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Home Repair of Water-Damaged Items

Thursday, March 18th, 2021
water damage repair

Because most of your home’s interior is not waterproof, water damaged items may be numerous and wide-ranging after indoor flooding from any cause. The source of the water is an important determinant, as well as the elapsed time before professional water damage recovery begins. Here’s a general overview of typical water damaged items and how they may be repaired—or not.

Carpets and rugs. If water is from a clean source, water damage recovery professionals may use extractors to remove water and dry carpets and rugs. However, in many cases, the padding beneath carpet requires replacement and cannot be repaired. If water is contaminated drying and repair of wet carpets may not be feasible or worth the cost.

Drywall. In some instances, drywall on walls can be successfully dried. However, several factors such as type of water damage, length of time drywall has remained wet, and construction materials behind drywall will impact the likelihood of drywall walls needing to be removed, or dried in place. Affected drywall in ceiling and/or walls are water damaged items that can be repaired by cutting out small segments and replacing with new material. However, because drywall is usually readily replaceable, larger segments affected by water damage should be treated by removal and replacement with new material.

Tile and flooring. Repairing versus replacing most flooring depends largely on whether water has penetrated into the subfloor. Wet wooden subflooring swells and dislodges flooring materials. It’s also subject to rotting and mold. Therefore tile and flooring need to be removed and subflooring professionally dried. Certain flooring types may be reinstalled after subfloor drying, others require replacement.

Furniture. Wet furniture should be removed from the house. Commercial wood cleaning products can be used to clean wooden furniture and items slowly dried, away from sunlight. Water damaged items that are upholstered or include cushions are less likely to be economically salvaged, depending on the origin of the water and elapsed time since items were wet.

Appliances. If flooding was only a few inches, most major appliances can be saved. However, all should be checked before turning the units on. If water was deep enough to enter internal spaces in the unit and/or contact controls, motors, electrical circuitry, or gas valves or burners, these water damaged items should be replaced.  

Water Damage: Why Is Speedy Repair Critical?

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020
water damage

Once it strikes inside a home, water damage waits for no one. In scientific terms, water is classified as the “universal solvent.” For good reason: it penetrates, dissolves, and deteriorates more substances than any liquid on earth. The damage that occurs due to the influx of water inside a home isn’t a self-limiting event. It’s an active, ongoing process that keeps on keeping on as time passes.

Certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC), professional water damage recovery services are available 24/7 365 days a year to intervene and stop the steadily worsening process of water damage, and then begin remediation immediately. Here are some examples of why rapid response and proven techniques are critical to minimizing water damage losses.  

  • From the very first minutes of an incident, water spreads, seeping under baseboards and into adjoining rooms. Since water always flows downward, if an event occurs on an upper level, water will soon penetrate ceilings into rooms below, as well.
  • Absorbent building materials are early casualties. Drywall is permeable and highly absorbent. Just a few inches of pooling water on a floor may be absorbed as far as two feet upward into drywall. Soaked drywall swells and loses structural integrity and may collapse at any time. Insulation inside exterior wall voids may become saturated and require replacement, too.  
  • Flooring exposed to pooling water soon begins deteriorating. Common glued wood laminate flooring disintegrates quickly and is typically unsalvageable. Hardwood floors absorb water more slowly but begin to warp or buckle within 24 hours after water damage, requiring replacement or expensive repair.
  • After 48 hours, dormant mold spores in hidden areas are activated water damage. Growing mold begins proliferating throughout the house, releasing airborne reproductive spores that spread contamination. A mold-contaminated house presents severe health hazards to individuals with mold sensitivity.
  • As water penetrates deeper into the structure, household systems are at risk. In most cases, electrical wiring that has been contacted by water no longer meets safety code standards and must be replaced. Outlets and circuit breakers are also ruined. HVAC ductwork may become flooded and retain water.

What Is the Worst Type of Home Water Damage?

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020
home water damage

 If it’s your home that’s affected, there’s no such thing as good water damage. Even damage from a common source like a broken supply pipe is an emergency requiring professional intervention with proven, specialized techniques and equipment. But, of all potential water damage incidents, what’s the worst-case scenario? If you exclude events like catastrophic outdoor flooding from a hurricane storm surge, many homeowners might agree that a severe sewage backup is about as bad as it gets.  

What’s So Bad About It?

A significant volume of raw sewage—appropriately called “black water”—flowing backward into a home is an indoor toxic waste spill contaminating everything it touches. In addition to issues common with  Category 1 “clean water” damage, sewer backups also impose health hazards associated with bacterial and viral pathogens in sewage, noxious unsafe air, nasty odors, and the fact that saturated porous items—including structural materials like drywall—usually cannot be disinfected and must be disposed of. Often, the home will need to be evacuated until professional remediation is concluded.

