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Types Of Water Damage Categories and Classes

Imagine the following scenario: You return to your south-central Montana home from a relaxing vacation with your family and upon entering, you are greeted by the smell of mildew and sewage. Your investigation reveals that your upstairs toilet sprung a leak, releasing a deluge of water onto the tile which soaked through to the subfloor and damaged the downstairs ceiling. Now you have a huge mess on your hands.

If this has happened to you, you are not alone. According to Income Property Management, the annual cost of water damage in the United States is $13 billion, and 14,000 Americans a day face a water damage emergency.

Unfortunately, many things can go wrong in a home or commercial structure and result in water damage. This includes malfunctioning plumbing or appliances; old supply hoses; dry rot in wood; clogged gutters; leaking, blocked, or burst pipes; and, of course, natural disasters such as storms and excessive rainfall.

Most importantly, you must act quickly if your home or property is damaged by moisture by employing an experienced restoration contractor to avoid dangerous situations and prevent further damage.

As a home or business owner, or a facility or commercial property owner or manager in the Billings area, it pays to understand the three classes and four categories of water damage. This knowledge will allow you to communicate clearly with your contractors, insurance agents and adjusters, and tenants. Here’s what you need to know about each one.

pipe burst water damage

The Three Water Damage Categories

Category 1 –This occurs when water originates from a sanitary source and does not pose a substantial threat if ingested or inhaled. Among the causes of this type of damage are broken appliances, sink overflows, melting ice or snow, or rainwater.

Category 2– This means that the water is contaminated with unsafe levels of microorganisms or nutrients for microorganisms and may cause sickness if it is ingested or inhaled. Examples of this type of water loss include a washing machine or dishwasher overflow; and broken toilets, sump pumps, or aquariums.

Category 3– Category 3 water is unsanitary because it contains bacteria and other organisms that can cause sickness. Possible sources include sewage, toilet backflows, seawater flooding, and groundwater that infiltrates a structure from weather-related events such as tropical storms or hurricanes.

The Four Classes of Water Damage

The class of water damage refers to the amount of water and rate of evaporation and is important in assessing repair options.

Class 1– This type of water damage is the easiest situation to remedy. It usually affects part of a room or an area with materials that absorb minimal amounts of moisture.

Class 2– Class 2 water damage has a fast rate of absorption, which means that at least an entire room and materials such as carpet and upholstery are saturated, and moisture remains in materials such as plywood.

Class 3– Class 3 water damage usually comes from overhead sources such as sprinklers and soaks walls, ceilings, furniture, and subfloor.

Class 4– This type of water damage requires longer drying times and special water restoration and removal procedures and may affect materials such as hardwood, plaster, brick, concrete, and stone.

Act Quickly and Get Help With Water Damage at Your Montana Property

Regardless of what type of water damage your home or property has sustained, and even if you have your own cleaning or maintenance crew, you must seek help from an experienced restoration contractor as soon as possible. If you try to do it yourself or wait too long to remediate the damage, you may experience greater destruction or increased business downtime and risk your health or that of your staff or occupants. For example, removing large amounts of mold on your own – especially black mold – can make you sick.

The longer water sits after a flood or other catastrophic event, the more likely it will become contaminated, necessitating more extensive cleanup. Professional disaster restoration companies have access to industrial size dryers and other essential gear that allow speedy removal of the offending moisture, protecting your home or business and keeping you out of harm’s way.

The Billings Area’s Premier Disaster Restoration Contractor

Alpha-Omega Disaster Restoration is the preferred local commercial and residential disaster restoration company serving south-central Montana including Billinngs, Billings West End, Billings Heights, Laurel, Red Lodge. Alpha-Omega has served home and business owners in the Billings area for 15 years.

We employ industry experts who serve as trusted advisors to our clients, allowing us to go above and beyond to produce high-quality emergency and reconstruction services. Let us know how we can help!

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Why Choose Us

We will work directly with your insurance company to make the process painless.
We are an IICRC-certified firm. Click on “Certified Experience” above to learn more about the importance of hiring a certified firm.
Get the very best disaster restoration service — at a fair price.
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We have highly-trained employees who are your go-to team with over 50 years of combined experience in the restoration industry.
We have the right tools to save you time and money. Get it done right the first time.

Reviews from Our Clients


"Luckily I have never needed to use a restoration company, but as someone who has worked closely with Alpha Omega, they have treated my clients very well, and have always been honest and very transparent. Although their whole team is very professional and punctual, Carissa and Sonya have been great to work with."


"Best service in town! I had water leaking through my basement ceiling from the overflow drain in my upstairs bathtub. They showed up immediately after I called, they were super professional and helped me find the leak and even told me how I can fix it myself. I was so impressed how well the turned my problem around."

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