Residential vs. Commercial Water Damage Restoration: 6 Key Differences8 min read

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Residential vs. Commercial Water Damage Restoration: 6 Key Differences8 min read

Picture this – you wake up to a dripping faucet, a small leak at first, but one that quickly turns into a gushing mess. Water damage—whether from a leaky pipe, a burst washing machine hose, or a heavy downpour—can ruin valuables and property. 

In fact, the average cost of property damage from water leaks in commercial buildings is approximately $24,000 per incident. In 2020 alone, nearly 2,700 water damage claims were registered in North America, mostly due to bursting or leaking water pipes.

Worse, the damage brought on by water compounds over time, so you should get it swiftly taken care of.

Before you start picturing the worst, here’s good news for you. Water damage restoration can significantly reduce the cost of damage and get your property back to normal, fast. 

However, the service differs between homes and businesses. Understanding their fundamental differences allows you to get the most effective help, minimize downtime, and save money. 

Keep reading to learn about water damage and the differences between residential and commercial water restoration.

What is Water Damage?

Water damage occurs when water intrusion from natural disasters, plumbing failures, or structural issues ruins a property. It usually manifests as visible stains on walls or ceilings, mold, mildew, and awful odors.

Cases of water damage vary between residential and commercial properties due to differences in spaces and appliances. For instance, some common examples of water damage in homes include:

  • Sewer backup happens when the sewage system gets clogged or overwhelmed, causing sewage to flow back into the home.
  • Groundwater infiltration occurs when water seeps into the home through cracks in the foundation or basement walls, often in areas with high water tables or poor drainage.
  • Sink overflow ensues when a faucet is left running or a blockage prevents draining, causing water to spill onto countertops and floors.

Meanwhile, the types of water damage that occur in commercial buildings are often the following:

  • HVAC failures happen when blocked drains, broken pipes, or malfunctioning components leak water from heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.
  • Plumbing leaks stem from broken pipes, faulty fixtures, or worn-out plumbing systems.
  • Appliance leaks occur from malfunctioning dishwashers, refrigerators, and water heaters, leading to localized flooding and damaged property and inventory.

6 Signs You Need Water Damage Restoration 

Water damage can quickly worsen if you don’t detect it early. Here are some warning signs you need commercial or residential water damage restoration services.

1. Discolored walls

Water stains or streaks on walls, floors, and ceilings are clear giveaways of water intrusion. The color may vary depending on the water source, but any discoloration is a cause for concern.

2. Mold infestation 

Mold thrives in damp and dark environments—like attics, basements, between walls, and below floorboards—so its presence strongly indicates water damage. An infestation of mold spores can pose serious health risks, such as breathing problems and severe allergies.

3. Sudden puddles everywhere

Standing water is the most obvious sign of a water leak or intrusion. It can come from a broken pipe, appliance malfunction, or roof leak.

4. Peeling or bubbling paint

Water trapped behind a coat of paint can cause the latter to peel or bubble away from the wall, signaling ongoing moisture issues and potential structural damage.

5. Increased water bill

Not all signs of water damage are visible; sometimes, you’ll only notice when your water bill arrives. It may indicate a hidden leak in your property, even with careful water use.

6. Musty odor

Does your property suddenly smell awful? It could be a sign of water damage, usually when moisture accumulates and creates ideal conditions for mold and mildew growth.

Residential and Commercial Water Damage Restoration: 6 Key Differences 

Are you a homeowner dealing with a leaking sink or a business owner with HVAC problems? The right water damage restoration service depends on your property type. Consider the factors below before calling in an expert.

1. Size and structure

Residential: Residential water damage restoration is more targeted because houses are smaller and have fewer rooms and occupants than commercial buildings. Drying equipment can effectively reach all affected areas, and demolition is often limited to specific sections of walls or floors.

Commercial: Commercial buildings present a bigger challenge. Extensive square footage may require a multi-pronged drying strategy with powerful dehumidifiers and air movers.
Also, complex structures with high ceilings or suspended floors may require specialized drying techniques and more staffing.

2. Compliance

Residential: Homeowners must only follow local building codes when resolving water damage. Sometimes, you may need to apply for a permit to renovate or replace your plumbing, water heater, and ventilation systems.

Commercial: Businesses face stricter regulations for commercial water damage restoration. Depending on the industry, you may need to acquire permits and follow specific health codes or environmental safety protocols.

Your water damage restoration partner should work closely with local officials to ensure all repairs meet necessary codes and standards. Failing to comply can lead to costly fines, legal issues, and safety hazards.

