Six Facts about Water Damage


When it comes to water damage to a residential or commercial property, there is more than meets the eye.

Here are some water facts and figures as they pertain to the restoration industry:

1. Water is capable of dissolving a variety of different substances. In fact, water is known as the “universal solvent” because it dissolves more substances than any other liquid.

2. A sheet of drywall standing upright with its edge sitting in a ½” of water can wick water up to 6 inches in less than three hours.

3. Mold typically begins to grow in 24 to 48 hours in an untreated moist environment.

4. A good indication of a failing hot water heater is a puddle of water underneath it, indicating a slow leak, or rusted or corroded fittings on the top of the heater. If you don’t investigate the leak ASAP, you may quickly flood your home because water heaters are under a great deal of water pressure.

5. There are three categories of water contamination defined in the restoration industry:

  • Category One – Water from a clean water source with no substantial risk of causing sickness or discomfort. Examples include water from a broken water supply pipe or an overflowing bath tub.
  • Category Two – Water that has a significant degree of chemical, biological, and/or physical contamination. Examples include water from aquariums, dishwasher or clothes washer leaks, and water entering the structure from below grade. Discharged Category One water that sits untreated more for more than 24 hours becomes Category Two.
  • Category Three – Water emanating from a grossly unsanitary source or carrying disease causing agents. Examples include discharges from sewer or septic systems/pipes and flood waters. Discharged Category One water that sits more for more than 48 hours becomes Category Three. Discharged Category Two water that sits more for more than 24 hours becomes Category Three.

6. Controlling pathogenic microorganisms during a restoration project may require the use of chemical agents that act as biocides. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has defined three levels of biocidal activity:

  • Sanitizers – Designed to reduce the number of microorganisms.
  • Disinfectants – Designed to destroy or inhibit the growth of microorganisms but not necessarily their spores.
  • Sterilizer – Designed to destroy all microorganisms (fungi/molds, bacteria, viruses, etc.) and their spores.

Some relevant conversions:
 14 cubic feet of air weighs 1 lb.
 1 gallon of water weighs 8.34 lbs.
 7.48 gallons in a cubic foot.
 1 cubic foot of water weighs 62.4 lbs.

No need to remember all of this scientific stuff, at Massaro Restoration Services we put our expert knowledge to work in getting you quickly back to normal after a water loss disaster.


Article by Franco Tavella, Business Development Executive

12 thoughts on “Six Facts about Water Damage

  1. I knew water dissolved a lot of things, but I didn’t know it dissolves more than any other liquid. That’s pretty cool. I also didn’t know that mold can get started so soon, but then again, I don’t live in a moist environment. Thanks for all of the info!

  2. I thought it was interesting that the article points out that water is a universal solvent and can break down almost anything. I can see why it can cause so much damage if allowed to sit. I would imagine that repairing the damage could take a long time, but finding a company that can take care of it is great.

  3. This is a really cool experiment, gives us some ideas and Tips for Handling Fire Damage Before Professionals Get There. Thanks for the post.

  4. I appreciate that you point out that mold typically begins to grow in 24 to 48 hours in an untreated moist environment. I can see why this would be so important to know so that you can get the issue quickly taken care of. You might even think of what things you need to move quickly so that they don’t get ruined beyond repair. I’m thinking these would be any electronics, books, or furniture.

  5. Thank you for the definition of micro organism controllers. You’ll probably want a sterilizer to prevent mold. Water can cause structural and health risks.

  6. My fiance and I are experiencing some water damage in our home and we need to get a service to help us fix it. We had no idea that there were three types of water contamination in the restoration industry. This is also something we would like checked out by the service we hire.

  7. Thanks for the information! I wasn’t aware that water dissolved more substances than any other liquid. If my house encountered water damage, I’d definitely call a professional immediately. It’s also to make sure no further damage occurs.

  8. It’s astounding to learn that there are three categories of water contamination defined in the restoration industry, with category three being the most hazardous. I’ll be sure to take notes of this and use this as a reference for the future. As for now, I’ll try looking for a good service to help out with our category one. Thanks for the indulging article!

  9. I think I got a category 2 damage degree when a roof leak completely damaged a good portion of our ceiling. It rotted the wood and went right through the paint. Ended up being a huge headache and took forever, but at least our insurance company stepped in.

  10. I’ve been wanting to get some water damage services, and I think that being able to get some tips would be nice. I like that you pointed out that there’s different levels of water contamination you should know. I’m going to have to see if we can get help from some local water damage services and see what we can find!

  11. I never knew that there are three categories of water damage, and I think my sister’s house is under the first category. As you mentioned, it is when there is water damage due to broken pipes which can cause discomfort for the people living in the house. From what I heard, her husband noticed the flooding in their kitchen this evening and tried to look for the cause by following the flow. He found out that there was a broken pipe under the sink. Thanks!

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