Water damage can happen for a number of reasons, such as hurricanes, flooding, snow melt, storm surges, torrential downpours, and even over-saturation of ground soil. Sometimes, plumbing problems can even cause issues. But no matter the problem, when you have water damage, you are obviously also dealing with a long and exhausting process of home restoration. While you will want to get your life back to normal, rebuilding too quickly can cause problems in the future, like mold, infestation, and deterioration of the walls.
To help you take your first steps towards correct and careful home restoration after water damage, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Prior to returning to the location, you should always make sure you have turned off all gas and electricity. Have an electrician check the premises for any unsafe conditions. Once you have received clearance, you can then reconnect any electric systems.
Furnishings and Carpeting
You will need to remove all furniture, carpeting, and other furnishings that could get in the way of the restoration process. This will eliminate any additional steps as well, because you might find these items are damaged beyond repair. Do the following:
- Damaged carpets and rugs are best discarded, because they could be filled with contaminants from the water.
- If you attempt to salvage carpets, hose them off then have them professionally cleaned.
- Dry the flooring as quickly as possible. Within 48 hours of water damage is best.
- Never install carpet on damp flooring, as this will result in mold growth.
- Any upholstered furniture that has been damaged should be discarded, including sofas, couches, mattresses, or anything with stuffing. Wood, metal, and plastic furniture can be restored.
After the damage has been done, you need to open flood walls, even when no damage is evident. Ventilation of sodden walls is critical.
- Remove water from the walls as soon as possible. Do this by removing baseboards and cutting holes into the wall to drain any uninsulated spaces.
- Remove the interior of insulated sections and discard any damaged drywall.
- If you have paneling, you can prop it open and let it dry out for reinstallation later on.
- Discard of any damp or wet fibrous installation
- Using a dehumidifier and fans can speed up the drying process.
Any long-term water damage or wetness runs the risk of ruining most interior floors. But if you can promptly begin clean-up, flooring can be saved.
- Use a dehumidifier to speed up drying. Depending on the length of time water has sat, this process can take a few months.
- Always check for warping before installing any new flooring (the same applies to walls and siding).
- Any plywood or OSB subflooring that has been submerged for several hours will swell. You will need to replace these to prevent future buckling.
- If your subfloor is concrete, remove the coverings if possible.
Preventing Mold and Mildew
Protect yourself while preventing future mildew and mold growth. You don’t want to spread any spores. Do the following:
- Use a HEPA vacuum to remove any visible mold growth. Discard of any filled bags immediately. If you don’t have a HEPA vacuum, wipe away any visible mold growth with damp paper towels then place them in a plastic bag, seal the bag, and discard of it.
- Dry any items in the sun, if possible.
- Sponge off any remaining mildew with commercial-grade cleaning that is designed for the material you are cleaning.
- After cleaning, wipe the affected areas with a cloth that is damped with diluted rubbing alcohol.
- Allow these places to dry thoroughly.
Home restoration after hurricanes and floods or other sources of water damage is a long process, but you can make it easier for yourself. Follow the tips in this article. Time is of the essence when removing the water, yet you should never rush the restoration process. Take your time, and you will have everything squared away and back to normal in no time.