfort level speaking with the company, in order to make the best hiring decision,.
Some restoration companies provide services for many different types of home and property damage, including fire, water and mold. Others specialize exclusively in water damage restoration. Depending on the cause of the damage to your home or property, you may want to consult with a company that covers different types of restoration jobs. No matter what type of restoration a company provides, you should look for these qualities when you call for information:
1. License and Insurance. You can usually find a company’s license number and certifications on their website. Check for:
- An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) license number
- EPA “lead-safe” certification
- Certification from the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration (IIRC), which holds a company to specific professional standards
Confirm that the company is properly insured, not just with general liability coverage, but Contractors Pollution Liability (CPL) insurance, which covers things like drying, roofing, window replacement, and other services associated with mold remediation
2. Responsiveness. Water damage restoration usually requires swift action in order to avoid future problems. If a damage restoration contractor doesn’t offer round-the-clock response, or tells you they can’t come to your home or property for several days, it’s time to move on to another candidate.
3. Transparency. A water damage restoration company should answer all of your questions knowledgeably and honestly. Any request for license, certification or insurance proof should be responded to immediately. If you have come across any negative reviews of the company online or elsewhere, they should be able to explain the situation that resulted in the review, and how it was addressed. It’s also worth your while to ask for references that you can speak to about their own experience with the company.
Get more than one written quote for the damage restoration.
The cost of water damage restoration depends on the extent of repair services required. Minor damage may be quite affordable, while more serious issues can cost a significant amount. The national average for water damage restoration services is around $3,000 but can range anywhere from several hundred dollars to $10,000 or more, depending on the scale of a particular job. Services, such as professionally drying a basement, can be moderately priced, while large-scale mold removal and foundation repair are expensive jobs. Pricing can also vary based on your geographic area and the age of your home. Most importantly, be skeptical of any damage restoration company that quotes you a price without first conducting a thorough assessment of your property and the damage it has incurred.
Based on national averages, homeowners can generally expect to pay the following prices for basic water damage restoration services:
- Roof water damage: $750
- Bathroom plumbing repairs: $250
- Drywall replacement: $240 per four square feet
- Flooring replacement (linoleum or vinyl): $1,000 per 200 square feet
- Door replacement: $500
- Window replacement: Up to $1,500
Understand the water damage restoration process and how it will impact your living situation.
A water damage restoration team will first inspect the property to determine the extent of the repairs needed. If the damage is extensive, and affects your kitchen and/or bathroom(s), you may need to temporarily relocate during the restoration process. Depending on your homeowner’s insurance policy coverage, you may receive funds to cover the cost of this temporary relocation.
The next step of the restoration process involves cleaning up any remaining water, drying out the house, and venting it as soon as possible. The next steps will depend on the state of the home. There may not be any further action required if the damage is mild. Additional steps may involve removing furniture and carpets, eliminating mold, treating insect infestations, removing and replacing damaged drywall, or partnering with a contractor to address structural damage.
Once the water damage restoration is completed—a process that typically takes several days to a couple of weeks—you should be able to utilize all areas of your home with a sense of reassuring and security.
ExperTip: Be mindful that the machinery needed to extract water from a home can be loud and disruptive, and the process can be messy. Consider the comfort and safety of your family and pets first when deciding whether to “brave it ” or seek temporary accommodation elsewhere.
Ready to speak to a professional? Here’s our list of the best water damage restoration companies near you.