Living on the coast has many perks, but the threat of flooding isn’t one of them. Water damage worsens with time, so, if you’ve experienced repeated flooding or if you suspect your home may have water damage from a previous incident, consider hiring restoration professionals. Our partners at ConsumerAffairs researched companies known for the best water damage restoration in Baltimore.
Life on the Eastern Seaboard means contending with the likes of hurricanes, tropical storms, superstorms, flash flooding and torrential downpours. And, with all that wet weather, Baltimoreans know a thing or two about floods.
Huge swaths of the city fall in the 100-year floodplain, including neighborhoods like Camden, Inner Harbor, Fairfield, Westport, Carroll Park, Downtown, Jonestown, Gwynns Falls and Charles North. It’s no wonder flood damage is the most common water damage in Baltimore homes. Unfortunately, the risk of flooding doesn’t stop at the boundaries of the floodplain. Flash floods caused by traveling storm systems are also common, as are:
Regional flooding that occurs when snowmelt or rainfall fills river basins with too much water
Coastal flooding that occurs when low-pressure systems drive ocean waters inland
Urban floods that increase as natural land is paved over and developed
Urban floods pose a particularly high danger to Baltimoreans. When this type of flooding occurs, streets can transform into rapidly moving rivers and basements can become deadly overnight.
Due to the frequency of extreme weather events and the high likelihood of flooding, the City of Baltimore, the State of Maryland and the federal government offer plenty of information, safety tips and resources to help keep you safe. However, you’re still responsible for your home and belongings in the aftermath of a flood.
Flooding is just one type of water damage, and water damage can happen in any home. Behind flooding, the most common causes of water damage in Baltimore are plumbing issues and roof leaks. Other causes of water damage include:
Fire sprinkler malfunctions
Ruptures in appliance hose lines
Water heater breakdowns
Clogged HVAC pipes
Broken dishwasher latches
Loose fittings on washing machines
Regardless of the cause, when water damage occurs, immediate cleanup is critical to reduce risks to your health and home.
What happens if water damage is left untreated in Baltimore?
If left untreated, or treated improperly, water damage can lead to mold and mildew, foul-smelling odors and rot. Other risks of untreated water damage include:
Warped doors and windows
Erosion of untreated metal surfaces
Blistering on painted walls
Hardwood floors begin to buckle
Cracks in cement base, foundation and basement walls
Immediate action prevents worst-case scenarios and saves on cost.
Water damage restoration involves damage assessment, water removal, drying surfaces, dehumidifying the air and sanitizing belongings. Water damage has four classes of loss and three categories of water.
The classes of water loss depend on the evaporation rate, the size of the affected area and the amount of water absorbed. Class one indicates a small area with low-porosity materials. Class two indicates damage throughout a single room and the materials within the room. Class three indicates significant damage to large areas. Finally, class four indicates complete saturation of surfaces and materials requiring specialized drying.
On the other hand, category one water refers to sanitary liquids. Category two refers to gray water or liquids that have been used in household appliances but pose no risk of fecal contamination. Category three is black water or high-risk water that may contain feces, biological organisms and harmful chemicals. The higher the class and category, the higher the cost.
You can’t control where the water comes from, but you can control its spread and absorption with immediate, professional water damage cleanup. Baltimore is home to plenty of well-regarded water damage restoration businesses, and you’d be hard pressed to find one that doesn’t offer 24-hour emergency service.
How much does water damage restoration in Baltimore cost?
The average cost of water damage restoration in Baltimore is about $3,000. It’s a high average, likely caused by a significant volume of service calls for basement flooding. Water damage restoration companies charge by the square-foot and category, and $3,000 is about the cost of treating a 600-700-square-foot basement with category one or two damage.
Average cost per square foot
Other factors that influence restoration costs include the location of water damage, presence of hazardous materials and need for structural repairs. Major damage can cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair.
Does insurance cover water damage restoration in Baltimore?
Luckily for Baltimoreans, between homeowners and flood insurance, most types of water damage are covered, but you’ll likely need riders to cover damages from sewer backup and leaking roofs.
