An issue that we believe property owners should always be prepared for is water damage, and the prospect of repairing, restoring or remodeling interior and exterior features when it happens. This is why we have provided this advice and information on water damage, what it is and what you should do if your home or business is suddenly affected.

If you are based in London and you have a property suffering from the impacts of a flood or leak, we are also able to send out our specialist team to repair and restore your property for you. If you would like to make use of our services, contact us today and we can arrive at your location in a short amount of time. Alternatively, you can read on to learn more.

What is Water Damage?

The term “water damage” covers a multitude of possible losses when water intrudes or invades a property via flooding or leaking. These are all caused by the water enabling destructive processes against particular materials or systems, including:

  • Rotting wood
  • Mould or bacteria growing
  • Metalwork rusting
  • Composite wood swelling
  • Plywood delamination

There are three categories of water damage, each based on levels of contamination:

Category 1 Water

These are sources of water that do not pose a substantial risk to human health. They are classified as “clean water”. Examples of this would be leaks coming from water supply lines, or bathtubs or sinks overflowing.

Category 2 Water

These sources of water contain a significant amount of chemical, physical or biological contaminants. These could make a person unwell if consumed, or even exposed to in some cases. These are classified as “greywater”. Examples would include water from a toilet bowl containing urine (but not fecal matter), failing sump pumps, or water discharge from a dishwasher or washing machine.

Category 3 Water

This water is considered grossly unsanitary, as it contains harmful agents, bacteria and fungi. It is classified as “blackwater”. Examples would include sewage water, seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, storm surge, ground surface water or standing water. These should not be handled by anyone who isn’t a qualified drainage technician or engineer.

Category 2 water which has not been removed quickly from your home, or has been allowed to remain stagnant, may be reclassified as Category 3. Toilet backflows are also to be considered Category 3 water, regardless of content or colour.

How to Detect Water Damage in a House

There are several signs to watch out for, if you believe there may be water damage somewhere on your property. To detect water damage on your property, you can look for:

  • Water stains on walls, ceilings and in areas around appliances such as sinks and toilets
  • Warped or buckling walls and floorboards
  • Musty odours around your property
  • Strange noises coming from your pipes, such as banging or dripping
  • Crumbling wood or drywall
  • Soggy drywall

Even if you spot these signs around your property, there is a chance you may not be able to detect the source of the water damage. In these cases, you may wish to contact a professional leak detection firm in order to have the source found quickly and accurately.

water damage ceiling

water stains on the ceiling caused by a leak in the roof

Protecting Your Home from Water Damage

If you would like to prevent water damage from becoming an issue on your property, there are several steps you can take:

  • Knowing where your stopcock is, so that the water can be shut off in the event of an emergency
  • Keeping your gutters clear, to prevent damp and water running down the side of your house
  • Checking for leaks
  • Checking for mould or mildew
  • Checking your sump pump
  • Keeping pipes from freezing and ensuring exposed pipes are insulated
  • Inspecting your roof often
  • Keeping an eye on your water meter or water bill, to see if any significant changes happen over a short amount of time
  • Installing detection devices

What to Do if You Experience Water Damage

If you experience water damage in your home after a leak or flood, the first course of action will be to contact your insurance provider and make a claim. You shouldn’t start to have the damage repaired until this step is complete, as a claim can be rejected if it isn’t made promptly enough. Instead, contain the water to minimise the damage, if this is possible. Shut off your stopcock if the leak is coming from a pipe on your property, or place a bucket underneath any dripping areas if the water is coming from an outside source such as rain.

Your insurance provider will most likely send a loss adjuster, also called a claims adjuster, to investigate the claim. They will independently assess the damage done to your home, before working out the cost of repairing and restoring your property. Once they have offered you a quote for repairs, you can bring in a professional drainage technician or other specialist to carry out the work.

Water Damage Insurance Claim Tips for the UK

When you make a home insurance claim in the UK, there are a few tips we would recommend following, in order to give it the best chance of being accepted:

  • Take photographs of the damage caused to your property
  • Document your losses and log everything, including correspondence with your insurance provider
  • Read through and ensure you understand your home insurance policy
  • Take note of all prices offered to you by repair companies

It must be noted that you will most likely not have your claim accepted if you did not take reasonable steps to prevent the water damage, or if there is reason to believe you should have known about the source. To give an example, your claim may be rejected if you have had a leaking pipe in your home for some time but have not had it repaired or replaced.

Tips for Water Damage Restoration and Repair

If you are going to attempt repairs and remodeling work yourself, there are some tips that you may consider following:

  • Ensure you know which type of water is damaging your property before carrying out the work
  • Inspect for mould or mildew so that it can be dealt with immediately
  • Dry out the affected area thoroughly
  • Focus on repairing ceiling damage first, so it does not collapse
  • Remove all damaged porous materials
  • Replace all damaged wood
  • Install new flooring, if needed
  • Measure and replace drywall, if needed
  • Inspect and replace exterior siding, if needed (though this is rarer to have in the UK)
  • Disinfect all remaining objects, surfaces and materials
  • Caulk the new materials to minimise further problems with water damage
  • Repaint the affected area to restore it to normal

Can Water Damaged Wood be Saved?

In some cases, it is possible to save wood that has been damaged by water. To do this, you should start by removing any of the material that has become rotten, cutting it out so that only hard, dry surfaces are left. Fill up the hole left behind with auto filler putty), so that the surface is slightly raised above the surrounding area.

After this, sand the surface down and prime it to finish. You may also consider painting the wood, blending it in with the surrounding colour.

Your wood surfaces will need inspecting, both internally and externally, every six months. If any repairs are needed, these should be performed right away.

If you have wood furniture that has been damaged by water, it is highly recommended that you contact an expert in furniture repair. This is because it will likely require a different, more careful method of restoration.

Painting Over Water Damage

If you are considering painting over water damage, you should ensure that you have the correct type of paint before beginning the work. This should involve using a stain blocking primer or an oil based paint, before covering this over with an emulsion.

You should also make sure that the affected area is completely dry and fully repaired before you start.

Contacting Professional Repair Services

We understand the worry and frustration that comes with part of your property becoming damaged. As such, we also know that you will want it to be repaired again as soon as possible. However, we do not recommend undertaking any restoration or remodeling work by yourself. This is particularly suggested if you do not have any DIY or restoration experience, because you may accidentally cause further damage to your home. Depending on the levels of damage, you may also be putting yourself at risk.

Instead, we would always recommend contacting a professional repair and restoration service like us to carry out any work you need.

For Water Damage Repair and Refurbishment Services

Here at Property Rescue Services, we are fully prepared to assist London-based clients whenever their properties have suffered water damage. If your own property in the capital has had a water leak from its pipes, staining and damaging your walls, or flood damage means your hardwood floors now need replacing, we will be able to provide you with a solution. We will carry out even the most careful remodeling and restoration work when you require it, returning your property to its former state in a short amount of time.

If you have a property in London that requires repairs after water damage, contact us via the phone or send us an email and speak with a technician today. We can soon send out a team to provide the repair work you need, at a price which will suit your budget.