In the aftermath of a flood, most homeowners worry about getting their homes back to normal. While one may think getting the home cleaned up is the most important, the task goes beyond removing the water, re-painting the walls and replacing the carpet. What is most important is to ensure your home is safe.
Water damage can lead to mold growth, which is a leading cause of allergies and hay fever-like symptoms such as nosebleeds, runny noses, red eyes and rashes. It can have serious health effects on your family, as well as your home’s structure, if your post-flood restoration is not handled correctly. Hence, acting quickly will help prevent further damage, saturating, and mold spore growth.
Here are a few steps you can take:
1. Get Rid Of The Water
In order to determine the extent of damage, you must first remove the stagnant water. Leaving the water to sit for an extended period will lead to more damage.
Water accumulation in various structures around the premises is often removed with submersible pumps. The efficiency of these pumps makes drying the entire area quite easy. However, be sure to remove the stagnant water within two days to prevent health hazards and reduce the growth of unhealthy organisms. If anything is unable to dry within this time span, it should be gotten rid of, including your carpet and furniture.
2. Get In Touch With An Expert
To ensure that you pump out all the water in your home, you can get help from cleaning companies that offer water removal services. If there is sewage waste lying around, take extra precautions and contact a professional. An expert can also clean up any debris that has become saturated and will make sure there are no molds or mildew left behind.
3. Measure The Moisture Level
Once you have flushed out the stagnant water, it is crucial to determine the extent of damage to prevent mold growth. You will need detection equipment to collect and map your property’s moisture levels appropriately. Licensed technicians performing these inspections utilize the latest infrared and digital imaging technologies to determine where the damage lies without causing further destruction to your floors or walls.
4. Consult A Contractor
The person restoring your water-damaged home must have plenty of experience. Ask your contractor what he should do. Verify his references and background and ask around his previous clients to know how well he did his job.
5. Let The Specialists Handle Electricals And HVAC
If the water reaches the electrical panel, outlets, or switches, or if it penetrates electrical equipment, it can pose a serious threat. Before turning the power back on, you should have your electrical system inspected by a licensed electrician.
If you suspect that water got into heat registers or ducts, have your HVAC system checked by an HVAC technician.
6. Flooring Replacement
Be sure to get rid of the entire flooring system, no matter linoleum, hardwood, carpet or tiles.
Water will cause laminate and hardwood floors, including the subfloor, to swell and warp. You must remove any water-damaged carpeting and underpads, especially if there are any natural fibers. Mold can’t grow on synthetic carpet, but it will likely be saturated since the subfloor is likely to be made of wood or OSB (oriented strand board, which is largely composite wood).
It doesn’t matter whether you have tile over the wood substrate or not; unless you remove the tile, the wood substrate doesn’t dry out completely. A wet floor will lead to mold growth, so dispose of it immediately.
7. Don’t Close Your Walls
Most walls are built with wood studs and drywall. Moisture will cause mold to grow on both. To allow the studs to dry, your contractor must open up your walls.
You need to replace the framing once you’ve cleaned, dried and deodorized it. In this instance, fiberglass wall insulation is ineffective since it absorbs water like a sponge. Polystyrene foam boards are made from extruded polystyrene, so these should be used for insulation instead.
8. Get Rid Of The Drywall And Insulation
Install cement board instead of drywall since it won’t absorb water. It will prevent you from facing mold issues in the future. If you wish to avoid wood trim completely, you can also use baseboards, so your walls will remain dry even if the carpet becomes wet. Apply waterproof paint to all surfaces.
It is a minimum requirement that your contractor removes at least one foot of drywall above the waterline, all the way to the ground—the more, the merrier. Failure to do so will result in mold and mildew.
Using saturated batt insulation is ineffective since it will compress, and the air space will fill up with water. Additionally, your walls will never completely dry out because the insulation will never dry out. The result can be poor air quality, mold and mildew, and further damage to your home’s structure from rot.
9. Allow The Wall Cavity To Dry Out
When your contractor has removed the drywall and insulation, leave the wall cavity open to allow it to dry completely. Wood studs appear dry on the outside but may still be wet on the inside. Your contractor will have a moisture meter, which is needed to know whether you can begin reconstruction.
10. Check Your Air Quality
Families often fail to conduct an air test in their homes. You can determine it by matching your home’s air quality to the outside. If the inside air is pungent, stay out of the house until it becomes clean again.
11. Renovate The Basement
Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need to start over by tearing out the entire basement. Thus, drywall and insulation products can be used to create a proper thermal break and help create a mold-resistant environment.
12. Restore The Exterior Walls And Windows
Although the exterior walls are supposed to be the strongest feature of any house, when they face the forces of nature, like torrential rains that carry tree limbs and debris, some damage is most likely to occur.
Despite serious flood damage, it is possible to avoid significant damage to your property. You can perform a successful flood clean-up with the right techniques and a bit of professional help. Every job is different, though, and must be addressed immediately, investigated, and solved. So make sure you take the right steps when renovating your precious home.