Water Damage From a Toilet Overflow

Posted by Matt Buchanan

One of the top 5 causes of home water damage is a toilet overflow. Whether it’s a clog in the bowl or the tank malfunctions, the damage can be immense. That’s is especially true when the bathroom is located on an upper floor and water drips down to lower levels of the home. At that point you have a class 3 water loss, meaning water damage has occurred from top to bottom, affecting ceilings, possibly insulation, wall cavities, flooring systems, etc. In short, you’ve got a big mess on your hands that’s going to require the help of an emergency water damage company.


Assessing the damage


toilet-overflow-water-damageAs with any water loss, the first thing we will do upon arriving at your property is assess the full scope of the damage. This isn’t as easy as you might suspect, given most of the damage won’t be visible by the human eye (or even feeling for dampness). Let’s assume for the sake of this article the damage happened in a second floor bathroom with one wall of the bathroom being an exterior wall. For most people, they just assume that the water traveled along their second story floor, so it’s as simple as mopping up the water and laying down some fans. Sadly, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Here’s just some of the things that are likely to happen in a flooding emergency as described above:


() water travels down the exterior wall, soaking your insulation

() water wicks up the bathroom wall, ruining the drywall (and potentially affecting any electrical wiring housed inside the wall cavity)

() water gets trapped under your bathroom cabinets

() water drips through the subfloor and soaks the space in between your first and second floor


One of the biggest problems we see as a water damage company is people underestimating the nature of their loss. That is definitely true when we talk about toilet overflows. Again, all of the above are difficult (almost impossible) to diagnose without the proper equipment. Here, we’ll show you an example of just one of the dangers above. This is a bathroom wall after a toilet overflow:



Ask yourself honestly, would you be able spot a problem with that wall? Especially if the wall felt dry to the touch? That’s just one small area that was affected, but the image should give you pause if you’re considering trying to perform the water damage cleanup process on your own after a toilet overflow emergency.


What if the water contains sewage?


toilet-overflow-black-waterIf you read our blog often, you know we try not to be alarmists. We don’t want to scare you, but we do want to educate you. And sometimes, the more you learn the scarier the situation becomes. That’s a good thing because at least you won’t be lulled into a false sense of safety. And when it comes to sewage cleanup services from a toilet overflow, the stakes go up dramatically.  If you came back to a flooded home and the water contains raw sewage, shut off the supply line and exit the property and immediately call a certified water restoration company…like us! 🙂

At RestorationEze, we specialize in handling all sorts of emergency water losses, and as we said above, water damage from an overflowing toilet is one of the most common losses we see. That means no matter what’s happened, we have the experience to get it fixed right!

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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