7 Essential Steps to Renovate Your Home After Water Damage

a wall with water damage
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A home renovation can instantly elevate the appeal and worth of your property while giving you a more comfortable lifestyle. In certain instances, like water damage, you would need to renovate your home immediately to avoid further complications.

Water damages are so common that one in 60 insured home claims involve water damage problems, whereas the average insurance claim for water damage is around $11,695. Thankfully, with effective water leak detection and new plumbing solutions, fixing water damage and renovating a home has become much easier and faster.

Avoiding water damage seems challenging, but with quick response and action, you won’t just save your property, but you can elevate the entire look. Whether we talk about basement waterproofing services or complete home renovations, here are some essential steps that can help you out.

Understanding Water Damage

Water damage comes in different forms, and these classifications are essential in determining the severity of the situation and the necessary cleanup measures. The main types of water damage are categorized based on the source of the water and its level of contamination. These categories are clean water, grey water, and black water.

  • Clean water does not pose an immediate threat to humans. Typically, this could be water that has overflowed from a sink or bathtub, or water that’s been directly released from a broken pipe or a leaking faucet. 
  • Greywater refers to wastewater that is not sewage. It comes from baths, showers, washing machines, dishwashers, and sinks. It may contain some pollutants such as dirt, oil, grease, or food particles that can cause discomfort or illness if ingested.
  • Black water is heavily contaminated and can cause severe illness or even death if ingested. It typically originates from sewage, seawater, rising floodwaters from rivers or streams, ground surface water entering your home, or standing water that supports microbial growth.

Repairing Your Home in 7 Steps

Identifying the type of water damage is the first step toward determining the cleanup and restoration procedures. It’s critical to remember that even if water starts as clean, time, temperature, and environmental factors can quickly turn it into grey or black water.

1. Find the Water Source

Before jumping to the solution, we need to find the problem. Water damages are devastating due to the damage they can cause. However, once you detect a problem, consider certain steps to prevent further damage.

Start the process by finding the source of water damage. Inspect the area where the damage is most apparent and look for any visible signs of water leakage, such as water stains, discolorations, or warping on your ceilings, walls, and floors.

Often, the source of water includes clean water that runs down from rain or leaks in pipes.

If you detect grey water, dishwashers, washing machines, and refrigerators with ice makers or water dispensers can cause water damage. Check these appliances for any signs of leaks or malfunctioning. 

Similarly, if you find black water, it will likely be coming from a sewerage leak. Check any accessible plumbing for leaks, including under sinks, behind toilets, and around your water heater. In addition, pay attention to your water pressure. If it’s significantly lower than normal, it may indicate a leak in your plumbing system.

If you have water stains on your ceiling, the problem could be a leaking roof. Check your roof for missing or damaged shingles, and inspect your attic for signs of leaks or dampness.

Water damage can sometimes originate from outside your home. Look for any areas where rainwater may be entering your home, such as faulty gutters, downspouts, or window seals.

To fix a leak, it is always recommended to get professional help, especially if you are dealing with damages caused by a sewerage leak. Getting local help is also best, as it ensures they’ll be able to get to you faster. For example, if you live in Kansas City, seeking expert Kansas City-based plumbing repair would be a great idea!

2. Get Rid of Hidden Moisture and Dry the Area

a dehumidifier in an empty room

Depending on the severity of the water damage, manual removal of water may be the first step. This could include using buckets, mops, and towels to sop up excess water. Drying the space completely is essential to prevent further damage to your belongings.

For this reason, check the spaces underneath the carpet, areas near the sink and bathtub, floorboards, door frames, windows, and ceiling to find any other repairs needed.

For smaller or more localized water damage, a wet/dry vacuum can be used. These vacuums can suck up water from carpets, floors, and other surfaces.

Usually, mildew grows rapidly when there is standing water. Therefore, you need to clear the area, relocate the furniture, and drain the water. Once you drain the space completely, inspect it for moisture and start the drying process.

This can include: 

  1. Air movers (also known as fans) are used to increase air circulation, which speeds up the evaporation process. The increased air circulation helps dry out wet materials like carpet, wood, and drywall.
  2. Dehumidifiers are used in conjunction with air movers. While the air movers promote evaporation, dehumidifiers remove the moisture from the air, helping to speed up the drying process and prevent secondary water damage.
  3. Heat can also be used to speed up the drying process, as it helps water evaporate more quickly. Heat drying techniques can include portable heaters or specialized heat drying systems.
  4. For certain types of water damage (like hardwood floors), desiccant dehumidifiers can be used. These machines use chemicals that naturally absorb moisture and can be particularly effective in cooler, less humid conditions.

3. Mold Inspection

Homeowners’ worst nightmare is dealing with mold issues followed by water damage. Therefore, it is recommended to check the areas for mold as soon as you drain the water. If you detect mold, clean it with a bleach solution or repair the area such as bathroom tiles, flooring, or ceiling.  

Mold growth can cause serious problems, as some molds are toxic to human health. Therefore, opt for professional assistance for the removal of molds from your house.

4. Disinfecting Your Property

The next step towards renovation is disinfecting your home, especially the affected areas. First, remove any materials that cannot be fully cleaned or dried. This may include things like drywall, carpeting, insulation, and furniture.

Materials that have been soaked by grey or black water, and cannot be cleaned and dried within 24-48 hours, should be disposed of, as they can harbor mold and bacteria.

