Comprehensive Guide to Water Damage and Flooding


Comprehensive Guide to Water Damage

Many homeowners have asked us for information we put out there in our blogs and on resources page of our website. Please review this comprehensive guide to water damage and flood knowledge. If you have any questions not seen in this blog, please let us know in an email what your specific question might be related to water damage or flooding.

If you are seeking water damage services, we are available 24/7! One tip we can provide is to put our number in your phone (619-376-6838) for “Fire, Mold, and Flood Emergency” as we are here in San Diego to help for commercial or residential services. We cover all of San Diego County and have a portfolio of work from local San Diego suburbs such as La Jolla area, Rancho Bernardo, North Park, Poway, Oceanside and Carlsbad.

Section 1: Understanding Water Damage

Introduction to Water Damage

Water damage may not be the most wonderful topic, but we cover this because of the heavy costs and loss associated with in-home flooding and water damage. When most Americans consider their largest investment their homes, protecting them is of the utmost importance.

Water damage could easily lead to eroding away of the value of your home and transform a comfortable home into an unlivable health hazard. Take a look at previous coverage of “Water Damage Costs Restoration” as we discuss the cost of neglecting water damages and what water damage restoration looks like financially after insurance policies are reviewed.

wood floor water damage san diego. Read the comprehensive guide on water damage for more details.

Early Signs and Prevention

Our team has been working 20 plus years to help homeowners to recover from flooding and water damage scenarios. We have seen so much damage and destruction of property, we know how problems can be prevented. The responsibility is on the homeowner to work to detect and when possible, prevent flooding or water damage.

The knowledge on prevention can be found in our many blogs on prevention techniques and leak detection content. Be sure to read the “Early Signs of Water Damage” for knowing what to look for in general, but also consider exploring “Water Damage Prevention Tips” and “11 Water Damage Prevention Techniques” for proactive maintenance tips.

Insurance and Water Damage

Homeowners insurance is priceless when it works for you, but often additional coverage may be needed. For more information on water damage and insurance, be sure to read our recent blog on “Water Damage Insurance Policy” blog. You may also want to consider reading about “Water Damage Homeowners Insurance” where we discuss tips for filing a claim.

Pipe burst Flooding in office. Read the comprehensive guide to water damage to get tips on repairs.

Section 2: Dealing with Water Damage

Residential Water Damage Tips

If you live in San Diego, water damage may be foreign to you because of the SoCal weather and lack of rain. We suggest reading “4 Most Useful Residential Water Damage Restoration Tips” to cover the basics. Also, we wrote a general blog on “Cleaning Water Damage Tips” with a focus on San Diego County home’s common water damage issues.

Specific Damage Areas

With water damage, it is important to move fast to avoid mold growth, wood rot, and other problems. If water damage is coming from above, taking action fast is essential! Flooding from the ceiling can destroy everything under the weight of water and shrapnel from the burst point when the ceiling gives out. It is important to read the “Ceiling Water Damage” blog. Also, dry wall, stucco and other areas can rapidly act as a conduit for spreading the damage to other adjacent home components susceptible to water damage. Wood flooring can also be a costly damage to ignore as the wood swells and buckles up creating a new hazard as your flooring is slowly destroyed by water damages.

Section 3: Floods and Cleanup

Flood Cleanup Procedures

Handling flood events is not a common skill for those living in San Diego County unless in the Mission Valley or a coastal region of San Diego. When you have a plumbing emergency or flooding, be sure to take action and call professionals in to help!

Some of the basic procedures for flood recovery have been covered in these “5 Post Flood Cleanup Procedures” blog. While we have many tips for “Preparing for First Rain for the Season in San Diego”, and prevention like “Weather Proofing to Prevent Water Damage” to help prevent weather-related flooding.

