Average Cost of Repairs After Water Damage

Couple leaving flooded area carrying their dog
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Water damage is a major cause of home insurance claims. One in 50 insured homes has a water damage or freezing claim each year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. It can be very costly to repair this type of damage caused by weather, storms, leaks, and floods.

Key Takeaways

  • The factors that impact the cost of water damage repair include the type of water involved, the area of the home that was damaged, and whether the water caused any mechanical issues.
  • You can control costs to some extent when it comes to labor and parts.
  • You may only have to pay the deductible if your home insurance covers water damage.

Cost Factors for Water Damage Repair

The cost of repairs will vary, depending on where the water damage occurred. Take into account the size of the affected area and the materials that will have to be replaced or restored. Home insurance may cover many types of water damage, depending on the cause.

You must add three sets of costs to pin down the total sum of your repairs. Take into account the cost of water removal, cleanup, ventilation, and decontamination, as well as the cost of building and structural repairs. Add the cost of replacement or cleaning of personal property and mechanical equipment.

Other Factors Impacting the Cost of Repair

Costs of water damage repair will also vary, depending on other factors. They include where you live and the cost of labor and materials in your area. The type of water damage (clean water, gray water, or black water) factors in, as does the extent of the damage.

Will you repair with new materials, or attempt to restore older materials in your home to maintain the original structure? Will you restore the wood in an old wood frame window, or will you replace it with new windows?

Types of Water and Associated Costs

The type of water that entered the home will also affect the cost of repairs.

Clean water damage is caused by water that comes in from a water pipe or rain. The cost for this was about $4 per square foot in 2020, according to FIXR, a vendor-independent, cost-estimating database.

Gray water damage is caused by water coming from an appliance. It may have soaps or other chemicals mixed in with it. This must be treated as part of the cleanup. The cost to repair gray water damage was about $4.75 per square foot in 2020.

Black water damage comes from a contaminated source, such as a sewer backup. Water coming in through sewer pipes can contain harmful bacteria. It's hazardous to health. Cleanup after a sewer backup or another black water incident could be as much as $7.25 per square foot.

Repairs After Water Damage

A few steps must be taken in a cleanup before repair or reconstruction even begins. The first four stages can be very costly, adding a few thousand dollars when a home has been flooded.

The water must be stopped from coming into the home. Safety measures must be performed. The affected areas must be aired out and torn down. Debris must be cleaned up and removed.

Reconstruction or restoration can begin when these issues are addressed. Set up a "clean room" with its own access if the damage is bad. You might have no other place to live during the restoration. Children should not be in the home.

Putting off repairs after water damage could cost thousands of dollars more. These costs rise fast if floors or walls aren't dried out quickly. Standing water outside the house can also be very costly. You could be looking at about an extra $12,000 to keep the home stable if the foundation of the home has been compromised.

Cleanup After a Basement Flood

You might have to pump out the basement before you can get started on repairs if a sewer backup or water floods the area. The size of the affected area is key in determining costs. An average for a basement with standing water more than one inch deep will cost upward of $4,000 for the water removal.

Don't try to clean it up yourself. Water seeps into every space and crack, and mold will result if it's not handled right.

It's always best to call in a professional to assess the extent of the damage. They can work out a plan for what needs to be done to restore your home and prevent mold damage.

Experts will pump out the basement, using vacuums and suctions, before you even get to reconstructing parts of the home. They'll dry out the basement using special ventilation, and by opening areas in walls and floors. This can include removing baseboards and flooring. They'll put special treatments on the structure to prevent mold and pests.

Sample Costs of Building Repairs

These estimated costs will vary by location, but some ballpark figures can give you an idea of the very basic costs of rebuilding your home after a water damage claim. These costs are over and above the cost of removing the water.

Replacing damaged drywall runs about $1,500. Repairing damaged plaster walls can cost from $6.25 to $18.75 per square foot. Refinishing hardwood floors is often about $4,000. Plan on $4.70 to $5.50 per square foot to replace carpets. Carpentry work runs about $70 an hour for woodwork. Mold remediation can cost $1,500.

Mold damage is not covered by many home insurance policies.

Mold remediation can be a costly. It's a complex process that includes moisture control and containment of areas to prevent even more contamination from spreading spores. Sanitation of the home after repairs can also be expected, using tools such as fogging equipment, air scrubbers, or antimicrobial treatments at extra costs.

What to Repair or Restore After Water Damage

There are many other aspects of fully repairing and re-establishing your home after water damage, besides dealing with the building structure itself if it's damaged. They can include damaged ventilation, air conditioning, heating, electrical systems, plumbing, and other appliances.

The type of water that entered your home (clean water from a rainstorm or black water from a sewer backup) will impact how much of your personal property can be saved.

Housing Costs Related to Water Damage Repairs

You may also have to factor in the costs of living elsewhere while your home is being repaired, depending on where the damage has occurred.

Most home insurance covers the costs of having to stay in a hotel or temporary home if yours isn't livable after a water damage claim.

These costs can add up to a few thousand dollars if it takes weeks or months to make repairs. Having to leave your home while water damage is repaired is common after a disaster level claim.

Home Insurance for Water Damage Repairs

Your insurer has experts to deal with water damage. They can help you determine the extent of damage, including the cost of reconstruction and removal of the water, as well as cleaning and decontamination steps.

You may only have to pay the deductible if your home policy covers the type of water damage you have. Your insurer will take care of the rest. You may need to hire an independent insurance adjuster to negotiate for you if your insurer balks at paying.

Hiring a Professional to Repair After Water Damage

Your insurer is a good resource to find professionals who can do the repairs on your home and handle restoration. Make sure they're certified professionals with the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) if you're hiring someone yourself without guidance.

Preventing Water Damage and Early Detection

Your insurer's claims adjuster will also help assess the cause of damage. They'll suggest further loss-prevention measures, such as installing sump pumps. It might include water-backup valves, water-leak detectors, or automatic water shut-off valves.

Some of these devices may get you discounts on your home insurance policy, which would help you keep costs in check if you lose a claims-free discount for making the water damage claim.