Water Damage Mitigation: Toilet Overflow














Toilet overflow is one of the top 5 causes of water damage. Overflow can be caused by a clog in the bowl or a malfunction in the tank. Whatever the cause is the damage can be extensive. The damage can be contained to just around the toilet or can spread through the floors and walls to other areas. Cleanup for this would require the help of a certified restoration company.


What Should You Do in Case of an Overflow?

If the toilet starts to overflow what should a homeowner do? To avoid damage, turn off the source of the water. First look inside of the tank to see if the flapper is up or down. If the flapper is up, push it down to seal the tank from the bowl. If the flapper is down already then, the homeowner needs to turn the water off. There is a small valve inside of the tank that should be turned counterclockwise to stop the flow of water into the tank. If after turning the valve the water is still rising turn off the water intake for the entire house. Check other toilets to see if they are having the same problem, if they are experiencing the same problem this might mean there is a clog in the homeowner’s houses sewer main.


Assessing the Damage

A problem that commonly arises is people underestimating the extent and nature of their loss. This is almost always true when dealing with damages from a toilet overflow. Which is understandable as the damage is hard to assess unless you have the proper equipment.

After the homeowner has turned off the water and assessed what the blockage is from the homeowner needs to start assessing the damage. The first step in this assessment is to clean up any water that pooled on the floor. This can be accomplished with a wet vacuum, cloths, or a mop.  Monitor the area surrounding the toilet and below the toilet for discoloration or puddles that appear. As these are indications that the damage has spread.  Keep alert for smells that are out of the ordinary for that location. Note that dampness often smells like mold. During this process make sure to take picture of the clean up and any damage that occurred due to the overflow.


Classification of Water Damage

There are certain ways to classify water damage. There are 3 categories and 4 classes.


  • Category 1 Water – “Clean Water”. This water poses no substantial threat to humans. Examples are broken water supply lines and tub/sink overflows.
  • Category 2 Water – “Grey Water”. This water is that contains a significant amount of chemical, biological, or physical contaminants that can cause discomfort or sickness when consumed or exposed to. Examples are toilet bowls with urine (no feces) and sump pump failures.
  • Category 3 – “Black Water”. This water is unsanitary and contains bacteria and fungi which can cause severe discomfort or sickness. Examples are water sources from sewage, seawater, and standing water.

Classes – determined by rate of evaporation based on materials affected

  • Class 1 – This class is characterized by a slow rate of evaporation. Only a portion of the room is affected. Minimum moisture is absorbed by materials.
  • Class 2 – This class has a faster rate of evaporation. Water affects the whole carpet and cushioning in the room. Water may have spread up the walls (No more than 2 feet).
  • Class 3 – This class has the fastest rate of evaporation. In this class water is usually coming from overhead affecting everything in the room.
  • Class 4 – This class is a special drying situation. This class often involves materials like hardwood floors, concrete and crawlspaces. In this class drying requires specific conditions.


So, Your House Was Damaged, Now What?

If the toilet overflowing does cause damage to the house there are a few things that the homeowner needs to do. The first thing that needs to be done is call their insurance company. The insurance company will then send someone to the house to inspect and assess the damages and see if it is covered by their policy. After this they will send the homeowner an estimate of what they think the damage will cost to fix. After this the homeowner will need to get estimates from certified/licensed contractors to fix the damage. Most insurances will suggest getting at least 3 quotes/estimates for the work.


What Kind of Contractor Will You Need?

After the homeowner has talked to their insurance company and the claim has been accepted the homeowner needs to find a contractor. For damage due to water the homeowner should look for a water restoration company and a mitigation.

A mitigation company will come in and clean up the water and make sure everything is dry. The mitigation company will also make sure everything is fixed to make sure no further damage occurs. A restoration company is a company that helps after mitigation and effectively stopping all damage. The restoration is about rebuilding and repairing after the damage occurred. Restoration companies can only begin once mitigation is complete.


If you have experienced water damage to your home due to a toilet overflow, it is time to call us.


First Choice Restoration’s highly trained mold cleanup and restoration team will take the needed professional approach to solving your mold issues. To help restore your home and get back your peace of mind, call us now at 800.370.0770.


When disaster strikes, and you need mold cleanup! Call First Choice Restoration! We are here for you!

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