Disaster restoration in Littleton, Colorado
CALL US NOW 720-500-5350

Navigating Water Damage Restoration in Your Home: A Guide To Understanding Different Types of Flood Water

Best Option Restoration

Flooding in your home is a stressful event. Whether it's due to a leaky dishwasher, a failed water heater, a damaged irrigation system, sewage issues, or any other source, the key to a proper restoration lies in understanding what you're up against. There is a lot more to consider than simply removing the water. Before attempting to clean it up yourself, it's crucial to know not just the source, but also the category of water involved, as well as the extent of the damage. This knowledge will guide your steps towards effective and safe restoration or when to call in the professionals.

The Three Categories of Water Damage

Flood water is classified into three categories, each indicating a different level of contamination and posing various risks. Knowing the category of water you are dealing with is essential for determining the appropriate response.

1. Clean Water

Clean water originates from sanitary sources and does not pose an immediate threat to your health. This can include water from a broken water heater, leaky pipes, rainwater, and broken water supply lines. Although it's considered the safest type of water damage, quick action is still necessary to prevent further damage or the progression to more hazardous categories, including mold.. Progression to the next category can begin in as little as 48 hours, so extraction should not be delayed. 

2. Greywater

Greywater, or sullage, contains some degree of contamination that could cause discomfort or illness if ingested or if contact with your skin is prolonged. Sources of greywater include appliance discharge such as from washing machines, sink drains, and showers. Cleanup of greywater requires careful handling and proper sanitation practices to ensure safety and prevent the area from degrading into a more serious category of water damage. 

Children, pets, and immunocompromised individuals should avoid the affected areas. As with clean water, immediate clean up is recommended, as progression to Category 3 water damage can occur in as little as 48 hours. Professional clean up should be considered, especially if there is any standing water. 

3. Blackwater

Blackwater represents the most dangerous type of water damage. It is highly contaminated water that can cause severe illness or even death if ingested. Blackwater typically originates from sewage or flood waters, toilets, and broken sewage pipes that may contain harmful pathogens, bacteria, viruses, chemicals, and other hazardous materials. 

Water that enters buildings or homes following large-scale flooding events caused by storms, hurricanes and other weather events, is considered to be blackwater. Contact with, or ingestion of, blackwater can cause illness in both people and pets. Due to its high risk, dealing with blackwater damage should be left to professionals. Companies such as Best Option Restoration of DTC have the necessary equipment, protective gear, and expertise to handle the cleanup safely and effectively.

Health Risks

Attempting to clean up any category of water damage yourself poses several potential negative consequences to your health, home and the environment. 



  • Exposure to Pathogens: Blackwater is highly contaminated with bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that can cause serious illnesses, including gastroenteritis, hepatitis, and severe infections.
  • Chemical Exposure: Category 3 blackwater may contain harmful chemicals and pesticides that can cause respiratory problems, skin irritation, and other health issues.
  • Long-term Health Effects: Exposure to blackwater can also have long-term health effects, especially for immunocompromised individuals, and those with pre-existing health conditions.


  • Mild to Moderate Contamination: While not as severely contaminated as blackwater, greywater can still contain bacteria and chemicals that may lead to skin irritation, infections, or gastrointestinal illnesses if not handled properly. Greywater can advance to Category 3 blackwater in as little as 48 hours. 

Property Risks

  • Inadequate Removal and Drying: Without professional equipment for extraction and drying, as well as expertise, there's a high risk of inadequate removal and drying, leading to ongoing moisture problems. 
  • Mold Growth: All types of water, especially blackwater and greywater, can contribute to mold growth, which can damage your property and cause health issues.
  • Structural Damage: Improper cleanup efforts can leave behind moisture that weakens structural components of your home, potentially leading to long-term damage.
  • Contamination Spread: Attempting to clean up without proper techniques can spread contamination to previously unaffected areas, exacerbating the problem.

Environmental Risks

  • Improper Disposal: Without knowledge of proper disposal methods, there's a risk of contaminating local waterways and ecosystems by improperly disposing of contaminated materials or water.

Financial and Legal Aspects

  • Increased Costs: DIY cleanup might seem cost-effective initially, but it can lead to higher expenses in the long run due to potential mistakes, the need for professional remediation later, or unresolved issues causing more damage.
  • Insurance Issues: Some insurance policies may not cover damages if the cleanup was not performed by professionals, especially if the effort worsens the situation. The professionals at Best Option Restoration of DTC will work with your adjuster to properly document the damage and support the claim. 

Identifying and Fixing the Source

Regardless of the water category, identifying the source of water damage is paramount. This could be as straightforward as a visible broken pipe or as complex as hidden leaks within walls. Once the source is located, repairs should be undertaken immediately to prevent further damage. For clean and greywater, prompt action can often prevent the situation from worsening. However, in the case of blackwater, professional intervention is not just recommended; it's necessary.

When to Call in the Professionals

While minor clean water damage can often be managed on its own with proper drying and sanitation, greywater and, especially, blackwater require professional attention. The professionals at Best Option Restoration of DTC have the experience, tools, and protective equipment to handle hazardous situations safely. We also ensure that the area is thoroughly cleaned, sanitized, and restored to prevent mold growth and further damage to your home's structure and air quality.

Understanding the categories of water damage is crucial when facing such a dilemma. While the urge to immediately start cleaning and restoring is understandable, knowing what you're dealing with is the first step towards effective and safe water damage restoration. For clean water damage, quick and careful action can mitigate most issues. However, when it comes to greywater and, particularly, blackwater, enlisting the services of a professional is not only advisable, but necessary. The health risks alone are a significant concern, but when combined with the potential for long-term property damage, environmental impact, and financial and legal complications, it becomes clear that professional remediation is the safer, more efficient choice. 


There are several options in the Denver area when it comes to water damage repair companies.  When you choose Best Option Restoration of DTC, rest assured that we are equipped with the necessary knowledge, tools, and protective gear to safely and effectively manage the cleanup and restoration process. As a locally owned company, we guarantee a quick arrival to your emergency, and will come prepared to begin immediately. If you are unsure of how to proceed with your insurance company, we are happy to assist you with the claims process and answer your questions about the next steps. If you are looking for the best option for water damage repair in the Denver Tech Center, including Greenwood Village, call Best Option Restoration of DTC at 720-500-5350.

Best Option Restoration-DTC is a 24/7 Emergency water, fire and mold damage repair company. We are locally owned and operated, licensed and insured. Our experienced technicians will arrive quickly and with a sense of urgency when you call us for help. We work with all insurance companies and are happy to assist you with your claim. 


You can depend on Best Option Restoration-DTC to have the best equipment and utilize the latest technology to repair your property fast and professionally. If your home or business has water damage, fire damage, or mold damage, contact Best Option Restoration-DTC for fast, friendly, local service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 



Be the first to leave a review


Navigating Water Damage Restoration in Your Home: A Guide To Understanding Different Types of Flood Water phone