Understanding The Difference Between Water Damage Mitigation, Remediation, And Restoration

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If your home is damaged by water from a broken pipe or flood event, then you need to understand the difference between each of these three terms:

  1. water damage mitigation
  2. water damage remediation
  3. water damage restoration

Although these three terms are often used interchangeably, they actually refer to three distinct things. And, understanding this will make negotiating damage claims with your homeowner's or flood insurance a lot easier.

To help you out, here are the basics you need to know:

1. Water Damage Mitigation

The term "water damage mitigation" refers to the process of preventing additional damage by stopping the flow of water and removing any standing water that can be removed. 

While floodwaters will obviously need to recede on their own over time, a broken pipe can immediately have the water turned off to it to stop any additional water flow that will make the damage worse.

2. Water Damage Remediation

While water damage mitigation addresses the immediate issues of turning off the water and preventing additional damage, the term "water damage remediation" refers to the process of salvaging anything that got wet but can still be saved.

Typical water damage mitigation tasks are:

  • cleaning and drying things out
  • sanitation to prevent mold and mildew growth
  • minor drywall and flooring repairs

Typically, hard goods such as cabinets, furniture, and items made of non-porous materials can be salvaged after a flood simply by being dried well and treated for mold.

However, absorbent building materials such as drywall and wall-to-wall carpeting will often need to be replaced.

3. Water Damage Restoration

The third term "water damage restoration" refers to the process of returning your home to its pre-loss state.

After the restoration process is completed, your home will be structurally sound with no remaining hazards such as mold or mildew growth.

The water damage restoration process typically involves fixing or replacing such things as:

  • walls and ceilings
  • drywall and insulation
  • wall-to-wall carpets and cabinets

In addition, the restoration process will also include the replacement of plumbing or electrical systems, or their individual components, that were irreparably damaged by the flooding water.

Finally, if your home was involved in a major flood event where the entire house was inundated by over a foot of water, then the water damage restoration process will likely involve reconstructing whole rooms or perhaps even replacing the entire house if the damage is too severe for restoration.