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Types of Water Damage | Help & Advice

| Michael Quinn

Discovering water damage can be a timely and expensive investment, and it's strongly advised you contact a plumbing or drainage engineer for further support.

Surface water damage to the ceiling of a property.
Surface water damage to the ceiling of a property.

Water damage compromises the structure of your home and can cause harmful mould growth. Some water damage can even occur within minutes of the water entering the room. The first few hours are critical to ensuring a speedy solution.

What are the different types of water damage?

Not all kinds of water damage are the same and knowing what type of water damage is affecting your property will determine how the problem should be treated. Water damage varies on two levels: water quality and source of the damage. In this guide, we will cover both categories.

Note: If your water damage is internal (from a tap, boiler etc) we would advise contacting a plumber. If your water damage is to do with a blocked toilet or drainage pipes, this is something we may be able to help with.

Understanding Water Quality Variations

There are three main categories associated with water quality. Water can be either clean, grey or black. These names do not refer to the physical colour of the water, but to the level of contamination the water carries. You should not touch or attempt to clean up the water damage unless you know the water quality.

Clean water

Clean water for example, might come from a leaking sink or an overflowing dishwasher but this does not mean it is safe to drink.


Does pose a health risk but is less dangerous than black water. Grey water may contain soap particles, household cleaners, or human skin cells. Clean water can become greywater due to delayed treatment or to particles picked up from the source of the leak. Any water that originates from an overflowing or leaking toilet should be automatically considered at least greywater, regardless of its appearance.

Black water

Requires immediate attention. It generally originates from the septic tank or sewage system. This water has come into contact with human waste. As a result, it is likely to contain bacteria and pathogens that may cause diseases. In some cases, black water may visibly contain the untreated sewage.

Water Damages Sources

Water damage and flood damage are not the same. Most water damage comes from blocked or cracked/damaged pipes or appliances. It can also be caused by cracks in your foundation or a septic tank backup. On the other hand, in order to be considered a flood, the water must have originated from outside of the home. Flooding may occur after heavy rains or other severe weather.

Why is the source of the water damage important?

In addition to locating the source of the damage to perform repairs, your insurance will likely want to identify the source of the water damage because this will affect your insurance payout. Most commercial policies differentiate between water damage and flood damage.

Although it can be tempting to refer to any mass of water in your home as “flooding”, it is best to avoid using that terminology until you've spoken with a loss adjuster or refer to your insurance policy documents.

How ASL Limited can help

Sometimes the source of the leak is not immediately obvious, and you will need the assistance of a skilled drainage repair company like ASL Limited to find the source of the backup.

If you would like more information on water damage and blocked drainage systems, give our friendly office a call. For over 25 years we have provided exceptional service to our clients. Trust your repairs to a company with a reputation for excellence and speedy solutions.

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