Water Damage Repair: How the IICRC Loss Categorization

Water damage repair, under the IICRC’s S-500, is broken off into three categories. These categories are based upon the level of contamination from the water source.

Category 1 – water from a clean or sanitary source. This includes water from broken clean water supply lines. Clean water from toilet tank or bowl, faucets, and bottled water. However, even if the water source may be clean. It can quickly become a category 2 or 3 depending on factors as time, temperature, and contact with contaminants.

Category 2 – is water with some level of contamination that can cause discomfort or illness if ingested. Commonly known as gray water. Often this water source is from washing machines; toilet overflow with some urine, but no feces, and dishwashers. However, it can quickly become a category 3 depending on factors as time, temperature, and contact with contaminants.

Category 3 – is water that is grossly unsanitary. Could cause severe illness or death if ingested. Commonly known as black water. Common sources for category 3 water include sewageflooding from rivers or streams, wind driven rain, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces, and standing water that has begun to support mold growth.

Water damage repair is also classified into one of the following:

Class 1 – has the least amount of water. This includes water damages that affect only part of a room or area with little or no wet carpet and/or cushion are present.

Class 2 – has a large amount of water. This includes water damages that affect at least an entire room or carpet and pad. Where water has wicked up walls less than 24″ and there is moisture remaining in structural materials like drywall, plywood, structural wood and concrete.

Class 3 – has the greatest amount of water. Where water has wicked up over 24″, may have come overhead affecting ceilings, walls, insulation, carpet, cushion, and sub-floor. The entire area is saturated.

Class 4 – are specialty drying situation that consists of wet materials that are nonporous like hardwood, plaster, brick, concrete and stone. Normally there are areas of deep saturation and requires very low specific humidity.

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