What’s more costly: DIY or professional water restoration?

Posted by Matt Buchanan

Here’s something we come across pretty often in our field. A person discovers flooding in their home and they start doing the math on what it’s going to cost to rent some equipment and do it themselves versus what they think it’s going to cost to have a professional water mitigation company come out and get the job done.

Take X, multiply by Y, divide by Z and carry the 1…voila! They decide to do it themselves! Seems like a pretty simple math exercise for those with a little gumption and a spare jar of elbow grease.

If only it were that easy….


Why hiring professionals is always the right move financially…


In the example above, the calculations assume a positive outcome. What do we mean by that? Well, simply put we mean when it’s all said and done the home is dried the correct amount, there is no mold growth and it’s returned to the state it was in previous to the flooding damage.

flood-damage-dryingThe problem is the likelihood of you being able to find and extract all of the moisture (without over-drying) quickly enough to where black mold doesn’t grow is slim to none. So let’s look at the ‘how much is it going to cost if I do X versus Y’ slightly differently…here’s the questions you should be asking yourself while you bust out the old calculator:

Oh and by the way, see the guy on the right? You know what he’s doing? Trying to make sure those wood floors are dried out to an exact moisture content. He has to dry the subfloor without over-drying the actual wood planks. Dry too little and you get black mold. Dry too much and the wood floors are completely ruined. You think you can do that? Go for it!


How much is my deductible?


Most water damage emergencies are covered under insurance. While the cost of professional cleanup may be high (or may not be, it just depends on the amount of damage), you’re only responsible for your deductible. In many cases when you stack up the costs of renting the equipment yourself and subtract that from what you otherwise would pay from your deductible you’re left with a negligible amount. And that doesn’t even factor in potential discounts on your deductible that might be possible depending on your situation.


How great is the risk of mold damage?


You probably won’t be able to answer this question honestly, and we certainly don’t want to suggest you’re incompetent at anything. But the reality of your situation is this: if you don’t dry every single square inch of your property that got wet quickly and to the right amount (without over-drying!) you will end up with black mold. That’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when. So when you ask yourself what your threshold is when it comes to introducing a potentially deadly toxin into your home, go ahead and ask yourself another question…


How much is it going to cost to remove mold damage?


You need to know this because should you decide to take your chances and cleanup water damage on your own and you end up with black mold damage, your insurance company isn’t going to come to the rescue. So now that you know that, please understand that the cost to remove mold from a home far exceeds the cost of drying out a wet home. In bad cases, homes can be considered total losses if there’s too much mold. Obviously those are extreme examples, but don’t think it’s going to be a cheap endeavor removing mold from behind a few walls or under your floor.

About Matt Buchanan

I grew up in Irving, TX and left for Nashville, TN for college. After college I lived in Washington, DC and then in Cairo, Egypt. After coming back to the states, I spent a couple of years back in Dallas before moving with my wife to Denver!
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