ServiceMaster Restore was nominated as the best of The Best Water Damage Restoration Services of 2023 by bobvila.com
To prevent further damage, a homeowner has about 24 to 48 hours to clean up the water, dry the space, sanitize to prevent mold and mildew growth, and remove any items or material beyond saving. An experienced DIYer may be able to handle cases of minor flooding. Still, when the water damage is too severe to manage independently, it’s a good idea for a homeowner to hire one of the best water damage restoration services. This list of top-quality water damage restoration companies is a great place to start.
- BEST OVERALL: ServiceMaster Restore
- RUNNER-UP: SERVPRO
- FASTEST DRY TIME: PuroClean
- ALSO CONSIDER: AdvantaClean
What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Water Damage Restoration Services
It’s prudent for homeowners to learn more about the critical factors that could impact deciding which water damage restoration service is the most suitable for their needs. They will want to consider the specified service area and damages that each company handles. They’ll also want to take a look at each company’s availability, scheduling, customer service, certification, and any additional services offered. It’s also important for a homeowner to make sure the company carries liability insurance.
A homeowner can quickly locate a water damage restoration service in their area by searching for the “best water damage restoration company near me” or looking for a list of local companies online. However, given that this company will be responsible for working in the home for a few days to several weeks, depending on the severity of the damage, it’s important for homeowners to take a look at how broad the service area is and if the company charges additional fees to customers who fall outside that area.
If the damage restoration company services a very broad area but only has a single address of operation, then it’s likely that emergency response times will be slow. When discussing the problem with the customer service representative, a homeowner will want to ask about the approximate time it will take for the crew to arrive and if there are any additional fees. If the timeline will result in further damage to the home or an expensive travel charge, then it may be better for the homeowner to look for a company that is closer to home.
Availability and Scheduling
One of the most important factors to look for in a water damage restoration company is 24/7 availability and prompt emergency response time. A home stands the best chance at surviving flooding, leaks, or any other obvious or hidden water damage if the flow of water is stopped, the water is cleaned up, and the space is dried out quickly, so a company that can be at a home within the hour is typically a better choice than a company that will take a day to dispatch a crew.
The process of cleaning up, sanitizing, and restoring the home can take several weeks, which means that it’s also necessary for homeowners to consider how a company schedules the water damage restoration crews beyond the initial emergency call. Clear communication, 24/7 availability, and cooperative customer coordination are key for a successful, low-stress restoration and repair.
Damage Cause and Type
How the damage was caused and the type of water damage are often overlooked before many people start looking for a water damage restoration service. However, it’s important for homeowners to know what caused the damage and what type of damage it is so that the restoration crew can take appropriate action to mitigate the damage and prevent further problems.
- Sewer back-ups are typically caused by the municipal wastewater system flooding or the septic system becoming clogged. This forces wastewater from the main drain line back into the home, where it does black water damage (explained below) to any affected surfaces. A homeowner can prevent sewer back-ups by installing a backflow valve on the main waste pipe.
- Groundwater infiltration is often the result of cracks in the home’s foundation. The water seeps through the cracks and may also leak through the base of the foundation, doing black or gray water damage (explained below) to any flooded areas. Weeping tiles and a sump pump can help prevent further flooding, but it’s best for a homeowner to have the foundation’s structural integrity assessed and repaired.
- Roof leaks are usually the result of worn-out and rotting roofing shingles. If the shingles are not replaced regularly, they can crack, tear, and break down over time, leading to leaks, black or gray water damage, mold, mildew, and rot.
- Water heater leaks and corrosion can cause severe flooding in a home, which is why it’s recommended for homeowners to have their water heater inspected and serviced once per year. Homeowners will want to keep in mind that while a water heater only causes clean water damage (explained below) to an area, the water is scalding and should not be touched directly.
- Sinks and faucets can overflow or leak resulting in clean water damage. These occurrences are typically the easiest to clean up, sanitize, and repair.
The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) lists three types of water damage, including clean water damage, gray water damage, and black water damage.
- Clean water damage is also referred to as category 1 water damage because it consists of usually sewage- and toxin-free water. This damage is typically caused by plumbing fixtures that control the flow and access to clean water, like a faucet or a water heater in a flooded basement.