Why Does It Happen?

Sewage backups typically result from two causes:

  • A blockage in the sewer line between the house and the street, causing wastewater to reflux back into the home.
  • A widespread event in the municipal sewer system such as inundation by heavy rain, causing city sewage to flow backwards into houses.  

How to Reduce the Risk

To avoid enduring the damage and disgust of a sewage backup, here are two strategies:

Get a sewer line inspection by a licensed plumber. An internal pipe inspection utilizing a video camera may reveal hidden issues that trigger sewage blockages and backups, including:

  • Tree root intrusion, the most common cause of sewage backups.  
  • An ongoing blockage caused by flushing inappropriate items, like paper that is not approved for sewage systems.
  • A collapsing sewer pipe.  

Install a sewer backflow valve. Typically placed in the sewer line just outside the house, this safety device permits sewage flow in only one direction—away from the home. Should the flow reverse for any reason, the backflow valve automatically closes to prevent raw sewage reflux into the house.

Water Damaged Floor Repair: Five FAQs

Thursday, February 20th, 2020
Water damaged floor FAQ

Water damaged floor repair is a common outcome after water inundation strikes. Whatever the source of water damage may be, the flooring in a house is often a prominent casualty of it. Here are five frequently asked questions and answers to help you make decisions about water damaged floor repair.

How does water affect flooring?

Hardwood floors—including engineered hardwood and wood laminate—are naturally porous and susceptible to water damage. While most tile flooring is initially water-resistant, as hours elapse, water may seep between squares and underneath, causing tiles to loosen and detach. Conversely, vinyl sheet flooring typically installed in kitchens and bathrooms is generally waterproof, although peeling may occur around the edges at the baseboards.

What are the potential consequences of water damage to a floor?

Depending on the material, you may see dimensional changes, including warping, swelling, and buckling of floor planks, as well as loosened tiles. Discoloration and staining may also occur if the floor material is exposed to water for long. Mold growth on and/or beneath flooring is another common consequence.

What’s the most critical factor to minimize water damage to a floor?

Fast, professional water removal and drying. Time isn’t on your side; the longer standing water remains on a floor, the greater the likelihood of permanent damage that may require replacement of some or all flooring. As the hours pass, the requirement for professional water damage floor repair becomes more and more urgent.

What about the subfloor?

If water is removed and effective drying techniques are applied quickly, penetration to the plywood subfloor below may be avoided or at least limited. Once the subfloor is saturated, however, flooring materials must be removed and the subfloor dried (or portions cut out) to prevent mold growth and rotting.

Should I repair or replace it?

Deciding factors include answers to the following. How long was the floor exposed to water? Is it solid hardwood or engineered hardwood? Has water seeped into the subfloor? If only a few planks in a wood floor require replacement, can you accurately match the original stain colors so they blend in?

Five Facts About Water Damage Repair

Thursday, November 28th, 2019
water damage repair

Because water damage inside a home isn’t just a single phenomenon, effective water damage repair requires more than just one approach. Today, techniques to achieve successful remediation incorporate a wide spectrum of procedures and technology to get the job done. Here are some examples of what competent professional water damage repair is and what it isn’t.  

  • It’s a multi-faceted project. Repairing water damage involves more than removing visible water from a house with powerful extractors and controlling water vapor with dehumidifiers. It means using techniques to detect the water you don’t see that soaked deeper into the structure, infiltrating wall cavities and penetrating sub-flooring. Certain saturated building materials may be deemed unsalvageable and must be removed and replaced.
  • It’s not a do-it-yourself thing. Water damage repair also isn’t a job for a well-meaing handyman, the local carpet cleaner, or an all-purpose general contractor. Professional water damage remediation by technicians certified by recognized industry organizations is a specialty that combines effective tools and technology with proven methods based on research and verified results.
  • It’s an evolving event. Damage caused by water doesn’t end when the water source stops. As time elapses, water keeps migrating further from the source of the damage. Water on the move penetrates electrical components, seeps into ductwork, ruins insulation and damages vulnerable possessions. Extreme humidity pervades dry areas of the house, inflicting secondary water damage.
  • It’s a matter of mold, too. Mold growth triggered by water damage is considered inevitable unless proven, effective countermeasures are taken within 48 hours. Indoor air must be sampled to detect active mold spores. Procedures to remove verified mold contamination, followed by disinfecting affected areas with EPA-approved biocides, help ensure that water damage is not followed by toxic mold growth.  
  • It’s not over until it’s over. After water damage repair is concluded, multiple moisture level readings and air samples are taken to verify that the house meets industry standards for dryness and decontamination. One or more brief follow-up visits may be scheduled to repeat these tests and confirm successful remediation.