How Much Does It Cost Restore Water Damage?

Average Cost
(gray water extraction due to flooded bathroom, including drying and repairs to drywall and ceiling)

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How Much Does It Cost Restore Water Damage?

Average Cost
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Reviewed by Adam Graham. Written by

Water damage restoration involves removing water from within a building and fixing any damage caused by prolonged exposure. Two separate projects are involved in water damage restoration: first, the water extraction and cleanup, followed by structural repairs to building features, such as the roof, walls, ceiling, and/or flooring.

The average cost of restoring water damage ranges from $2,000 - $5,000, with the average homeowner spending around $3,000 on gray water extraction due to flooded bathroom, including drying and repairs to drywall 1 and ceiling.

Water Damage Restoration

Water Damage Restoration costs
National average cost$3,000
Average range$2,000-$5,000
Minimum cost$1,000
Maximum cost​$8,000

Water Damage Restoration Cost by Project Range

Water extraction and drying of a flooded basement exposed to clean water
Average Cost
Gray water extraction due to flooded bathroom, including drying and repairs to drywall and ceiling
Black water extraction due to sewer backup, cleaning/sanitizing, and mold remediation

Water Damage Restoration Cost by Area

Different areas of the home could require water damage restoration. The restoration work in these areas vary along with project cost.

Water Damage Restoration Cost

Water damage restoration cost by area

Roof Water Damage Repair Cost

After a storm or natural disaster, the roof may be damaged and require repair to the shingles 2 or flashing 3. Expect to pay an average of $750 to replace shingles on a 500 sq.ft. damaged area of the roof.

Bathroom Leak Repair Cost

Leaky faucets and tubs, or overflowing toilets in second floor bathrooms could leak through the flooring and damage the ceiling below. Ceiling leak repair costs around $250 for a 10’x10’ area of drywall or sheetrock 1.

Kitchen Water Damage

In the kitchen, water damage could mean flooring and wall damage. Drywall costs around $50-$60 per drywall 1 sheet replaced, while plaster wall damage repairs averages $250 for a 4 sq. ft. area. Vinyl or linoleum 4 floor replacement can cost around $1,000 for 200 sq.ft.

Flooded Laundry Room

Laundry rooms may need replacement of a washer and dryer if the electrical systems were damaged. For a standard washer and dryer, you will pay around $1,000 to $3,000 for the set.

Basement Flooding Repair Cost

Mold remediation is a common type of service needed when water damage has occured in the basement or crawl space. To have a professional remove mold from the basement or crawl space, you will pay around $1,500 on average. Plumbing issues, such as a water main break, may also need to be repaired and cost you around $800.

Family Rooms

Along with ceiling leak repairs and flooring repairs, other rooms of the home may need new windows and doors depending on how the damage occured. For instance, storms can cause windows and doors to fail or break. Window replacement averages $650-$1,500, while door replacement averages at least $500.

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Water Damage Restoration Cost by Category

Water damage costs are affected by the type of water found in the flood. The three types include clean, gray, and black.

Water Damage Restoration Cost Chart

Water damage restoration cost by category

CategoryCharacteristicsPrices for Cleanup
Clean Water

Has no chemicals or fecal matter

Structural issues from exposure occur

$4.00 per sq.ft.
Gray Water

May contain a small amount of contaminants but no fecal matter

Human health issues occur if ingested

Structural damage possible

$4.75 per sq.ft.
Black Water

Wastewater contaminated with toxins or human pathogens

Sewer backups and toilets are sources of black water

Serious illness can occur after exposure

Structural damage is also possible

$7.25 per sq.ft.​

Water Damage Costs by Class

Water damage repair experts will usually classify the types of damage into one of four classes. The magnitude of the job determines what class it falls into.

  • Class 1 jobs are those that only affect a small area of the home. Minimum amount of moisture is absorbed by structural materials such as walls and floors. An example would be an overflowing toilet in the bathroom with a cost of $100 to $175.
  • A Class 2 job would be a water cleanup project in a larger area with a medium rate of evaporation. This could mean an entire kitchen with a damaged wooden floor joist system and result in repair charges between $250 and $350.
  • During Class 3 type water damage jobs, the water is typically leaking from overhead and affecting large parts of the walls, ceilings, and floors. One example is a storm-forced leak with repairs upwards of $1,000.
  • Class 4 is reserved for specialized water damage jobs with accessibility challenges. For example, a stormwater flooding of a wooden enclosure falls into this class with costs of $2,500 and up.​