Homeowners insurance covers damages caused by bursts pipes, appliance overflow, accidental tub or toilet overflow, vandalism and any other peril listed in your policy.
Flood insurance, which the state requires for homeowners within the 100-year floodplain, covers the cost of water damage from flooding that covers a minimum of 2 acres or causes damage to two or more properties and is from storm runoff, surface waters, tidal waters, inland waters, mudflow or shorefront land collapses.
Since water damage can occur in the process of extinguishing a fire, a covered peril, damages that occur while putting out a fire have coverage from homeowners insurance. Also, if water damage from a covered peril leads to mold, mold removal and damage restoration are also covered.
Mold and fire damage restoration in Baltimore
It’s not uncommon for fire, water and mold damage to occur in relation to each other, and the majority of national and local water damage restoration businesses also offer fire damage restoration, mold removal and mold damage restoration services.
Fire damage restoration involves removing charred debris; boarding damaged walls, doors and windows; tarp covering the roof; soot removal; smoke film removal; water and fire-extinguishing foam removal; and cleaning and sanitizing belongings.
Mold removal and damage restoration involves containing affected areas; filtering and cleaning the air; applying an antifungal treatment to mold colonies; removing affected walling, carpeting and materials; and cleaning and sanitizing belongings.
How to pick a water damage restoration company in Baltimore
Baltimore is home to many reputable restoration businesses, but it’s important to find the one that’s right for you.
When searching restoration services, look for companies that offer 24-hour emergency service, guaranteed response windows, free estimates and warranties on their work. Narrow those results by reading online reviews, determining if the company works directly with insurance and browsing its website for certifications and professional memberships.
Companies with professional certification are usually highly-trained and up-to-date on the latest technology and methods. Membership in a professional organization indicates they’ve agreed to follow an industry code of ethics.
Keep an eye out for connections to organizations such as:
Once you’ve identified a few companies that seem promising, obtain quotes and ask questions. Inquire about their insurance, if they provide guarantees, when they’re available to start, how long it will take, what certifications their technicians have and if they’re licensed.
Maryland doesn’t have laws specific to water, fire or mold damage restoration, but the state does license builders and contractors who work on residential and commercial properties. Verify a license if you have doubts, and avoid working with anyone who isn’t licensed.
Navigating the aftermath of fire or water damage isn’t fun and dealing with insurance companies can be stressful. Remember three rules of thumb for navigating the restoration process to prevent disappointment and potential problems down the line.
One, your insurance agent will probably provide you with the number to a restoration business or call on your behalf, but you do not have to hire the business your insurer recommends.
Two, some of the cleaning and restoration services provided by the restoration company may not be covered by your policy. Work with them to determine what services are covered.
Three, once you’ve signed an agreement, you’re responsible for paying for the service provided, even if you had every reason to believe the cost would be covered by your insurance when you signed. To avoid a surprise bill, opt for restoration companies that work directly with insurers.
This company is a fixture of the renovation industry, with more than 60 years experience providing water, fire and mold damage restoration services. Customers in Baltimore and around the country rely on ServiceMaster Pro Restore for 24-hour, expert restoration services. Baltimoreans say the local ServiceMaster team is a pleasure to work with from start to finish.
Advanced Restoration Solutions
This veteran-owned business promises it’ll be on site in 60 minutes or less, works directly with your insurance company and creates a personalized five-step plan to address your situation. Advanced Restoration Services offers a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee and free property assessments. Customers say, no matter when, if this company sees a serious problem it gets right to work.
Providing storm, wind, fire and water damage restoration services to the greater Baltimore area, Jenkins Restorations offers 24-hour service, no-obligation quotes and top-quality service. Customers say the technicians are skilled, communicative and overall helpful in navigating every aspect of the restoration process.
Highly trained and with more than 15 years experience in the industry, Access Demolition provides asbestos and lead paint abatement; mold remediation; demolition; and water and fire damage restoration services in Maryland and surrounding states. Customers say the prices are fair, the work is excellent and the crew is knowledgeable, professional and efficient.