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What is Water Mitigation? A Complete Guide [2023]


This comprehensive guide explains the difference between water mitigation and restoration and why water mitigation is an essential first step in recovering after a property disaster. Common property disasters requiring professional water mitigation include heavy rains causing basement floods, mold growth from bathroom wall leaks, and broken fire sprinkler systems soaking offices, furniture, and equipment.

While water restoration services are necessary for complete recovery, it's crucial to understand that the mitigation process must come first. This guide will provide you with all the information you need about water mitigation, including why it's necessary to call in professionals and the steps involved in the mitigation process.

What is water mitigation?


Water mitigation refers to the process of preventing further water damage to a property after a flood, leak, or another water-related disaster. This process involves quickly removing any standing water, thoroughly drying the affected area, and controlling moisture levels to prevent mold growth and other damage.

Water mitigation is essential in repairing and restoring a property that has suffered water damage. It helps minimize the damage's extent and prevent further issues from developing. Professional water mitigation services are typically needed to ensure the process is carried out effectively and efficiently.

Water restoration vs. water mitigation: what are the differences?

Water restoration

  • It focuses on repairing and restoring the property after water damage has occurred.
  • It involves repairing damaged materials, cleaning and sanitizing affected areas, and restoring the property to its pre-damage condition.
  • Typically occurs after water mitigation has been completed.
  • This can include cosmetic repairs, such as repainting or replacing flooring and necessary repairs.
  • It may involve longer timelines and higher costs, depending on the extent of the damage and necessary repairs.
  • It Requires experienced restoration technicians to repair and restore the property properly.

Water mitigation

  • It focuses on preventing further water damage from occurring and limiting the initial impact.
  • It involves water removal, moisture control, and structural drying to minimize secondary damages and prepare for full restoration.
  • It must be preceded by water mitigation, which sets the stage for restoration.
  • It does not include cosmetic repairs, focusing on preventing further damage and preparing for restoration.
  • Often completed within a shorter timeframe and with lower costs, the focus is on preventing further damage and preparing for restoration.
  • Requires experienced water mitigation technicians to address the initial water damage and prepare for restoration properly.


Are there different types of water mitigation?


Different types of water mitigation are categorized based on the type of water involved in the damage. Here are the three main types of water mitigation:

Clean water mitigation

This type of mitigation involves water damage caused by clean water from a source such as a broken water supply line or rainwater. The water is free of contaminants and poses no immediate health risks to occupants.

Clean water mitigation involves extracting water, drying out the affected areas, and sanitizing surfaces to prevent mold growth.

Gray water mitigation

This type of mitigation involves water damage caused by contaminated water, such as from washing machines, dishwashers, or toilet overflows without solid waste. Gray water contains moderate contaminants and can cause illness or discomfort if ingested.

Gray water mitigation involves the same steps as clean water mitigation but with additional measures to ensure proper disposal of contaminated materials.

Black water mitigation

This type of mitigation involves water damage caused by sewage backup, floodwater, or water from a contaminated source. Black water is highly contaminated and can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi that pose serious health risks to occupants.

Black water mitigation involves specialized cleaning and disinfection methods to ensure the safety of the affected area and prevent the spread of disease. This type of mitigation may require extensive repairs or even reconstruction of the affected area.

Common misconceptions about water mitigation and restoration


Here are some common misconceptions about water mitigation and restoration:

Water damage is only visible on the surface

Water can seep through walls, floors, and ceilings, causing damage to the structure of the building. Even if the surface appears dry, water damage could still be underneath.

All water damage is the same

There are different categories of water damage, ranging from clean water to black water. Clean water comes from a sanitary source and poses no immediate health risk. Black water is contaminated and can cause severe illness or death. Each type of water damage requires a different approach to mitigation and restoration.

Water damage will go away on its own

Water damage does not simply disappear on its own. If left untreated, it will continue to cause damage, leading to mold growth and other health hazards.

You don't need a professional for water mitigation

While a DIYer can handle some minor water damage, significant water damage requires the expertise of a professional water mitigation and restoration company.

Insurance will cover all water damage costs

While most homeowner's insurance policies cover water damage, the policy may have limits and exclusions. It's important to read the policy and understand what is covered before assuming insurance covers all costs.

Bottom line

Water mitigation is a critical process that needs to be done immediately after water damage occurs to prevent further damage and mitigate health risks. It involves water removal, moisture control, and structural drying. On the other hand, water restoration is the process of restoring the property to its pre-damaged state, which involves repairs, reconstruction, and cleaning.

Understanding the differences between water mitigation and restoration is essential to ensure that the proper steps are taken to recover from water damage fully. Additionally, there are common misconceptions about water mitigation and restoration, which can lead to inadequate recovery efforts. Hiring a reputable and experienced water mitigation company can help ensure the job is done correctly, efficiently, and thoroughly.


When should I use a water damage restoration service?

You should use a water damage restoration service as soon as possible after discovering water damage in your home or business. Here are some situations when you should use a water damage restoration service:

  1. Burst pipes
  2. Flooding
  3. Sewage backup
  4. Appliance leaks
  5. Mold growth

In general, if you have any type of water damage in your home or business, it's best to contact a water damage restoration service as soon as possible to prevent further damage and ensure proper cleanup and restoration.

Is structural damage repair included in a water damage restoration service?

Structural damage repair is usually included in a water damage restoration service. When water damage occurs, it can affect the structural integrity of a building, causing damage to walls, ceilings, floors, and other parts of the structure. Water damage restoration services typically include a thorough inspection of the affected area to assess the extent of the damage, including any structural damage.

What is included in water damage restoration?

Water damage restoration typically involves several steps to restore a property to its pre-loss condition. The exact process may vary depending on the extent and type of damage, but the following are generally included in water damage restoration:

Inspection and Assessment

The restoration company will assess the damage and create a plan of action based on the extent of the damage.

Water Extraction

Specialized equipment removes standing water from the affected area.

Drying and Dehumidification

The area is dried thoroughly to prevent mold growth and further damage. Dehumidifiers and air movers are used to remove moisture from the air.

Cleaning and Sanitization

All affected surfaces are cleaned and sanitized to remove contaminants.


Repairs are made to damaged structures or materials, such as drywall, flooring, or cabinets.


The restoration company will monitor the area to remain dry and free from mold growth.

It's important to note that not all water damage restoration companies offer the same services. Be sure to choose a reputable company that provides all the necessary services for your specific situation.