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How Water Damages Surfaces and How to Restore Them

Tuesday, June 8th, 2021
hot water damage

Indoor water damage affects the surface of common building materials in two ways. First, certain materials are subject to deterioration when contacted by water. A prime example is drywall that forms walls and ceilings. Another damaging factor is the absorption of water into the material itself. This is often an issue when water pools on floor surfaces like hardwood or engineered wood.  

Here’s how water damages the surface of these common materials:

Drywall

Drywall consists of white gypsum sandwiched between an external surface layer of thick paper. These materials are vulnerable to water and may be stained on the surface if wet or permanently damaged if severely saturated. Steps taken by water damage professionals to mitigate drywall damage include:

  • Circulating air.  High-volume air movers can accurately direct airflow across wet drywall surfaces to rapidly dry the walls and ceilings.  
  • Humidity reduction. High humidity common inside a water-damaged room triggers condensation that stains and deteriorates drywall. Industrial dehumidifiers are utilized to rapidly reduce indoor humidity following water damage.

Drywall that is wet and is dried in a timely manner can often be repainted to cover stains. Where drywall is completely saturated for a significant period of time, however, may require replacement.

Wood Floors

It’s a basic fact of nature that wood is absorbent. Water contacting a hardwood floor may discolor the surface. Swelling and warpage of the wood may also occur if the water is present for an extended time and absorbed. If water penetrates deeply, it will saturate the plywood subfloor beneath the wood flooring material, as well.  To prevent damage to wood floors, these techniques are helpful:

  • Rapid removal. Time is of the essence to save wooden floors affected by water. The quicker water is removed, the less damage may occur to floor surfaces as well as the deeper material structure. Removing pooling water and drying floors as soon as possible is critical to prevent surface staining, internal deterioration, and ancillary issues like mold contamination.
  • Deep extraction and drying. The technology used by professionals can extract moisture and dry floors effectively in many cases to minimize water damage. Powerful extractors pull moisture out of the wood and floor structure beneath.  Heat drying systems can direct deep heating directly into the floor material to accelerate drying.

If dried in time, hardwood floors that are not severely warped or swelling can often be restored by sanding and refinishing the material. 

Water Damage and Indoor Air Quality

Tuesday, November 17th, 2020

indoor air quality

Tainted indoor air quality is a frequent and significant side-effect of home water damage. Breathing in the indoor environment can be affected by numerous processes that are triggered by water exposure. Contaminated air can, in some cases, make a water-damaged house hazardous to enter until professional water damage remediation has rendered it safe and healthy once more. Pungent odors, though less dangerous, can certainly make a home unpleasant to occupy, as well.

Here’s a brief overview of indoor air quality issues resulting from water damage.

Mold Contamination

Water damage and toxic mold often go hand-in-hand as moisture contacts dormant mold spores present inside any structure. Once triggered by water, these dormant spores convert into active growing mold. Millions of airborne microscopic reproductive spores containing mycotoxins are subsequently released. Concentrated in the enclosed indoor environment, active spores inhaled by individuals with certain sensitivities may trigger physical reactions ranging from allergic symptoms to chronic illness.  

In addition to toxic air, active mold growth (and its cousin, mildew) is well-known for its pervasive musty odor that tends to penetrate all parts of the home. Professional deodorizing methods are usually required to remove the lingering odor after mold remediation.

Airborne Toxins

Water is the universal solvent. When a house is affected by water damage, paint, glues, carpeting, and other substances that become saturated may release toxic fumes like volatile organic compounds, solvents, and other chemical vapors. Airborne microorganisms, including viruses and bacteria, also breed very efficiently in a wet indoor environment and contaminate air quality.   

Black Water

Not all water damage is equal. Water that originates from a sewage backup or inundation from outdoor flooding is Category 3 water—known as “black water”—and classified as a biohazard to humans. This noxious water carries fecal matter and other organic material that contains living and dead bacteria. Airborne endotoxins released by black water are dangerous pathogens that typically infect indoor air and cause severe respiratory illness when inhaled. Any Category 3 water is a health threat that should only be handled by trained water damage professionals with proper biohazard techniques and disinfection methods.