How Much Do Flood Damage Repairs Cost?

by Team HomeServe
Flooded basement cleanup

Flooding and the resulting water damage are an awful surprise. Unwanted water can damage belongings, ruin drywall and cause mold growth. Major storms, burst pipes and malfunctioning appliances can all bring water into your home, meaning you don’t have to live in a floodplain to experience water damage and the related costs.

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If your home has taken a beating during a recent flood, check this guide for how much it might cost to clean up and make the necessary repairs.

Is It Expensive to Fix Water Damage?

According to Fixr, the average cost of water damage repairs starts at $1.50 (CAD 2) per square foot, but can easily be much more, depending on the extent of the damage. Damage restoration costs in some locations can reach nearly $15 (CAD 20) per square foot.

Repairs can range from simple DIY cleanup to a tough job best left for the professionals, depending on the type of damage and water source. Cleaning up after a small pipe leak may only require removing the water and replacing a small amount of carpet or drywall. On the other hand, the total cost to repair extensive water damage can be extreme.

Based on Fixr's data, the average homeowner pays around $1,200 to $5,000 (CAD 1,600 to CAD 6,800) to restore water damage. You could pay as little as $350 (CAD 475) to fix minor flood damage caused by an overflowing toilet. Meanwhile, remediating a sewer leak in your basement could cost up to $50,000 (CAD 68,000).

These factors also increase the cost of fixing water damage:

  • Depth of the water and the affected area of the home
  • Types of materials damaged
  • The extent of restoration work needed
  • The source of the water

The type of water that caused the flood can have a significant impact on repair costs. Water damage restoration work is cheapest if the water is clean, such as when a water pipe leaks or bursts. Greywater — like that from a leaking dishwasher — is dirty but doesn't contain serious contaminants. Still, repairs for gray water damage tend to cost more than if the water is clean. Blackwater refers to water that might contain human waste or other dangerous contaminants. Blackwater comes from sewer line backups as well as flooding from rivers and other contaminated water sources. It's generally the most expensive type of water to clean up.

If you need mold remediation services, this can also increase repair expenses. Mold can grow in drywall, insulation and other materials that remain wet for too long. Mold gives homes a musty or sour smell, and certain varieties can be toxic.

The damage restoration process should include removing existing mold and ensuring that building materials are completely dry. After a storm or flood, survey your home for water damage. Immediately evaluating your home for damage can help you remove all wet materials that could lead to mold growth or cause further leaks.

How Are Water Damage Restoration Costs Calculated?

Cost estimates for water damage remediation are calculated based on the square footage of the flooded area, the depth of the water and any factors that increase cleanup costs, such as black water contamination.

Estimates may include the cost of labor for:

  • Removal of water and wet material
  • Cleaning
  • Installation of new sheetrock and flooring
  • Painting

You may be able to avoid these labor costs by doing the repairs yourself — but only if you're able to safely and thoroughly do the work. Water damage can lead to structural damage and toxic mold if not handled properly.

Water damage restoration costs also include:

  • Fees for disposal of contaminated water and wet materials
  • Building materials to replace ceilings, walls or flooring
  • Replacement fixtures
  • Paint

Mold remediation estimates don't always include expenses for removing mold or replacing appliances and personal property, so you may need to consider these expenses separately.

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How Much Do Insurance Companies Pay for Water Damage?

Traditional homeowners insurance policies may cover repairs for damage caused by unexpected and accidental water leaks. Examples include damage from a sudden pipe leak or a malfunctioning washing machine. Your insurance may cover the cost of repairing damage to your home, such as replacing a ruined floor. However, standard homeowners insurance typically doesn't cover:

  • Plumbing repairs or new appliances
  • Damage caused by unresolved maintenance problems
  • Damage from backed-up sewers and outside drains

Whether or not you live in a flood-prone area, standard home insurance policies usually won't pay out for flood damage caused by:

  • Natural disasters and storms
  • Over-saturated ground
  • Overflowing bodies of water like lakes, rivers and oceans

Homeowners can purchase separate flood insurance policies through the National Flood Insurance Program.

How Much Does It Cost to Repair Water-Damaged Drywall?

Repairing a small area of drywall is a cheap and straightforward job. Removing wet drywall and patching the hole requires minimal materials and labor. The cost may only be a few hundred dollars — or even less if you do the repair yourself.

However, extensive water damage will significantly increase costs. If a leaking ceiling or flood damages a large area, the wet drywall may need to be removed and replaced. Repairing water-damaged drywall typically costs around $1.50 to $3 (CAD 2 to CAD 4) per square foot, while repairing plaster costs between $6.25 and $18.75 (CAD 8.50 and CAD 25.50) per square foot.

Preventing Water Damage in Your Home

Water damage restoration costs can be a significant unwanted expense, but there are things you can do to avoid water damage in your home. Keeping your appliances, sprinklers, roof and plumbing in good repair will help prevent leaks and related damage. Properly maintaining gutters and landscaping around your home can help prevent water damage from storms, and installing a sump pump in your basement can divert excess water away from your home.