Specific Causes of Flooding

Here are some tips for in-home causes for flooding. One of the most common flood types caused by home appliances is the toilet! Read more about flood causes in our blogs “Toilet Caused Flooding” and “Broken Pipe Water Damage” for in-depth information on these flood types. You may want to review the section on water types on our blog “4 Most Useful Residential Water Damage Tips”, as in the home, you can have waste water flooding that requires professional attention.

mold removal cost San Diego

Section 4: Mold and Water Mitigation

Water Mitigation and Mold

The most common question we get is “Can Water Damage Cause Mold?” which is asked as if the homeowner is already in denial they know this fact. The simple answer is “Yes!” but further explained, water damage, moisture, and humidity are associated with mold growth development. Therefore, if you can prevent flooding, water damage, humidity and moisture, you are preventing the chances of mold. Also, for specific water mitigation tactics, read our services page on “Water Damages San Diego” discussing water damage restoration in the SoCal region.

Section 5: Additional Resources

External Equipment and Costs

Water damage restoration can be a hefty undertaking financially and physically. We have provided some resources for you to review that may impact the way you get the work done. Here are some details on “Water Damage Restoration Equipment” and “Water Damage Costs Restoration.

Learn About Water Damage Restoration Equipment in our comprehensive guide to water damage or water damage equipment blog.

Beyond the Comprehensive Guide to Water Damage

Various Water and Mold Damage Blog Resources

Here are some blogs that did not fit into the above sections of the comprehensive guide on water damage, but they are great resources for knowledge on the topics they cover. We added two articles on mold and microbial growths, these are also very complete guides on the unique topics.

Early Signs of Water Damage

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Does your Wet Drywall look like this? Bubbling paint is an early sign of water damage within a wall or ceiling.

Water damage can wreak havoc on homes and businesses rapidly, often striking silently and leaving destructive consequences in its wake. In this guide, we’ll empower you with the knowledge to recognize early signs of water damage, identify its sources, and take decisive actions. The stakes are high – neglecting signs of water damage is like inviting a wrecking ball company to your property for practice swings. Let’s dive into the crucial signs and actions that can save your home from potential disaster or costly repairs.

An example of a home that had no signs of water damage having a massive flood from above.

This homeowner had no signs of water damage, they simply experienced a flood from above that we were able to fully remediate and complete restoration for their home. This before and after photo actually shows after our remediation on the left, and after our full restoration on the right side.

Why Taking Action on Water Damage is Important

First, note that signs of water damage should be addressed immediately. This content is to help those who may have only discovered the evidence of the damage. Often water damage accumulates silently, and will burst out of hiding without warning. Still after the flood, there may only be clues to the water source. For these water damages, we hope to help you to know the signs of the damage, discover the source, and know what actions are needed.

When you invest in your home, failure to act on early signs of water damage is like parking a demolition truck out front with the wrecking ball weight just waiting to fall upon your family. If you can take action to prevent water damage or remove it, do so immediately or call professionals.

Even if the water damage is minimal on the surface, the root of the problem can be costly water waste, wood rot formation, and also a cause for mold formations that will impact your health. Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome-Water Damaged Building (CIRS-WDB) is a severe respiratory health concern that can develop from water damage in a home or building.

Some signs of water damage or mold damage are obvious.

Before and after photo of a water damaged property that was neglected to let mold to grow.

Water Damage Experts

If you need help with a large water damage problem in your home or business, reach out! Orange Restoration has over 20 years of experience with water damage restoration. We can help with flood mitigation, water damage remediation, and also the reconstruction and restoration of your home. Our team has experience from international projects, so we have seen it all! Here are some tips prepared by our expert mold and water damage technicians.


Visual Signs of Water Damage

Often when we have water damage there are warning signs. Even if the water damage source is from a small plumbing leak or natural rain leakage. Looking for water damage can seem redundant, but it is not really about seeking the water damage, but about knowing the signs of water damage. Knowing the signs of water damage means, you will probably notice the water damage without putting effort into searching for it.

  • Recurring Puddles or Moisture: Often near the kitchen sink, puddles will form due to use, but could it be you are excusing the puddle that has been coming from a deeper problem? Yes. Often a leak’s symptoms will be dismissed in areas where there is regular moisture due to normal usage. A recurring puddle in the bathroom or kitchen should be investigated to ensure it is not coming from plumbing. 

  • A Deeper Slow Leak: A slow leak can be overlooked and allow for deeper structural damage to occur. Be sure to check under the kitchen sink and around fixtures in the bathroom every time you find a puddle near by these plumbing fixtures. If you find moisture on the fixture above a puddle, better call a plumber! Or call us to resolve the whole problem, investigate any deeper issues, and restore the water damages. 