3. Equipment

Residential: Residential water damage restoration typically involves moisture detectors, dehumidifiers, deodorizers, and other portable drying equipment because houses usually have manageable sizes and more contained water damage.

Commercial: Commercial restoration often demands heavy-duty equipment like desiccant dehumidifiers to handle expansive spaces. You may also need specialized techniques like injection drying and diesel generators for more power.

4. Cost

Residential: Costs for residential restoration are generally lower due to the smaller scale, use of less specialized equipment, and potentially shorter restoration timeframe. For reference, the average cost of residential water damage restoration is $3,300.

Commercial: Commercial water restoration is significantly more expensive, averaging $24,000. The larger size, specialized equipment, potential for hazardous materials, and stricter regulations contribute to higher costs.

Business downtime for water damage restoration can also lead to profit loss.

5. Documentation

Residential: Documentation for residential water damage restoration is simpler. It typically includes photos, invoices, and communication with the restoration company. This data can be helpful for insurance claims.

Commercial: Detailed documentation is crucial for commercial restoration projects. It includes permits, compliance reports, and communication with landlords, business owners, and insurers.

6. Space usage

Residential: Residential water damage restoration primarily focuses on restoring living spaces for homeowners and their families, emphasizing safety and comfort.

Commercial: Commercial water damage restoration covers different types of properties like offices, factories, stores, and hospitals. The process must meet your business needs, facilitate continuous operations, and avoid long periods of downtime.

5 Tips to Choose the Right Water Damage Restoration Team 

Don’t panic when disaster strikes. The right water damage restoration team can save your home or commercial property from extensive damage. Here are some tips for choosing the ideal partner.

1. Check the certification

Don’t trust your property to just anyone. Ensure the restoration company holds relevant certifications from organizations like the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). It verifies they have the knowledge and skills to effectively handle water damage restoration projects.

For instance, a Commercial Drying Specialist (CDS) certification proves your restoration partner can effectively evaluate water damage in commercial water-damaged structures. Meanwhile, a Mold Remediation Specialist (MRS) certification shows they can work in mold-contaminated environments for removal purposes.

2. Consider response time 

Time is of the essence when dealing with water damage. Remember, some leaks are unnoticeable until they get worse.

So, find a water damage restoration team that offers emergency response services. The faster they arrive, the quicker they can contain the water source and begin drying to minimize the spread of moisture and potential mold growth.

3. Read reviews and testimonials 

See what past customers have to say about their experience with the commercial or residential restoration service provider. Look for reviews mentioning responsiveness, thoroughness of work, clear communication, and overall customer satisfaction. Then, seek recommendations from family and friends for more trustworthy feedback.

4. Inquire about equipment and additional services

The right restoration company will have the necessary equipment for the job, whether drying large commercial spaces or family homes.

For instance, if you notice that your walls are developing water stains, your water damage restoration partner should have specialized equipment to identify, detect, and fix the root cause of the problem.

Additionally, ask if they offer additional services like mold removal, leak detection, and sewage cleanup, which may be necessary depending on the extent of the water damage.

5. Ask about pricing

Cheap doesn’t always mean good, and expensive doesn’t always mean quality. Clarify the pricing structure before hiring a restoration company. Will they provide a free estimate upfront? Are charges on a flat fee or by the hour?

Knowing the pricing structure allows for informed decision-making and helps avoid hidden costs.

Don’t Let Water Damage Sink Your Property Value

Water damage can be stressful and costly whether you’re a homeowner or a business owner. So, it’s crucial to avail yourself of restoration services to minimize damage quickly and maintain your property’s value and keep you and anyone living in the home safe. Mold can be extremely damaging and can take an enormous toll on your health and immune system.

Here at All Dry, we offer comprehensive services for water damage restoration in Utah, including additional services such as mold remediation, sewage cleanup, and odor removal. Let our expertise help you restore your property and protect its value. 

Contact us today for a free consultation and get your property back on track!

Picture of Rachel Galeria

Rachel Galeria

I have been married for five years and we have one beautiful little girl. I am so lucky to be a mom. I love to help others and build businesses to be successful. One day our neighbors backflow preventer broke while they were out of town and water filled their window well, broke their window, and water came flooding into their basement. We helped stabilize the area and loved it so much we started All Dry so that we could help with flooding all the time! We have been in business nationally since 2014, we have built a reputation of quick response, honest and trustworthy technicians, reasonable prices, and consistent communication. We expect the unexpected.