- Gray water damage, or category 2 water damage, is caused when an appliance like a sump pump, toilet, or washing machine backs up and overflows. The water isn’t clean because it can contain soap, disinfectants, or other chemicals, but it isn’t likely to be immediately harmful to humans.
- Black water damage, or category 3 water damage, can result from the wastewater lines or septic lines backing up. The water contains components that can create immediate health risks, so calling in an experienced restoration team is necessary to clean up and sanitize as soon as possible. Black water damage can also include sewage, rising floodwater, seawater, river water, and contaminated groundwater.
Top-tier water damage restoration companies often offer services beyond standard cleanup and water damage restoration. Some options include mold remediation services, fire damage restoration, air duct cleaning, and basement waterproofing as part of flooded basement cleanup. If a homeowner thinks they may need help with more than just water cleanup and restoration, it’s good to find a company that can handle all requests. Otherwise, the homeowner will likely have to coordinate the cleanup and repair process with multiple companies, which can get confusing and frustrating. Additionally, coordinating access to the property with two crews will likely slow down the repair and restoration process significantly and may increase the overall cost of the repairs.
Certification and Insurance
A crucial question for homeowners to ask their water damage restoration technicians is whether they are certified and insured. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is primarily responsible for certifying water damage restoration companies. Individuals and companies can receive certifications in cleaning, inspection, and restoration categories, which can be further broken down into specific categories, including applied structural drying technician, senior carpet inspector, carpet repair and reinstallation technician, and even odor control technician.
When a homeowner needs help dealing with severe water damage, they will want to contact a water damage restoration service with experienced, certified technicians. It’s also advisable for a homeowner to ask if the company insures the work it completes. Most companies will guarantee the work for a specified period so that a homeowner can have peace of mind knowing that if there are any problems with the work, the water damage restoration service should handle it. A homeowner will want to make sure to get it in writing to guarantee that they are covered in the event of any problems.
Customer Service Availability
Customer service is integral to any service-based business. People like to know what is happening, how long it will take, how much it costs, and what they can do, especially when it is as serious as severe water damage. For this reason, it’s advisable for a homeowner to find a water damage restoration service with a dedicated customer service department that can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Ideally, the customer service representatives will be knowledgeable about the field and can convey clear, concise information with little room for misunderstandings. Water damage restoration services may also work with a homeowner and their insurance company to help communicate the extent of the damage, provide updates, and file claims. Straightforward, reliable communication is one of the most valuable things a company can offer.
bobvila.com Top Picks
When flooding occurs, it’s important for a homeowner to hire one of the best damage restoration services available to ensure that a home can be cleaned up and returned to its former state in a timely manner. Homeowners can consider this list of top water damage restoration companies for high-quality work, effective customer communication, and rapid emergency response time.
Why It Made the Cut: With decades of experience, the reliability of ServiceMaster Restore cannot be questioned, making this water damage restoration service a long-standing leader in the industry.
Established over 90 years ago in 1929 by Marion E. Wade, ServiceMaster Restore has a long history in this business, offering decades of experience to homeowners who need support in the middle of an emergency. The water damage restoration service is available throughout all 50 states; Canada; and Washington, D.C. It also provides potential customers with a detailed online FAQ section to help answer any questions expeditiously. The company’s range of services is somewhat limited compared to others in the industry, but the quality and care that ServiceMaster Restore offers is above and beyond.
ServiceMaster stands out from competitors due to its 4-hour response time, 24/7 customer service support, and direct communication with the homeowner’s insurance company to help address costs and determine how to proceed with the repairs. Representatives reach out to the homeowner’s insurance company within 24 hours to ensure that all claims are handled promptly. The company also has a live online chat option to help facilitate communication, though scheduling is handled over the phone.
- Service area: 50 states; Washington, D.C.; and Canada
- Availability: 24/7
- Scheduling: Phone
- Additional services: Fire damage restoration, mold remediation
- Customer service: Phone, live chat
- Technicians arrive within 4 hours
- Company representatives contact homeowner’s insurance company within 24 hours
- Live chat customer support option
- Comprehensive online FAQ section
- Relatively limited range of additional services