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Water and Fire Restoration: Terminology You Should Know About


If you’re affected by fire or water damage, chances are you want to know if your property is salvageable. Is it possible to restore property after water or fire damage, and how does the process work? And what can you expect if you hire fire and water restoration experts?

If you have such questions, we have the answers. Below, the United Water Restoration Group covers the basics you should know about. Then you can hire our team with confidence.


What Is Fire Restoration?

Fire restoration means restoring any fire-damaged property to its pre-fire condition. In other words, it’s how you might save any property damaged in a home or business fire.

What can be restored? Any property has the potential to be restored after fire damage. This includes:

  • Buildings. walls, surfaces
  • Personal belongings
  • Business assets e.g. stock, office furniture

Restoration is a multi-stage process. The property must be:

  • Assessed, to determine the scope of the work involved;
  • Protected, to mitigate the risk of further damage; and
  • Repaired, to return it to the pre-fire state.

What Is Water Restoration?

Water restoration is similar to fire restoration. It’s the process of restoring any property back to how it was before a disaster e.g. a flood or storm.

All physical property may be assessed for a water clean-up, including buildings and any contents. The process begins with a thorough evaluation. Then, the water clean-up team will preserve and protect assets from further damage. Finally, the repairs and restoration process can begin.

What Does a Fire and Water Damage Restoration Company Do?

If you’ve never hired fire and water damage teams before, you may be unsure how they can help. A damage repair company will:

  • Assemble a team to inspect the site and assess the damage
  • Determine which property can be repaired and restored
  • Identify a strategy for completing repairs and restorations
  • Complete the remedial work, which includes sanitizing, draining, cleaning, and drying as required
  • Assist with all the insurance matters involving fire and water damage

United Water Restoration can assist with any water and fire damage project. We offer a 24/7, immediate response service to those who need us.

Can All Property Be Restored After Fire or Water Damage?

Water and fire damage may be devastating. However, belongings, and property can often be restored by experienced professionals.

The property must be fully assessed and carefully handled to maximize the chances of a successful restoration. Our team will conduct a thorough inspection and explain your restoration options.

Now, here’s some terminology you may find useful before hiring a fire and water restoration company.

Air Mover

These tools are essential in the water damage restoration process. They are designed to blow lower to the ground at high speeds. This helps force water to quickly evaporate from floors and carpets. Being lower to the ground, it can be directed towards tight locations below obstructions.

Air Scrubbers

An air scrubber is a device that is placed in the affected, fire-damaged room to remove pollution. These strong scrubbers utilize HEPA charcoal filters to effectively remove all airborne contamination, such as smoke and soot.

Balanced Drying

Balanced drying is quite simple, it’s balancing the evaporation and dehumidification of water-damaged materials. The ideal drying situation is in which the rate of evaporation from the contacts is equal to or less than the rate of dehumidification or moisture removal from the air.

The balanced drying technique is to prevent moisture absorption in the air into unaffected materials, minimizing the chance of secondary damage occurring.

Board Up and Tarping

Fires can create holes in a structure, burning away doors, windows, and roofs. These holes can remain a problem, allowing possible entry for pesky animals or opportunistic thieves. Board up and tarping is a way to temporarily fix up these holes.

Our fire restoration team will cover any massive openings on a structure to stop any unwanted visitors from entering.

Category 1

This form of water damage poses no real threat to humans, the water originated from a clean source.

Category 2

Greywater is present, or wastewater, which contains chemicals, biological and/or physical contamination. It has the potential to cause sickness if humans are exposed to it.

Category 3

The most extreme water damage is where the water is black, known as blackwater. This cleanup requires swift action as it poses serious health risks. It is extremely unsanitary and can result in serious health issues or death if exposed to humans.

Water such as ground surface water, floodwater, sewage, and seawater are examples of black water. Black water usually occurs due to hurricanes or tsunamis.


A claim is when a home or business owner files an action for financial, insurance assistance after property damage has occurred. A claim can be for fire damage, water damage, or both.

Class 1

The least amount of water, absorption, and evaporation is needed.

Class 2

A large area of water needed to be absorbed and evaporated.

Class 3

A gigantic area of water that must be absorbed and evaporated.

Class 4

This class is highly involved, where the area needs a specialty planned drying situation. Our water clean-up specialists can explain the steps involved if you have Category 4 damage.


Dehumidification is a high-energy process that removes moisture from the air.


Dehumidifiers are the appliances used to perform the dehumidification process. Typically our technicians use these on jobs where an extremely soaked, water-damaged area is present.


Simply this is where we will remove any water remaining from the affected area while we restore the structure.



High-efficiency particulate absorbing filters theoretically remove at least 99.97% of pollen, dust, mold, and any other airborne particles. They are effective at fully treating the airborne space of an affected area.


We must perform a visual inspection on water and fire damage before our techs can begin work. This is critical to performing quality fire and water restoration services.


Fire and water mitigation is a complex process. It means  cleaning, sanitizing, drying, repairing, and restoring a water-damaged property back to pre-loss conditions.

Moisture Detector

A moisture detector is a device with two stainless steel probes that are inserted into the damaged area. A light will go off and indicate the saturation of the affected area, determining if water damage is present.

Odor Removal

Lingering odors from fire damage can be overbearing. The use of proper ventilation and air movers can help speed up this process. Also, treating fabrics and fogging the area if needed.

Thermal Hygrometer

A useful tool for water clean-up technicians that measures a building’s moisture level.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Special, OSHA standardized equipment that workers must wear for protection when treating water and fire-damaged areas. The equipment is such as gloves, goggles, respirators, hard hats, etc.

Relative Humidity

The relationship between air volume and the moisture it holds at a specific temperature. As temperature increases, humidity to total air volume decreases; this is vise versa as temperature decreases, humidity increases.

Restorative Drying

Returning a structure to pre-loss conditions by removing excess water, humidity, and moisture. There are four principles of restorative drying: extraction, evaporation, temperature control, and dehumidification.

Scope of Work

The overall plan or protocol for a fire and water restoration project. It identifies what needs to be done and who is responsible for various components.

Structure Cleaning

An intense cleaning of all surfaces in the damaged area affected by the water or fire damage.

Smoke and Soot

Fire restoration must be completed in various stages. Smoke and soot damage are two separate entities to treat. Soot is damage that needs to be really scrubbed off. While smoke damage is generally in the air or absorbed into porous materials and needs to be sucked out.

Work Authorization

An authorization form that permits individuals or a company to work on-premises. These are always under the terms of the owner’s insurance policy.

Contact Our Fire and Water Restoration Experts

With years of experience, our fire and water restoration technicians can restore any water or fire-damaged property. Now that you know the proper terminology our technicians use, recording documentation of the incident is just as much easier for you.

Make sure to give our experts a call at (800) 430-5838 for any restoration project you need.

Check out our other blogs on mold remediation and trauma/surface cleaning terminology!

We provide services in Ormond Beach, Jacksonville, Daytona Beach,  Orlando, Tampa, Melbourne, and many other locations around Florida!