Commercial Water Damage: The Top 8 Causes

In this comprehensive post, we'll go over;

The most common causes of commercial water damage.

You'll also learn;

  • The difference between water damage and flood damage
  • Why a certified contractor is best
  • What to expect from the contractor
  • Why Rock Emergency is the best choice

So if you find yourself dealing with these issues, you'll love this post!

Commercial Water Damage

Commercial Water Damage Restoration in Rochester, NY

Commercial Water Damage

You are opening up for the day and when you walk in the door, there is water everywhere! What the heck happened? Everything was fine when you locked up for the night, and you don’t think it rained overnight.

This is a first for you and you have no idea what to do. So many things are going through your head all at once, and then you hear it...the sound of rushing water. 

You walk toward the sound and find that a pipe must have burst overnight and has been dumping gallons and gallons of water all night!

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What is the Difference Between Water Damage and Flood Damage?

When dealing with water damage of any kind, it is important to know what kind of water damage it is. Many think that water damage and flood damage are interchangeable, however, they are classified differently.

A flood occurs when there is a sudden surge of water to a normally dry area. There are areas that are more prone to flooding, such as coastal areas like Florida and the Carolinas. 

Areas that are known for hurricanes are all too familiar with flooding. Additionally, strong storms with torrential rains can often cause flash flooding in any area, not just the coast. In short, flooding is caused naturally by good ol’ mother nature. 

Water damage from other sources could also cause a flood, however, it will be classified differently. These other causes can include burst pipes, plumbing and appliance issues, or a leaking roof.

When calling the insurance company, they will need to know what caused the water damage: natural flood, or something else. Keep reading to learn the most common causes of commercial water damage.

Top 8 Causes of Commercial Water Damage

Much like any home, there are several causes for commercial water damage. Did you know that having just 1 faucet that leaks even just a little bit, can waste over 3,000 GALLONS of water each year?

That is enough water to take a shower every other day for the entire year! Below are common causes of commercial water damage:

Leaking Faucets/Pipes

Leaking faucet

Most commercial buildings have multiple faucets and pipes running all over the facility. If multiple faucets or pipes are leaking, the amount of water can really add up each day if it goes unnoticed.

Not only does the amount of water increase, but so does the water bill. Additionally, if left unnoticed, the damage can get worse over time allowing mold growth and structural damage.

Roof Leaks

Ceiling water damage

Roof leaks can go unnoticed for quite some time before the damage becomes noticeable. The roof is meant to keep the elements outside (rain, snow) but as it gets older, the chances of a leak become more likely.

As the roof structure breaks down, the damage could seem like it “happened overnight”. With roof leaks, mold growth is likely as well as the need for a new roof.

Damaged Windows

Water damage by leaking window

Older buildings are known for being drafty. Windows that are not properly sealed can let in moisture and even leak when it rains hard enough.

If it happens to be a rainy season, the windows may be constantly leaking and allowing water into the building. Extended exposure to rain or moisture can lead to wood rot and structural damage if it is left alone.

Burst Pipes

Water damage from burst pipe

When a pipe bursts, it could be due to age or because it was frozen. Older buildings will obviously have older pipes that can break down and be more likely to burst.

Winter can bring well below freezing temps and can create a headache of problems with frozen pipes.

Damaged Sprinkler System

Faulty sprinkler system

All commercial buildings are required to have a sprinkler system along with a fire alarm system. Over time, the sprinkler system can wear down and start to malfunction.

When this occurs, it might go off (possibly overnight) without any reason which could cause major flooding.

Broken HVAC System


Leaky HVAC systems can be a burden for any commercial space. FInding the initial cause of the leak can be frustrating for many reasons.

Most buildings have a large system in place and a severe leak can cause commercial water damage throughout the whole facility

Broken Equipment/Appliances

Commercial kitchen

Restaurant kitchens can be prone to commercial water damage if there is any equipment or appliances that are broken or malfunctioning. Imagine a full industrial size dishwasher breaking mid-cycle and all the water leaks out.

Natural Disaster

Street view of a flooded town
Natural disasters like severe storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and everything in between can cause commercial water damage. Other damage might also occur to the structure of the building and may require additional restoration services.

Why Hire a Certified Contractor & What to Expect


For some people, water damage and flood cleanup can be easily taken care of by themselves. Sometimes, the job is just too big and there is too much water. It is important to hire a certified water damage restoration contractor to complete that daunting task.

Not only are they familiar with the restoration process, but they are also trained to handle the task following all safety guidelines to limit any exposure to harmful materials.  

Commercial water damage can continue even after the source of the water issue has been fixed and the water has been cleaned up. If the space has not been properly dried out, it is basically an open invitation for mold and mildew growth.

Not to mention bacteria and other microbes that will eventually circulate through the HVAC system and throughout the rest of your facility. 

The certified experts will complete a thorough assessment of the commercial water damage and create a working plan.

Water Damage tools
Using a variety of tools and equipment, the contractors will remove all signs of water and will dry out the space quickly and efficiently through the use of high powered fans, suction mats, and dehumidifiers. 

Depending on how long the area had been wet, the process may take a couple of days to be completely dried out. Once dry, the restoration process can begin.

Any damaged ceiling, flooring, or walls will need to be removed and replaced to ensure no further damage can be done. The end goal is to have the commercial property restored to pre water damage conditions.

Why is Rock Emergency the Best Commercial Water Damage Restoration Contractor?


Rock Emergency has been in the business of helping others for 10+ years with many more years of experience. Every member of the Rock Emergency team is a certified commercial water damage expert.

Every job is handled with professionalism, care, and expertise. Our goal is to have your property restored in as little time as possible so you can get back to work as quickly as possible.

Commercial water damage restoration is just one service we provide, we can also deal with any mold remediation or asbestos removal needs. 

We are IICRC certified, and HAZWOPER trained. We always follow all OSHA guidelines and can guarantee quality services! Rock Emergency does it all.

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