Clean all hard surfaces with a solution of hot water and dish soap, or a cleaning agent suitable for the material being cleaned. Scrub surfaces as needed to remove any dirt, mold, or other debris. Be sure to clean all surfaces that came into contact with the water, even if they don’t appear to be dirty.

After cleaning, disinfect surfaces using a solution of one cup of bleach to one gallon of water, or a commercial disinfectant following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Apply the disinfectant to the surface and let it stay wet for the recommended time (usually 10-15 minutes) before wiping or rinsing it off. Always wear gloves and eye protection, and ensure good ventilation while using disinfectants.

Ensure all areas are thoroughly dried after disinfecting. You can use fans, dehumidifiers, or heaters to speed up the drying process. Keeping the room well-ventilated can also help.

To prevent mold growth, it’s crucial to keep the area dry. Fix any leaks promptly, and ensure that the area is well-ventilated. Consider using a dehumidifier in particularly damp areas of the home, like basements.

In cases of extensive water damage or if the water was contaminated with sewage or other hazardous substances, it’s best to call in a professional cleaning service. These experts have the equipment and knowledge to safely and effectively clean and disinfect your home.

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5. Renovate Important Areas First

a water damaged room

After disinfecting the house, you need to ascertain whether you need to repair and renovate the areas that have been affected. Also, keep a checklist of the areas that you would want to renovate and prioritize each area according to how often it gets used.

If there was water damage due to a flood, then you might consider repairing the floor and roof first. Once you renovate this, you can move to other areas of your house, like repairing windows, doors, or the bathroom.

Depending on the severity of the water damage, you may need to repair or replace parts of your home’s structure, such as drywall, insulation, or support beams. These repairs are critical to ensuring the safety and integrity of your home, and in many cases, you’ll want to hire professionals to handle this work.

Water can severely damage various types of flooring, including hardwood, laminate, and carpet. You’ll need to assess whether your flooring can be saved or if it needs to be replaced.

For example, a carpet that’s been soaked with grey or black water usually needs to be discarded. Hardwood floors may be able to be restored, but they may also require refinishing or replacement.

You may also need to repaint the area. Before you begin painting, make sure all surfaces are dry and free from mold and mildew. Use a stain-blocking primer to cover any water stains, and then you can paint as normal. Choose mildew-resistant paint, especially in areas that are prone to high moisture levels, like bathrooms and kitchens.

Finally, evaluate the condition of your cabinetry and furniture. Solid wood pieces may survive water damage with proper cleaning and drying. However, particleboard cabinets and furniture often need to be replaced after significant water exposure.

6. Immediately Get Plumbing Inspection

a plumber inspecting pipes

Ignoring water leak issues can cause a lot of trouble down the road in terms of expensive repairs. If your water damage was caused by a leak, it is in your best interest to get a plumbing inspection once the water dries up. This will help you in preventing future damage.

Make sure all your plumbing, roof, and other areas that cause water damage are inspected before you start costly renovation procedures or you may find you need to rip it out and start all over again. 

7. Contact Your Insurance Agent for Critical Damage

paper work on a desk

You can experience critical damage after natural calamities like floods or storms. This can cause severe damage, resulting in very expensive repairs. In this case, you should consider getting in touch with the insurance agent and checking what is covered under your homeowner’s insurance plan.

Hiring a water mitigation company with expertise in handling insurance claims is crucial as they can guide you through the complex process, ensuring a fair and accurate assessment of water damage for comprehensive coverage.

Post-mitigation restoration services reinstate the condition of your property and provide substantial evidence of damage, making your claim stronger and expediting the insurance payout process.” – Ross Kesterson, Founder of Restore Pros LLC

Document the damage

Before you contact your insurance company or water mitigation company, thoroughly document the damage. Take pictures and videos of all affected areas and damaged items. Make a detailed list of damaged property, noting the value of items when possible.

Contact your insurance company

As soon as you have documented the damage, contact your insurance company to report the incident. They will guide you through the steps necessary to file a claim. This typically involves providing a detailed account of what happened, when it occurred, and the extent of the damage.

Understand your policy

Familiarize yourself with the specifics of your homeowner’s insurance policy to understand what is and isn’t covered. Coverage can vary significantly based on the type and cause of water damage.

Most standard policies cover sudden or accidental discharge of water from a plumbing, heating, or air conditioning system but do not cover flood damage.

Schedule a visit

The insurance company will often send an adjuster to your home to inspect the damage, verify your claim, and estimate the cost of repairs. Be present during this visit and share all the information you’ve gathered about the damage.

Review and Complete the Insurance Claim

Your insurance company will provide a claim form that you need to complete. Be as detailed as possible, including all of the information you’ve collected and attaching your photos and videos. The more information you provide, the more accurately the insurance company can assess your claim.


Managing everything alone can become overwhelming when you are dealing with water damage within your home.

In certain cases, you might need to get professional assistance from a restoration and renovation professional who will have the expertise to remove the standing water, check for molds, and dry affected areas, remove all the furnishings, and ultimately, restore your home to its previous condition. Or even better!

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a very small commission if you click through and make a purchase. These links help to pay the editorial costs of writing a blog. For more information, please read my full affiliate disclosure here.

I also use Artificial Intelligence Image generators to create some of my images. These are to show you examples of my ideas and inspiration when I cannot produce the real images myself.

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