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What is Water Damage Mitigation? The Ultimate Guide

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Whether you’re currently dealing with a water catastrophe or not, you can still wonder, “What IS water damage mitigation?” And who better to give you a complete guide to it than a professional mitigation company? Around here, water damage mitigation is our bread and butter. We can answer all the questions you have about it — and in this article, we do!

Table of Contents

What is the Meaning of Water Damage Mitigation?

The definition of “mitigation” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “the act of reducing the severity, seriousness, or painfulness of something”. Mitigation is the job of reducing and eliminating the severity of a leak or flood by stopping the water source and cleaning it up.

Water catastrophes come in many shapes and forms: a burst pipe, overflowed toilet or sink, leaking plumbing, ruptured water heater, leaking water supply hose to a refrigerator or washing machine, or a natural disaster flood are the most common.

Just last week we here at Cleaner Guys got a call from a woman who was doing some renovating, and accidentally drilled through her wall and into a pipe on the other side! Water started spurting everywhere, and she called us while she was plugging the hole. This kind of thing happens all the time.

Mitigation is the beginning of what we do to help that woman; it’s stopping the spread of the damage in its tracks.

Mitigation vs Restoration

These 2 things are extremely similar, and nearly always go hand-in-hand when cleaning up a water catastrophe. However, they are still separate things, and here’s how they differ.

In short, mitigation is all the work it takes to stop the source, assess the damage, clean it up and dry it out, and remove damaged materials. Restoration is replacing everything brand new after all the damage is cleaned up!

Click here to learn more about water damage restoration.

Mitigation vs Remediation

Mitigation and remediation usually overlap each other during the water damage repair process, but they’re still distinct things! In the home damage restoration world, remediation is containing and remedying pollutants and contaminants in an indoor environment. These contaminants are usually mold and mildew.

Very often, water damage creates mold. So while we’re mitigating the water damage, we’re also often remediating the mold it created. Remediation of any contaminants is required in order for the mitigation process to be complete!

What is the Water Damage Mitigation Process?

The water damage mitigation process generally consists of 4 stages: stopping the source of the water, containing the damaged area, removing standing water, and drying out the damaged area.

Below, you can see an actual Cleaner Guys job site in the middle of mitigation! In this water-damaged kitchen, you can see one of the 4 steps in action: drying out the damaged area. The blue equipment is huge high-powered commercial fans, actively drying out the soaked framing, flooring, and walls. The plastic over the fans helps contain and concentrate the air onto the damaged area so that it will dry out faster.

To get more details about every step of water mitigation and restoration, click here.

Photo from an actual Cleaner Guys job site.

How Long Does Water Damage Mitigation Take?

Water damage mitigation alone usually only takes a matter of days. Remember though, mitigation is only the first step of the full water damage restoration process. The entire restoration process can take weeks or even months to complete, depending on the size of the property and the scope of the damage. A very small pipe leak, if cleaned up quickly, may take only days to fix! But if it’s a huge water catastrophe, it will take longer.

For example, here at Cleaner Guys, we once helped a family who had their entire house flood while they were on vacation! Their water heater ruptured, and flooded the home from the inside out. THAT took longer than average for us to mitigate and repair, because the floors were soaked with water. You can see it in the photo below, which is from our actual job site!

Cleaner Guys job site photo – flooded home repair

This level of water damage mitigation is particularly serious. The flooring, the subfloor underneath it, the walls, and sometimes the framing all have to get thoroughly dried out.

In the photo below (also from an actual Cleaner Guys job site), you can see some of our heavy-duty mitigation drying equipment, and all the drywall that had to be cut away. Often, as in this instance, the walls have to be cut away in order for the framing to be properly dried out!

Cleaner Guys water damage restoration - what is water damage restoration?
Photo from a Cleaner Guys job site – water damage mitigation in action.

Water Damage Mitigation Cost

The cost of water damage mitigation and restoration varies very widely, depending on the scope of the damage. But generally, for most average-size water damage jobs, the price is in the low-to-mid thousands. An average-size water damage job requires some of the drywall, some of the flooring, and some of the insulation be replaced, usually in one or two rooms.

