Water Damage Mitigation and Restoration: What to Know

WRITTEN BY: Mark Romero


If you are lucky, you’ll never be in a situation where you need to know exactly what water damage mitigation and restoration are. But one out of four homeowners will experience water damage that is serious enough to require water mitigation, and many will need restoration services as well.

Intrigued? Let’s start with definitions.

What is Water Damage Mitigation?

If you experience a major water event like a burst pipe, failed washer hose, failed water heater, or a serious roof leak, and you find your carpets soaked, your wall saturated, or a ceiling that’s about to collapse, you’re going to need more than a wet-vac to clean up the mess. 

Water damage mitigation companies have one objective: to limit ongoing damage. Their job is to put an immediate end to the conditions that can further damage the structure and personal property.

By definition, they operate 24/7 and typically have a response time of two hours or less. They are equipped and trained to do more than just evacuate the water. 

The water mitigation crew can apply tarps and board up windows if you have storm damage. If needed, they typically have storage units. They can move furniture and other property until the house is restored.

However, most water damage claims aren’t caused by storm-related causes. Most water emergencies originate from a house’s plumbing system or appliance failure.

Stopping the water source, water evacuation, protection of property, and drying out are the principal functions performed on these occasions. Typically, water mitigation firms will not remove mold. That job goes to a mold mitigation service or the restoration contractor.

Again, everything the water mitigation company does is a temporary fix to stabilize the loss. 

What is a Restoration Company?

One water mitigation is done, and the property is dried out; it’s time to call a restoration company.

Perhaps the best way to think of a restoration company is as an “unexpected remodeling service.” The water mitigation company has removed the water, and the soaked flooring, cut out the damaged wallboard and dried out the space. The job of the restoration company is to bring the space back to its original (or better) condition. 

It will be staffed and equipped similarly to a remodeling company with all the traditional trades represented. However, there is a difference. The disaster restoration crew will include staff experienced in locating and repairing damage associated with floodings like wood rot and mold. 

If there is a silver lining to a water damage disaster, it may come in the form of a newly remodeled space. Assuming the damage was caused by a covered peril, your homeowners insurance will pay for the water mitigation and restoration. 

If you are working with a pro restoration company, they will be happy to suggest alternatives to the original space’s appearance.

Suppose the company has a relationship with your insurance company. In that case, they can suggest alternatives that will meet the claim guidelines and make the whole process much smoother.

Simplifying the Process

Rather than working with two contractors, try to find a restoration company that offers both services. Of course, you want that restoration company to have the same 24/7 operation and prompt response time as a water mitigation company. Still, if you can find a contractor who will ultimately make your home habitable again, you can eliminate a lot of hassle.

To find a contractor that fits the bill, call your agent or insurance company before you call a water mitigation company. They can refer you to a contractor who offers both services and is familiar with your insurance claims process.