Labor Costs to Fix Water Damage

In most cases, labor charges are determined by the size of the affected area. Water cleanup crews assess the area and calculate cleanup efforts based on square footage. Costs for clean water and gray water cleanup are the lowest, between $4 and $4.75 per square foot 5. Black water cleanup jobs will be the most costly at $7.25, on average, per square foot 5. For a 300 sq.ft. room, expect to pay between $1,500 and $2,500. If the company charges an hourly rate for water damage restoration services, the charge is around $75 per hour. Special circumstances, such as debris removal, increase the average labor rate with surcharges of $200 or more.

Swelling leaking of whitewash and plaster on ceiling of dwelling due to penetration of water from the top floor or roof.

Signs of Water Damage

Not all water damage is immediately evident. Although you may notice damage after a severe storm, some types of moisture issues occur over the course of several months. Noting any signs of water damage early on is vital for diminishing the permanent effects. The longer a structure is exposed to moisture, the more widespread the damage becomes. The following are the most significant signs of water damage:

  • Peeling and cracking. Peeling and cracking paint on the walls and ceilings are a significant sign that water damage has occured. When moisture builds up inside the drywall 1, it swells and pushes against paint on the surface. You could also notice discolored paint since water can stain wall paint.
  • Flooring water damage. Another sign to look for is the warping of flooring materials due to water exposure. Flooring water damage can actually go unnoticed for some time if the spot is located in the corners of a room or against a wall. If you notice any warping of wood or vinyl 6 flooring, then the area is likely exposed. Furthermore, wet areas of carpet indicate water damage.
  • Sagging or moldy walls. Any notable sagging in parts of the walls or ceiling is a sign that you need water damage repair services. Drywall 1 sags when saturated with water. Seeing visible mold on the walls is another sign, but not everyone notices mold within their homes. Before mold is located, you may smell a distinct moldy scent or experience allergy symptoms due to mold exposure. These odors are especially pungent in areas like the basement. The foul odor is similar to the scent of wet, mildewy laundry. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to mistake mold growth for dirt.
  • Unexplained high water bills. If your water bill surges for no apparent reason, it could mean there’s a leak causing underlying water damage. For reference, water companies often provide a chart to demonstrate your historical month-to-month average water usage.
  • Running water sounds. If you hear the sound of water running and can’t find the source, chances are there’s a significant leak that needs to be addressed immediately to prevent further water damage.

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Causes of Water Damage

Knowing the potential causes of water damage helps you make the right decision about what remediation services and products are required.

  • Storm and flood damage. Severe weather wreaks havoc on a home and often causes significant water damage. One of the most frustrating things about storm damage is you can’t control mother nature. Natural disasters, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, also pose the potential to leave behind a significant amount of water.
  • Appliances and plumbing fixtures. Any type of appliance that relies on tubes, pipes, or gaskets 7 has the potential to cause water damage. Refrigerators and dishwashers may start to leak and require repair. Other sources of potential leaks include air conditioners and water heaters. HVAC systems may need repair to stop leaks and even floods.
  • Plumbing issues. When your plumbing systems fail, then water damage occurs in the surrounding areas. For instance, an overflowing toilet may end up damaging the flooring in the bathroom or the ceiling on the floor below. Other examples of plumbing issues to watch for are leaking showers, bathtubs, and sinks. Sewer backups can also result in water damage.
  • Flooded basement. Basements becoming flooded are a concern since the area is prone to building up moisture and promoting mold growth. Even just a few inches of water in the basement is problematic and requires cleanup.
  • Foundation or wall cracks. Any type of structural damage allows moisture to build up inside. By repairing the foundation as soon as cracks are noted, you can prevent serious structural issues.
  • Roof damage. Missing and damaged shingles 2 make your roof prone to leaks. If your roof isn’t properly diverting water, it can build up and cause ceiling leaks.
  • Outdated plumbing systems. Pipes that are well past their expiration date will start to leak and fail. Look for any signs of rusting and bulging on the pipes.

Cost Factors for Water Damage Repair

Different types of cost factors greatly play into how much any water damage repairs in your home will cost.

The size and location of the water damage is a determinant of how much you will pay for restoration services. For instance, a small area that requires water cleanup, like a 150 square foot 5 area, may only cost $500. Alternately, flooded basement cleanup costs can be upwards of $6,000 if black water needs to be removed.