When it comes to cost, we here at Cleaner Guys highly recommend getting quotes (or cost estimates) from several different mitigation companies before hiring one. Not all mitigation companies are honest about their pricing, unfortunately. We actually often take over unfinished mitigation jobs from other mitigation companies because they were doing a bad job — and THEN we find out that they were charging the poor folks thousands more than they needed to, just because they could!

Get quotes from several companies to make sure you aren’t duped. If you’re not sure how to scout out the most trustworthy company you can, have a look at this article. It walks you through how to find and choose the right company for you, and make sure they’re trustworthy!

Why is Water Damage Mitigation So Expensive?

Water damage mitigation pricing can be high because of all the different things needed to completely fix this unique kind of damage. You’re paying for the labor of the highly-trained craftsmen, who spent years getting good enough at this trade to be able to efficiently and completely restore your home from many unique kinds of damage.

You’re also paying for the highly-specialized equipment it takes to mitigate damage like this (as you saw above). Your home can’t be completely and successfully restored without this specialized equipment.

Part of the cost is also the amount of time and gas it takes to drive our technicians and equipment out to you. At-home services or delivery of any kind is always more expensive — just like ordering a pizza to be delivered to your house is more expensive than driving to the store and getting it yourself.

These are the major factors of your water mitigation estimate that can make it add up. But unfortunately, since fixing water damage in a home is such a niche industry, it takes all the special equipment to do it right.

What is a Mitigation Estimate?

A mitigation estimate is the mitigation company’s initial calculation of how much it’s probably going to take to restore your property. Typically, before any work is begun, an adjuster or estimator from the company you hire will come out and assess the damage.

They’ll look at how far the water spread, how long it’ll probably take to dry out, how many man-hours it will take to mitigate and restore everything, and how much the materials will cost. All this and more goes into the formation of a mitigation estimate.

Can Water Damage Cause Mold?

Yes, water damage can definitely cause mold! However, you may not experience mold if the water damage is dried out and taken care of very quickly. That’s why lightning-fast mitigation is so important!

Mold spores are always floating around in the air, just like dust. Once organic material — like sheetrock or wood — is soaked with moisture, it can take less than 48 hours for mold to take root in that moisture.

That’s why it’s smart to make sure to choose a mitigation company that specializes in water damage mitigation AND mold remediation! That way, if there is mold, you don’t have to try to find another company to take care of it. Cleaner Guys is one of the handful of companies that does both water damage mitigation and mold removal. If you need either of those services in Western Washington State, look us up!

When to Call a Water Damage Mitigation Company

You should call a water damage mitigation company as soon as possible after you’ve discovered a water catastrophe on your property. The longer the water has to soak into your walls and floors, the more expensive the repairs will be. The chance of getting mold also rises astronomically after the first 48 hours.

Can I Do Water Damage Mitigation Myself?

It is very unwise and unsafe to attempt to clean up and restore large-scale water damage by yourself. The average homeowner does not have the equipment, the training, or the proper sanitary chemicals to safely or effectively clean up water damage on their own. Please read this article for more on why DIY is not the way to go in this situation.

However, you can start helping the mitigation process by pointing fans at the water-damaged area as soon as you can! You can also work to soak up the standing water with towels. These are small things that could save US a lot of time, and save YOU a lot of money! But trying to handle the entire mitigation and restoration process is still highly inadvisable.

More Resources

If you’re worried your water damage might have caused mold, read this guide on how to be sure ➜

Want to know what happens if you or a loved one touches mold? Read this guide on what to do ➜

If you’d like to know some professional tips on how to prevent water damage from happening again, read this ➜

Water Damage Mitigation in Western Washington State

If you live north of Seattle, consider Cleaner Guys a wise choice for your water damage mitigation company! CG has risen to be one of the most popular and well-loved in the area. This is because of our award-winning customer service and our commitment to better prices than the other companies. It’s also because of our high standards for quality work and professionalism.

If you need water damage mitigation in Mount Vernon WA, give us a call today!

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. No part of this article is medical or legal advice, and may not be used as such. For all serious medical matters, consult your doctor. For all serious legal matters, consult your legal advisor. This article contains Cleaner Guys’ experience and opinions only.

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