  • Bubbling Paint on Walls: The paint of your walls should never bubble! This is always a sign of some deeper problem. If you see the paint on your walls begin to bubble, this probably means you have water pressure impacting the walls of your home. You might see the walls bowing as there may also be water inside the wall! This will require a professional to detect the leak and may require going into the walls to check for mold growth. In addition to the visual inspection, you might also smell a musty odor if there is mold or mildew formations. 

  • Buckling Wooden Floors: Before buckling, wooden floors may exhibit signs like curling at the edges or cupping, where the center of the board is higher than the edges. These changes indicate water absorption. Also, because the floors are lower than all other visual surfaces, other areas may show signs of damage leading to the floors. For example, materials around the flooring like drywall, baseboards, or door frames may swell or warp when exposed to prolonged moisture. Check for irregularities in the shape and alignment of these wooden elements. 

  • Discoloration of Walls: Usually water will leave a color of light brown or yellow on white paint or drywalls. Signs of water damage can also be discoloring of painted walls or wallpaper and create natural water stains that last long after the water dries up. Often wall paper will flake and the texture will change due to the water damage. There may or may not be bubbling of paint, only some paint will bubble. 


What does Water Damage on a Ceiling Look Like?

Often with water coming from above the water comes fast and heavy, but occasionally, it is a slow leak. When you are dealing with a slow leak, you may have the water permeate the structural elements of your ceiling, causing light brown or yellow water rings. 

Painted Ceiling: On the other hand, you may have painted ceilings that may bubble, flake or allow the weight of the water to increase till the ceiling sags or bows down. Also, mold growth could be forming around the affected areas including drywall leading up to the ceiling.  

Mold growth and other signs of water damage

Here is an example of Mold growth, one of many signs of water damage. The after photo shows full mold remediation.

Causes of Water Damage in your Home 

Signs of water damage can have unpredictable sources for some water damage issues. Here are some insights into the hidden issues causing these problems.

  • Slow Leak Hidden in Walls: An in wall leak will usually be attributed to plumbing. In the case of an in wall plumbing leak, chances are some mold will develop and spread within the walls of your home. 

  • You might be able to notice the musty smell, or feel the wall is moist from outside. All leaks in the wall will need to be handled. If you need repiping, we have Pro Plumber San Diego available to help with all the plumbing needs.  

  • Leak in Neighbors Unit or Attic (Water from the Ceiling): As you read, about the visual signs of water damage, the ceiling will often appear the same with water damages. Still, often water from above crashes down on us. 

  • When you have a leak coming from above, call a professional immediately. The implications of water damage from above puts all your possessions and your family at risk! You may want to coordinate with your landlord or neighbors to get this solved promptly and provide access to the professionals.

  • Plumbing Fixtures: Maintaining and inspecting plumbing fixtures is a good practice, but often when plumbing fixtures go bad, they become a significant source of water. Plumbing fixture failures will rapidly lead to flooding.

  • Broken Seals, Aged Weather Stripping and Roof Leaks: Inspecting your appliances, plumbing and windows is important to do at least annually. Also should be considered checking weather stripping before the rainy season. 

  • HVAC, Appliances, and Sprinkler Systems: Water is used in the home, around the home and within systems like the HVAC. These resources work well to help provide automation, comfort and consistency to the home, but when they malfunction, they can produce moisture, small leaks, or even flooding. 

  • Having an HVAC professional inspect the system and having a landscaping professional address these issues or turn off the systems for temporary stop to the leak source. If there is damage, you may still need to call a professional to avoid mold or further damages from the water. 


How Likely is Mold After Water Damage?

If left moist for 24 hours, mold will begin forming. Even though the mold spores may not be visible to the eye, microbial growth will begin to form. At this time, you will need to fight 2 battles, one to remove the water damage and another to fight the mold. Mold formations on the surface are not as serious as the implication of the mold spores releasing into the air to spread and also, when airborne, this begins to impact your health for the negative. We can handle your flood or water damages, but also deal with full mold remediation and restoration.