The source of water is another factor influencing how much you can expect to pay for water restoration services. Three types of water are involved in floods: clean, gray, and black. Gray water is also called sullage and comes from sources like bathtubs, sinks, and washing machines. Black water has been contaminated with fecal matter. Clean water costs around $4 per square foot 5 to clean up, while gray water costs an average $4.75 per square foot 5, and black water is the most expensive at $7.25 per square foot 5.

The type of water damage plays a factor into how much you’ll pay for water damage repairs. Replacing drywall 1 is typically one of the least expensive of repair projects for water damage, with an average cost of $1,500. Projects like hardwood floor replacement are much more expensive with costs in excess of $4,000. More expensive materials will reflect a higher price tag. For instance, vinyl flooring replacements are less costly than hardwood floor replacements. Carpet prices vary based on the type of carpet and padding 8 selected for replacement.

The amount of water requiring extraction is another cost factor in water damage restoration services. A couple of inches of water may cost around $1,000 for extraction and drying, while two feet of water needing extraction and drying is likely to cost at least $2,500.

Water damage repair projects are subject to surcharges. If accessibility is an issue, extra equipment may be needed to reach the areas in need of water cleanup and damage repairs. Labor costs could increase by a minimum of $200 for safety equipment rental.

Prep Work for Water Mitigation

First and foremost, in the event of an emergency flooding situation, power should be turned off immediately. This prevents any type of electrical fire from occurring.

To limit damage to personal belongings, remove any items that can be relocated. This could include personal effects such as clothing and accessories, as well as rugs, draperies, and soft furnishings. Depending on the extent of the damage, some items may need to be disposed of instead of being returned once water damage restoration services are complete. Any furniture that can’t be removed should be wiped down.

Remove any wall hangings, like photographs, if an area has sustained water damage. Keep them in a safe, dry place until they can be returned to the walls. Wipe down the walls, too, to alleviate excess moisture.

Open all windows in the room to assist with the drying process. If there are cabinets in the room, they should be left open, too. Avoid shutting the door to the impacted area since you don’t want to promote mold growth.

Dangers of Floods

Water damage is a two-fold threat—dangerous to both the physical home and residents’ health. It is critical to limit exposure, especially if gray water or black water is involved.

Water Damage Threats to the Home

Threats to a home from water damage may involve structural damage. Drywall 1 becomes brittle and causes underlying structural issues. Ruined flooring and walls are another problem for the home. Wood floors warp, wet carpets are prone to mold, and walls start to soften.

Corroded pipes are a common occurrence after prolonged exposure to flood water. The corrosion makes them more likely to leak or crack. Also, water damage in electrical systems is costly to fix. Appliances and fuses may not work properly after water exposure. In the worst cases, electrical fires could occur.

Erosion to concrete and brick within a home is possible due to prolonged water exposure and requires masonry work to repair. Permanent staining on walls and floors is another potential effect of water damage. Walls and flooring may need replacement or refinishing depending on the extent of damage. Musty odors can linger in a home where leaks or flooding have happened and this could be indicative of excess mold and mildew growth.

Water Damage Threats to Health

Threats to health may occur from high humidity levels 9 in the home. Due to mold exposure after water damage, respiratory issues may develop in household members. This is often due to common allergies and can also cause eye and skin irritation.

One of the signs of water damage threatening your health is if you or members of your family start sneezing and coughing with no other known cause. Chronic headaches could also be caused by mold growth in the home due to long-term exposure.

Standing water is a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria that could impact human health. Parasites are another concern if standing water is left for a prolonged period of time. Bugs like mosquitoes are attracted to standing water and lay their eggs around the area.

Skin irritation could occur if you’re exposed to water from a flooding situation. This is especially true for gray and black water. Although black water is the most dangerous to human health due to the presence of fecal matter, gray water could have chemicals in it that cause breathing problems or allergy symptoms.

Water Damage Repair Process

All professionals follow a dedicated step-by-step procedure for water damage restoration:

  • Step 1: An inspection and damage assessment is always the first step in the restoration process. A professional reviews the area and makes a detailed plan for how to make the area safe and structurally sound.
  • Step 2: Water extraction is probably the most important step of water damage restoration. If water is not removed completely, then all other steps are moot. Water extraction involves the use of industrial pumps 10 to dry out an area as much as possible.
  • Step 3: Although extraction helps to start drying a water damaged area, excess moisture is always left behind. Heaters and air blowers 11 are used to evaporate the moisture, while a dehumidifier removes droplets from the air.
  • Step 4: Cleaning and sanitizing is extremely important after water extraction and drying. Although the water is removed, gray water and black water require comprehensive sanitation to keep household members and pets safe.
  • Step 5: Restoration efforts may be minimal or extensive, depending on the underlying damage caused by the water.

