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Water Damage Restoration
When you’re dealing with water damage it’s crucial that you act quickly in order to minimize the destruction. Your first port of call is to avoid further damage by plugging the leak or stopping the flooding. From there, you and your damage restoration service can get to work undoing any damage and making repairs to your belongings and your property.
In this detailed overview, we’ll look at what water damage restoration services entail and how you can go about preventing further damage to your things.
What Is Water Damage Restoration?
Water damage restoration refers to the process of reversing the damage done to a property by water. This damage might be caused by a leak, by flooding or by another event. In any rate, a number of different procedures and tools can be used in order to minimize the cost of the damage and to salvage belongings that may be financially or sentimentally valuable. When it comes to water damage restoration there are two large certifying bodies that oversee procedures and that ensure everything is handled as it should be. These are the IICRC and the RIA. The majority of water damage restoration companies will use the procedural standards laid out by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) which is called the ‘S500′. Looking for a service that adheres to these guidelines is a good way to ensure a certain quality of service and the best possible outcome. The S500 uses reliable and standardized restoration principles based on research and experience.
What Is Water Damage Restoration For?
If your business or residential property has been affected by flooding of any kind, then your belongings and property will be at risk.
Water can cause severe damage to any number of fittings, items and documents. Common problems include water logging for your carpets and furniture, the destruction of electrical equipment, damp seeping into your building leading to subsequent mold, corrosion of other materials, degradation of documents, photos and other printed materials, discoloration of paints, damage to foods and much more. This can be highly traumatic if it results in the destruction of personal affects but it can also cost a huge amount of property damage – particularly for businesses that perhaps depend on certain tools and documents. In some cases water damage restoration will be used in response to an obvious incident such as a burst pipe. In other cases though, water damage can be more subtle and gradual. If you have a leak or mold, then water damage can be caused by moisture on a less noticeable scale. This can still be just as dangerous however – potentially even leading to the softening of building materials which could lead to issues with structural integrity. You might not see the signs of water damage in your home or business initially but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t there and that it isn’t potentially a big threat. Sometimes, water damage can even come ‘from within’. This is the case when your bathroom doesn’t have enough ventilation for instance, in which case you can end up with a build-up of condensation and steam. Or, water damage might be very localized and specific to a certain set of documents or an item of furniture. If you drop a large bucket of water, this can cause a significant amount of destruction!
Water damage restoration services then can be used in any manner of situations – from large, dramatic flooding to subtle basement leaks. They can also be used by everyone from families, to landlords to businesses.
This is a crucial service that can save businesses, families and individuals huge amounts of money and distress when used correctly.
How To Spot Water Damage
As water damage can sometimes be subtle, on occasion it is necessary to look for the signs and symptoms. The sooner you catch water damage, the more of your property can be saved and the less it will cost you – so be vigilant and ever on the look-out for these signs:
Water Drips and Puddles
This is an obvious sign that you have water in your property. If you notice puddles building up in your property, then this can be a clear indication of a leak or of seeping/lack of ventilation.
Sometimes you will be able to smell moisture or even mold in the air. This is again a sign that you may have a leak or a puddle. The amount of moisture in the air does vary of course however depending on your location and your property. If you suspect you simply live in a very humid area, then you may choose to use a dehumidifier to address the problem without needing restoration services.
Water can cause paint to fade and can also drain the dye out of carpets and furniture. Alternatively, mold might lead to dark patches of green fur.
If your walls or furniture appear light this could also be caused by other things. Sunlight for instance can bleach carpet and furniture when it hits them directly for extended periods. This is a sign to be looked for in combination with other issues.
You may even notice water marks on your walls or windows where water has been running down the surface. This is particularly common where you have issues with eaves troughs overflowing or leaking – which commonly lead to other problems such as damage to the foundations or leaking basements.
Soft Patches and Peeling
If moisture has gotten into your walls or flooring, then it can gradually break down the fibers that hold it together. If you notice a dip around your toilet for instance, then you might have a leak. Similarly, if tiles are coming off of your wall, or the wall is soft and crumbling in certain patches, this can similarly indicate a moisture problem.
If you have a lot of moisture on your walls then this can make your property much harder to heat as it reaches ‘dew point temperature’. This also creates something of a ‘vicious cycle’ where the cold temperature of the walls attracts more moisture and condensation. If your heating bill has gone up inexplicably or the house feels constantly cold, this could again indicate moisture issues of some kind.
There are many other potential signs that you have moisture in your home. If you’re unsure, consult with a specialist who can let you know for certain and provide a quote for restoration services where necessary.
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Water Damage Restoration Explained in 6 Easy Steps
If you are indeed struggling with water damage, then you should seek restoration services as soon as possible in order to minimize the damage and the potential expense to you. This is true for gradual damage but it is even more true when you have a burst pipe or a flood to deal with. Finding a company that provides 24-hour emergency services is very important for ensuring your property will be safe from water damage. This is crucial considering the severity of some cases of water damage.
For instance: if you have a burst pipe, then every minute it takes for a company to respond to your request for help will likely result in damage to more of your property as well as great expense to you via the waste of water. It’s also crucial for environmental reasons, as wasting water costs the local area greatly.
The best water damage restoration companies should be able to come out immediately when you need them most to help you prevent further damage and to get everything under control as soon as possible.