Orange Restoration Wrap-up on Water Damage

Safeguarding your home from the silent threat of water damage requires vigilance, prompt action, and a keen understanding of the red flags. Whether it’s the subtle discoloration of walls, the ominous bubbling of paint, or the more overt signs like buckling wooden floors, each visual cue demands attention. 

Remember, signs of water damage are not just a cosmetic concerns; it’s a potential catalyst for wood rot, mold growth, and even severe health issues. By recognizing these signs of water damage and mold early on and addressing the root causes, you can protect your home’s structural integrity and the well-being of its occupants.

Don’t underestimate the power of prevention, and should the need arise, our team at Orange Restoration stands ready to bring over two decades of expertise to mitigate and restore your property. Stay proactive, stay informed, and let’s keep our homes resilient against the stealthy negative impact of water damage.



San Diego Prepares for Hurricane Hilary

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San Diego is Expecting a Hurricane?

A CNN article published last night showed the Hurricane will most likely cause significant flooding in San Diego. The idea that a hurricane is brewing south west of San Diego might create some fear among residents. While San Diego is in the path of Hurricane Hilary, it should die down before it reaches our homes. However, homes near the ocean shores may see a change in tides. Homeowners near the beaches and other waterways should consider preparing for flooding and water mitigation. 

Also, in desert areas they are making flash flood warnings as this may be a shock to the desert communities. We have not seen a hurricane in San Diego since before they had begun naming hurricanes

Map of Hurricane Hilary’s Approach to San Diego

Map of Hurricane Hilary: The predicted path of Hurricane Hilary's approach to San Diego and other SoCal cities. Hurricane Hilary Photos were pulled 8:28 am 8/18/23 from the National Hurricane Center website.

This graphic shows an approximate representation of coastal areas under a hurricane warning (red), hurricane watch (pink), tropical storm warning (blue) and tropical storm watch (yellow). The orange circle indicates the current position of the center of the tropical cyclone. The black line and dots show the National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast track of the center at the times indicated.

The dot indicating the forecast center location will be black if the cyclone is forecast to be tropical and will be white with a black outline if the cyclone is forecast to be extratropical. If only an L is displayed, then the system is forecast to be a remnant low. The letter inside the dot indicates the NHC’s forecast intensity for that time:
D: Tropical Depression – wind speed less than 39 MPH
S: Tropical Storm – wind speed between 39 MPH and 73 MPH
H: Hurricane – wind speed between 74 MPH and 110 MPH
M: Major Hurricane – wind speed greater than 110 MPH

NHC tropical cyclone forecast tracks can be in error. This forecast uncertainty is conveyed by the track forecast “cone”, the solid white and stippled white areas in the graphic. The solid white area depicts the track forecast uncertainty for days 1-3 of the forecast, while the stippled area depicts the uncertainty on days 4-5. Historical data indicate that the entire 5-day path of the center of the tropical cyclone will remain within the cone about 60-70% of the time. To form the cone, a set of imaginary circles are placed along the forecast track at the 12, 24, 36, 48, 72, 96, and 120 h positions, where the size of each circle is set so that it encloses 67% of the previous five years official forecast errors. The cone is then formed by smoothly connecting the area swept out by the set of circles.

Ledged for the Hurricane Hilary map showing the different classifications of the hurricane and the colors associated with the map.

The map and map legend were provided by the National Hurricane Center

How to Prepare for Flooding from Hurricane Hilary

If your home sits near waterways or the ocean, you may want to barricade the water from your home with sandbags or other means. Before the risk of flood from Hurricane Hilary, have a talk with the household about emergency procedures. Make sure all household members know where the power shut off switch is, gas shut off, and the water shut off valve. Assemble a cache of essential battery-powered emergency tools, including flashlights with spare batteries, basic tools, and protective gloves, to swiftly navigate through challenging situations.

Use sandbags to channel excess water towards the nearest optimal drain, minimizing the risk of water accumulation from Hurricane Hilary. 

Use sandbags to channel excess water towards the nearest optimal drain, minimizing the risk of water accumulation from Hurricane Hilary. 