Repair vs. Replacement

During the assessment phase of water damage repair, professionals will let you know what parts of the room need to be either repaired or replaced completely. Ceiling and walls are most likely repaired instead of replaced altogether. Insulation, however, traps water and produces mold spores and is often replaced before the walls are repaired. Flooring is usually replaced, including installing new carpets and hardwood flooring. Any type of electrical system is never repaired and for safety reasons is replaced completely. Wall and ceiling leak repair costs may start at $200, while electrical rewiring can be as much as $8,000.

How to Prevent Water Damage

Preventing water from collecting where it doesn’t belong is, of course, the first step in ensuring your home is protected from water damage in the first place. Inspect your home and yard to note any issues with drainage systems and remedy them early on. In the yard, extend downspouts and improve yard grading 9 if you have concerns about water collecting around your home’s foundation. Keep gutters and downspouts clear of debris and make sure sump pumps 12 empty out far enough away from your home. If you don’t have a sump pump installed, arrange to have one put in.

On a monthly basis, routinely inspect appliances and all plumbing fixtures. Confirm hoses are secured with no drips. Hoses and faucets should also not be actively leaking. Check the sealing around tubs and showers and caulk 13 as needed. Look at the pipes under the sinks and in your basement to note any issues like corrosion.

Water back-up valves and water leak detectors 14 are useful devices for preventing serious leaks from occurring. Automatic water shut off valves should also be installed and fully operational in the home.

Schedule a roof inspection annually or after any significant storm. The inspectors could check for potential issues such as cracked or missing shingles 2.

How to Prevent Mold After Water Damage

The best thing that can be done to prevent mold after water damage is make sure all the affected surfaces are clean and dry. Bacteria and mold often grow when there is a wet environment, so you’ll want to make sure that you remove or replace rugs and carpets after water damage has occurred. Finally, take into consideration that not replacing materials that are severely damaged will not make you save money but can be the source of further damage, such as mold.

Water damage is one of the main causes of mold growing on the walls and ceilings of a house. Any sign of excessive moisture, musty odors or mold should be tackled as soon as possible to prevent further complications that may cause health issues and serious damage to the house. Mold inspections are often useful to detect any type of mold growing in your home, especially those that might impact your health negatively.

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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Basement and Foundation Waterproofing

Waterproofing your home allows you to remain proactive about preventing water damage. If your basement is prone to flooding or you notice condensation on the walls or windows, then consider basement and foundation waterproofing services with costs between $3,000 and $5,000.

Installing a Water Leak Detection System

Water leak detection systems prevent serious water damage issues from occurring. The system actively monitors plumbing systems and uses sensors 14 to sound an alarm if issues such as ceiling leaks arise. The system also includes shut-off valves to stop leaks immediately. These systems cost an average of $1,000 and are installed by a licensed plumber.

Upgrade Washing Machine Hoses

Washing machine hoses are now available constructed from materials like stainless steel to prevent bursting. A pair of stainless steel hoses costs around $50 installed.

Document Drying

If any important papers were damaged during the flood, document drying is a type of service you may need. With document drying, freeze drying techniques are used. The service is costly, with an average price of $75 per cubic foot 5 of paper products. The technicians calculate the cubic feet of the damaged documents to provide a restoration estimate.

Air Scrubbers

Air scrubbers are a type of mold remediation tool used to purify the air. Air scrubbers remove impurities from the air including mold spores that may be lingering due to water damage. To install an air scrubber through a HVAC specialist, expect to pay around $1,500.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Permits may be needed by your contractor depending on the extent of the restoration work needed. Certain appliance replacement and major structural damage repairs often require approval by a township. Contractors arrange permits and acquire approval before beginning work.
  • DIY is never recommended for water damage restoration. Professionals know how to take the right precautions to prevent health hazards when exposed to potential mold and black water.
  • Home insurance plans vary with different coverage limitations; some of them may cover water damage issues such as flooding, but others require you to purchase separate flood insurance to cover flood damage repairs and restoration efforts.
  • Water alarms are relatively low-cost and can be placed in areas like the basement to notify homeowners of flooding. Water alarms run off of batteries and cost around $20 for a basic version.
  • Dehumidifiers are a must for areas, like the basement, prone to water damage. A desktop dehumidifier doesn’t have the capacity to adequately evaporate water droplets in large areas like the basement. Expect to pay at least $150 for a basement humidifier.
  • Damaged materials must be removed quickly with proper safety equipment worn by professionals. The EPA recommends flood cleanup efforts be performed within 48 hours.
  • Air movers are a type of blower 11 fan used to dry out water damaged areas. The average cost of these fans is $100 to $200.


