What Is Professional Water Damage Restoration?

October 16, 2018

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Residential water damage restoration work is needed after any flood, whether caused by a natural disaster or a plumbing problem in the home. Homeowners should also call a professional water damage restoration service company if copious amounts of water were used to extinguish a house fire, or if you've noticed leaks around your home's windows, ceiling, or crawlspaces.

Professional Water Damage Restoration Service involves properly drying and cleaning water-damaged building materials, removing materials that are now structurally unsound, and ensuring that all traces of excess water are removed from the house. Mold testing may also be recommended, depending on the extent of the water damage and how long a homeowner has waited to call for restoration work.

No matter the area in which you live, your house can be at risk for flooding and resultant water damage, as well as damage caused by water and chemicals used to extinguish a house fire. Note some additional information about what is typically included in water damage restoration service and a few tips on how to avoid water damage in the first place, so you can keep your house dry, safe, and secure! Every instance of residential water damage will be different, with varying degrees of damage and amounts of water to remove. A water damage restoration company should offer each homeowner personalized services, tailored to their home in particular. Most, however, will start with an examination of the cause of a flood, ensuring that floodwaters have been stopped at their source.

This initial examination is vitally important if your home has suffered a burst pipe or other plumbing disaster. A water restoration expert will need to ensure that the pipe has been properly repaired or capped off, or that a backed-up bathtub or other such fixture is not still pouring water into the home! Even if you've had a plumber to your home, don't be surprised if the water damage restoration expert asks to examine that area of initial flooding. Additional drying is performed after standing water is removed. Specialty absorbent floor mats might be set down over timber flooring, to pull moisture out of the wood. The carpeting may be pulled up and heavy-duty fans aimed at its padding and underside.

The areas of a home to be dried are also often contained; this can include plastic sheeting being hung up around damp spaces. You might also be asked to avoid going into those rooms or disturbing that sheeting so that residual moisture gets evaporated rather than escaping into other areas of the home.  Removing standing water is typically the next step in water repair work. This process may involve more than merely using a machine to vacuum water, as an extractor may not be sufficient for removing all the water left behind after a flood or fire.

In many cases, a technician may also set up heavy-duty dryers and dehumidifiers. These machines help to dry out the surface of carpeting as well as drywall and other building materials. Dehumidifiers also help to evaporate standing water as well as humidity that is in the air. A technician may also make notes of the level of moisture and dampness in rooms of your home before those machines are set up.  Monitoring the water and humidity to be removed from a home involves more than just physically feeling the building materials that are being dried! A professional water damage expert will usually have several high-tech instruments that measure water levels, moisture, and humidity.

For example, dehumidifiers will often have monitors that read the amount of moisture and humidity in the air, allowing a technician to know if they need to keep these machines operating or if the space is sufficiently dry. A technician will also take readings of the same surfaces and areas of a room that he or she noted before the drying process began, to continuously compare their levels of dampness. After the drying process, a structural inspection is typically performed. This inspection is to note if building materials are strong and durable, or if they've become soft or otherwise structurally unsafe due to exposure to water, fire-extinguishing chemicals, and the like.

Most water restoration experts work with highly-trained general contractors who specialize in these types of inspections and repair work. In some cases, wall studs, floorboards, and other such materials may need to be outright replaced, or small sections of these materials might be cut out and then refilled with new studs or drywall. The purpose of this process is to ensure your home is structurally sound after a flood, as wood building materials especially might be soft, cupped, bowed, warped, or otherwise in need of replacement. Water damage restoration work is often not done in just one day, but may take several days and even weeks, depending on the extent of the damage. Mold inspection might also be part of this process after building materials have dried and damaged materials replaced. Mold growth is more likely the longer a homeowner puts off water extraction and restoration work, and a water damage repair company will want to note if mold develops after a flood of any sort.

Mold cleanup is much faster and simpler the sooner it's performed, and before that mold is allowed to grow and spread. In some cases, you might decide to have your home inspected for mold growth after any flood or fire, to ensure mold spores are not developing! A home will need water damage services after a flood of any sort, but natural disasters and burst plumbing pipes are not the only times that a house might suffer severe water damage. Note when it's good to call a water repair expert to your home and why the damage might be so severe that it's time to rely on the services of an expert:

    • If a water feature in the home has broken or sprung a leak, this can cause severe damage to the house's framework. These water features include aquariums, waterbeds, fountains, water heaters, and toilet tanks. Never assume that you can extract this water with a shop vacuum or use heaters to dry spilled water, but call a water damage repair expert for a thorough examination of your home's framework and structure after such accidents and disasters.
    • Water and chemicals in fire extinguishers can both get absorbed by drywall, wall studs, ceiling tiles, and the like. If your home suffered even a small fire such as on the stovetop or outside a fireplace, arrange for water damage inspection and repair work.
    • Damaged pools and wells outside the house can lead to water seeping into the home. These water leaks can be absorbed by a home's framework and concrete, leading to structural damage and resultant mold growth. After a pool, well, or another such outdoor water feature has been repaired, arrange for water damage inspection and restoration work.
  • Moisture and humidity can get trapped in the crawlspace, attic, basement, or back rooms of homes. Walls, carpeting, timber floors, and other building materials can then absorb this excess humidity over time. If you've noticed excessive moisture in any room of your home, and especially if you can feel dampness on the flooring or walls, call for a water damage inspection and a mold inspection as well!

To avoid otherwise unnecessary water damage restoration cost, note a few tips for protecting your home and your property:

    • Have flood supplies on hand so you can quickly seal up your home's entryways during inclement weather. Thick towels can be rolled up and set along the bottom of doorways, to keep out floodwaters.
    • Keep your home's plumbing in good repair to avoid a burst or broken pipe. Have plumbing pipes cleaned out every year or as often as needed. A plumber can also examine pipes for rusted connectors, cracks, and other such damage.
    • Be mindful of how you care for aquariums, waterbeds, and other water features. Be sure aquariums are displayed on a sturdy base that isn't likely to tip. Inspect your waterbed regularly for leaks and have these patched right away.
    • Never leave a bathtub running unattended! Tubs can fill up more quickly than you might realize and then spill over the edge, causing tremendous flooding in the home.
  • Remember to keep a faucet slowly dripping in wintertime, as this will keep the home's water moving and less likely to freeze inside a pipe. Open cabinets under sinks, so those pipes stay warm. Insulate pipes in basements and those that run along exterior walls, so they don't freeze and then burst.

If you're mindful of these simple but essential tips for keeping your home safe from flooding, you will also avoid unnecessary water damage restoration over the years!

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