Prepare Your Home For Flooding

If you can place sandbags as a barricade to prevent water from getting to your property. Utilize sandbags strategically as a protective barrier to deter water infiltration. Enhance the effectiveness of sandbag placement by layering plastic sheets beneath the lower stacked bags, subsequently adding bags on top to secure them in place. Clear drains near your home, and work to use sandbags to guide water to the best drain close by. Employ sandbags ingeniously to channel excess water towards the nearest optimal drain, minimizing the risk of water accumulation from Hurricane Hilary. 

Capture Comprehensive Documentation: Take photos of your home before the storm, for insurance purposes, you can take photos of all your belongings and also of your prevention tactics. Make sure your important documents are safe, in a water tight container. Make sure your emergency items you prepared are ready to access when needed. If there are any areas of the home that are at risk of severe flooding, you may want to consider a sump pump to mitigate the flooding in an emergency. 

Secure Basement Windows and Doors: If your home has a basement, ensure that windows and doors are adequately sealed and reinforced. Installing window well covers and weather stripping can help prevent water intrusion and reduce the risk of flooding in your basement during heavy rainfall or flooding events. All windows of your home should also be closed during the rainfall and if possible, weather stripped prior to the rainfall to keep water out. 

Elevate Electrical Systems: Elevate your home’s electrical systems, including outlets, switches, and circuit breakers, above potential flood levels if at all possible. Weather stripping electrical boxes or around any housing for electrical systems that could be at risk of getting wet. This precaution can significantly reduce the risk of electrical damage and hazards in the event of flooding. 

Elevate Appliances: Elevate major appliances such as water heaters, furnaces, and laundry machines on raised platforms or sturdy cinder blocks. Raising these appliances above potential flood levels can prevent damage and enhance their functionality during and after flooding events. In the case of Hurricane Hilary, we hope flooding levels will not get this high for anyone. 

Minor Flooding of a San Diego Home as we prepare for Hurricane Hilary.

Water Mitigation and Flood Damage Restoration

As water mitigation experts, our team is ready to help you right here in our home base of San Diego! If your home has flooding, we are here to help 24 hours a day! Our team can be at your home rapidly here in San Diego to help combat whatever hurricane Hilary brings us in rainfall. 

Do not procrastinate, if you have any standing water on your property and want it removed, call us! The longer water is sitting, especially within your home, the more likely you are to experience mold spores that rapidly grow and spread. While we do handle mold removal and restoration, the Orange Restoration team is here to make it so you never have to experience this disaster. Mold removal is very costly and requires professional involvement. Please do not let your flood turn into a breeding ground for mold. 

Orange Restoration Wrap Up 

San Diego is about to experience the first hurricane since the late 1930s, with that many homeowners may be shocked. If you are in San Diego and have a risky flood area due to nearby waterways, you should prepare for fluctuations in the water flow due to Hurricane Hilary and use tips to prevent flooding in your home. Sandbags might be something you consider buying before the Hurricane Hilary gets too close as they may become harder to find.

If you have others living with you, be sure to prepare them for the possibility of flooding and discuss emergency procedures including location of shut off valves and power shut off. If you already have flooding, call Orange Restoration today to help remove this risk from your property. 

Mold Remediation After A Rainy Season San Diego

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Mold Remediation starts with proper cleaning equipment and some hard work. Mold Damage Removal may require more than the surface cleaning, it may be deeper.

San Diego homeowners rarely discuss rainy season mold, but this winter and spring saw the highest rainfall in a decade! From February to October, San Diegans experience summer-like weather as part of their routine. However this year, San Diego County received more rainfall than Seattle, Washington. These conditions are perfect for mold and often lead to an up-tick in mold remediation services.

In Southern California, the relatively short rainy season brings about high levels of humidity and moisture, which can contribute to the growth of mold. The extended rainfall of 2023, combined with the added humidity in SoCal and the lack of homes designed for heavy rain, creates favorable conditions for mold growth. Mold can lead to health risks such as allergies, breathing discomfort, and other respiratory issues. Beyond your health, it has the potential to cause permanent damage to your home and valuable belongings. In this blog, we want to arm SoCal homeowners with resources in mold mitigation and prevention. 

Mold Prevention Tips, Mitigation Tips and Early Mold Detection Resources

For comprehensive mold prevention, education, and DIY mitigation resources, check out our previous blog articles:

How Mold Impacts Your Life

How to Detect Mold

Causes of Mold

Mold Remediation in Particular Parts of Your Home: 

When Mold Remediation is needed, call an expert! this image shows mold in the edge of a window panel and the wall.