  • How long does it take to repair water damage?

Water damage cleanup and repairs are done in phases. At a minimum, water extraction and drying efforts will take at least three days to complete.

  • What is the average cost of water damage restoration?

Homeowners can expect to pay around $3,000 for mid-range water damage restoration services.

  • How do you restore water damage?

Professionals follow a strict timeline to restore water damage. The process always starts with an inspection and assessment before water extraction starts. The area is then dried with excess humidity removed from the air. Once completely dried, any structural repairs can be scheduled.

  • Does insurance cover water damage?

Home insurance may cover water damage, but always check with your provider before filing a claim. For instance, you may need flood insurance if the damage occured due to a flood.

  • How long does water damage take to show?

Water damage may take months to show up if there’s a slow leak in the home. Post-storm damage may be visible immediately.

  • How much does it cost to dry out water damage?

Flooded basement cleanup costs an average of $1,000 if it was exposed to clean water, while gray water extraction and cleanup costs around $3,000.

  • How much does it cost to repair water damaged drywall 1?

Drywall repairs cost an average of $1.50 per square foot 5.

  • How can you tell where a water leak is coming from?

Routinely inspecting the pipes, as well as faucets, in your home is helpful in narrowing down the source of the leak. You could also follow the sound of dripping or running water.

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Sheetrock 1 Drywall: (Also known as Sheetrock) Type of plasterboard, commonly used to build walls and ceilings, composed of gypsum that is layered between sheets of heavy paper
glossary term picture Shingle 2 Shingles: A smooth, uniform, flat piece of construction material, available in a wide variety of materials and laid in a series of overlapping rows, used to cover the outside of roofs or walls to protect against weather damage and leaks.
glossary term picture Flashing 3 Flashing: Pieces of sheet metal used on roofs to cover joints, such as where the roof meets the wall, or around a chimney or skylight, to protect them and prevent water leaking through
glossary term picture Linoleum 4 Linoleum: An inexpensive flooring material made from linseed oil, resins, recycled wood flour, cork dust, limestone and mineral pigments, on a canvas or jute backing.
glossary term picture Footing 5 Foot: A support for the foundation of a house that also helps prevent settling. It is typically made of concrete reinforced with rebar, but can also be made of masonry or brick. It is usually built under a heavier part of the house like a wall or column, to distribute the weight of the house over a larger area.
glossary term picture Vinyl 6 Vinyl: A synthetic plastic made from ethylene and chlorine. Vinyl has many applications in the construction industry and it is widely used in sidings, window frames, roofing and gutters, among others
7 Gaskets: A seal that fills the space between two or more surfaces that are joined together, allowing a tight seal even when the surfaces do not fit against each other perfectly
glossary term picture Padding 8 Padding: A cushion placed under a carpet to absorb impact, thus extending the life of the carpet
9 Levels: (Also known as Grading) The process of evening out the ground's surface, making it either flat or sloped.
glossary term picture Pump 10 Pumps: A device used to move air, liquid, or gas by mechanical means
glossary term picture Blower 11 Blowers: An accessory that makes a fireplace more efficient by circulating the warm air in the fireplace to other areas of the home
glossary term picture Sump Pump 12 Sump pumps: A mechanical device used to remove water from wet areas such as basements and crawlspaces in order to help prevent flooding
glossary term picture Caulking 13 Caulk: A chemical sealant used to fill in and seal gaps where two materials join, for example, the tub and tile, to create a watertight and airtight seal. The term "caulking" is also used to refer to the process of applying this type of sealant
glossary term picture Sensor 14 Detectors: (Also known as Sensors) Device that responds to a physical event or change in the environment by emitting an output signal

Cost to restore water damage varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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Cost to restore water damage varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources