Advice Centre - What is secondary flood damage?

What is secondary flood damage?

Secondary Damage is the wetting or impairment of the appearance or function of a material from prolonged indirect exposure to water or indirect exposure to contamination carried by or resulting from the current water intrusion, which is reversible or permanent. An example of reversible secondary damage would be swelling or cupping and/or bowing of a wood floor. Such damage can sometimes be reversed by extracting all of the moisture through specialized equipment and proper technique. An example of permanent secondary damage would be wood rot. Such damage ruins the structural integrity of the material causing the need for replacement. Another common example of secondary damage is fungal growth or mould.

You come home and find your kitchen floor is under 3 inches of standing water. What happened? Well, if a broken water pipe is the culprit, you need to first turn off the water source and call a repair service. Did your sump pump fail? Then, get a plumber out as soon as possible to repair or replace the sump pump. In either case, the source needs to be addressed and isolated before any clean up can begin. Remember, quick response is the key to mitigating, or minimizing, the loss in water damage. Its pointless trying to cleanup following water damage if their is a continuous flow. Failure to react swiftly can lead to secondary damage. Secondary damage is damage that is not caused as a direct result of the primary damage or incident. Primary damage would be wet carpet, drywall, and anything else that came in direct contact with the initial water source. Below are some common causes of secondary damage:

  • A typical incident is one that is either extensive or not cleaned up in a timely manner, perhaps one that was undiscovered for an extended period of time
  • Damage that is caused by improper recovery procedures such as dehumidification that is inadequate to the facility size or rate of evaporation
  • Damage caused by unknown conditions that are either missed or not accessible during the initial assessment phase
  • Damage that is caused by either failure to respond in a timely manner or inability to respond in cases such as buildings under investigation

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