Mildew and Mold after Rainy Season

What is mold? Mold is a type of fungus that thrives in damp, moisture rich, and warm environments. Enclosed areas with elevated humidity levels, like walls, crawl spaces, and attics, are common sites where mold is often discovered. While mold can easily attach to walls and wood, it also can be found on fabrics, carpets, and other materials. Oftentimes, window curtains can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Fabrics can become damp either due to open windows or condensation on windows and window sills caused by trapped hot moisture in the gap between the window and curtains.

What is Mold Remediation 

Identifying and addressing mold sources that can be easily cleaned and restored to their intended function are essential preventive measures before resorting to extensive mold remediation or professional services. Make sure to inspect areas that might have accumulated excess moisture during the rainy season and require cleaning before the heat and humidity facilitate further spread or growth of mold. Mold may also be found on the shower curtain, or in the bathroom, these issues can easily be address with basic home cleaning but it an essential part in avoiding serious needs for mold remediation services. 

What Is Mold?

  • Mold is a type of fungus that grows in damp and warm environments.

  • Mildew and mold can cause health issues such as respiratory problems and allergies.

  • Mold can be found in many different colors, shapes, and sizes.

  • The mold left as is in your home is a threat to your home’s health, structural integrity and value!

Mold Remediation & Prevention in the Rainy Season

The increased humidity and temperature during the rainy season provide ideal conditions for mold growth. The accumulation of water in dark and damp areas can be a breeding ground for mold. These mold conditions are perfect in San Diego because of the recent rainfall and the current warmth! Mold can spread quickly in the rainy season due to the high humidity and warm temperatures.

Mold can be found around your home, at work or at a local small business, and this small exposure to mold can cause spreading by wind, moisture, and direct contact. This threat is microscopic, so even properly detecting the mold spores is practically impossible. Maintaining a mold free environment is truly an ongoing process of maintenance and mold remediation prevention. When mold has already begun to sink in and create damages, this is when you may need to consider hiring a professional mold remediation team to remove and restore your property to before the mold exposure conditions.

Mold Remediation Services

Mold can come in many different colors, shapes, and sizes, and can cause health issues if not properly removed and treated. It is easy to feel intimidated by mold or the mold remediation work needed to restore your home’s smell, safety and comfort. Mold remediation services can help to remove the mold, treating the affected area and preventing further damage to your home and belongings. Mold remediation is essential to maintaining a healthy home and protecting your family from the potential health risks of mold.


Prevention Against Mold in the Rainy Season

The rainy season can create ideal conditions for mold growth, so it is important to take preventive measures and constantly maintain a dry status condition for the home. To stop mold from recurring in your home, it is important to regularly inspect your home for signs of moisture, leaks, mildew and any signs of mold growth. Always remove standing water and stop the source of the water from leaking into your home. If you have had standing water in your home, after removal of the water, you may want to use dehumidifiers to reduce moisture build up in your walls or flooring. Be sure to dry all areas after a leak or exposure to water. Make sure to fix any leaks or water damage to prevent mold from growing.


Regularly inspecting your home and fixing any leaks or water damage can help prevent mold growth. Given the potential health risks associated with mold, it is crucial to promptly address any water leaks or water-damaged walls, ceilings, or floors. These preventative and anti-mold conditions may work as your first barrier to needing mold remediation services that can be costly and invasive of your lifestyle. 


Orange Restoration Wrap Up

Mold remediation services can help to get rid of existing mold and prevent future growth. Utilizing the expertise of a professional who possesses experience in mold remediation is essential to effectively eliminate mold from your home. Mold removal services can include cleaning, fogging, and dehumidifying the area to stop the growth of mold. Additionally, they can also inspect the crawlspace and attic for any hidden mold and provide advice on the best course of action. With the right mold remediation services, you can be sure that your home is safe and free from the health risks associated with mold.


Water Leak Detection is Essential

Water Leak Detection is Essential

Mold Removal Cost

mold removal cost

Water Mitigation vs Water Restoration

water mitigation san diego leaky ceiling damage