Of course before these companies go around counting your belongings and costing them up, they will make it their priority to identify and stop the water source. This might mean finding a stop-tap to isolate your water supply, it might mean using sandbags to minimize further flooding or it might mean sealing a leak in your ceiling/roof. Either way, this should always be the first thing you do. You might find in some cases that you are able to stop the flooding yourself before the company even arrives. Ask on the phone if there’s anything you can do in the interim and get an ETA from them.
Once the water has stopped coming in, these companies will then begin the process of assessing the damage to your property and identifying the cause. This is the first step which will allow them to offer you a quote and to come up with a course of action. They should also be able to give you an indication of what is salvageable and what is not – if the leak has been severe then sadly some things may well be beyond saving at this point. Water restoration companies will utilize sensing equipment such as probes and infrared tools and this way they can determine the source when it less immediately apparent. They can also ascertain the extent of the damage and the area affected. What’s also necessary is to identify the type of water. Here the water is assessed in terms of its cleanliness and can be categorized as: White Category 1 Water – This is water from a clean or sanitary source. It is also sometimes referred to as ‘clear water’. This is likely to be the type of water if the damage is caused by damage to your appliances or water supply. Gray Category 2 Water – Category 2 water has some degree of contamination which would make it unsafe to ingest. It can come from some other appliances such as washing machines or toilets. Black Category 3 Water – Category 3 water is highly unsanitary and puts the residents at severe health risks. This type of damage will often increase the need for moving services (see below) and needs to be dealt with quickly. Category three water comes from toilet bowls with feces, standing water, lakes and rivers, rain and sewage. Note: Water categories can change. Category 1 can deteriorate into category 2 and 3 with time. This is another reason that problems must be dealt with expediently. Less clean water is of course potentially more damaging than clean water as it will also act as a pollutant. Another early step at this stage in the process is to move any furniture out of the way which might be at risk. This can also aid them with reaching areas that need to be addressed.
Once the assessment has been performed and the water source has been stopped, the next stage is to begin removing the water. You can’t actually repair any water damage while your belongings are still submerged and so this is something that needs to be handled early on in the process. In some cases it might be necessary for you to move yourself out along with your belongings. Where the damage is extensive, moving out furniture and other items can prevent further damage, while finding a place to stay can ensure that you aren’t subjecting yourself to potential health risks by being exposed to a damp environment. Many water damage restoration companies thus also provide basic moving services to help get you and your family to safety. Next, the highly trained technicians working on your home will begin the process of removing water. They will do this using a variety of different tools and equipment, depending on the nature of the particular damage in question. Commonly used equipment includes:
- Submersible pumps
- Wet/dry vacuums
- Air scrubbers
- Wood floor drying systems
- Air movers
- And more
During this process, the company will also inspect your carpet pad and remove it if necessary. The drying process begins only once the standing water has been removed. This process is what will prevent any further damage to your items and return some of your belongings to a useable state. Depending on the type of item being dried, the specific method used will vary. In some cases, extreme care must be taken not to damage the items via the drying process itself. If you are attempting to salvage documents for example, you must be cautious not to accidentally tear the paper or cause the ink to run.
The water damage restoration company will also clean your property at the same time, especially where the damage was caused by darker water. This will restore the aesthetic properties of your belongings and at the same time remove pollution so that they will be safe to use. Where category 3 water has affected your property, this is particularly important. Ironically, this aspect of water damage restoration can often involve the application of more water! In some cases, dry cleaning methods can be used (such as dry carpet cleaning, which uses absorbent suds) but in other cases the careful application of wet cleaning methods will be necessary. This process should also involve deodorization in order to remove odors from the air and from your property. This will use industrial equipment such as air scrubbers and fogging equipment which provide a more effective solution than any other treatments when it comes to addressing bad smells. For sanitation, antimicrobial and antibacterial treatments will be used alongside disinfectants and sanitizing products. The precise choice will depend on the nature of the water damage and the item being cleaned. Some items unfortunately will need to be destroyed or removed entirely. Very porous items that absorb contaminated flood water might be beyond cleaning and restoration. This can often apply to mattresses, pillows, drywall etc. Wet clothing will often be salvageable. Either way, after your water damage restoration company has completed their work, you should be safe in the knowledge that your property will be completely hygienic for you to return to so you can be secure in the knowledge that it won’t have a negative impact on the health of you or your family. Mold removal services will also go hand-in-hand with this work. Mold can be highly damaging to your health and it is very important to remove it before returning your property. This is also crucial to prevent it from spreading and exacerbating future moisture issues.
Finally, the restoration process will begin. With all the water removed from your property and your belongings fully died out and cleaned, you will be ready to return to your home. Ideally though, the hope is that these companies can also repair and restore your items to the point where they are once again fully functional and fit for purpose. Restoration services can vary but they include:
- Tile repair and replacement
- Carpet repair/replacement
- Hardwood floor repair
- Drywall removal and installation
- Sealing of cracks
Many water damage restoration companies will even go as far as to provide building and construction services to physically restore your property for a low cost. This might be necessary where damage has led to a negative impact on the structural integrity of your property for instance, or where it has caused damage to the walls and flooring. You can also supplement these services yourself with other services in order to repair and replace your damaged and lost items. In other cases, building and repair work may need to take place earlier in the water damage restoration process. For instance, if you have a hole in your roofing that is causing water to come in, then it may be necessary to repair this damage before the rest of the restoration services can begin.
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