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Water Damage Clean Up Tips When You Have Water Damage in Your Home or Business


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If you are reading this most likely you have had or have water damage in your home or business. It may be as small as a water stain on your wall (in till in causes mold damage) or as large as a whole room, basement, whole house or a couple of floors in a building. The following tips will assist you in what to do when you have water damage. Please remember that these tips are just guidelines and good judgment should be used when trying to restore water damage. If you feel you need help contact your local IICRC certified water damage Restoration Company or contact the author of this article.

Here are the following 11.5 major important tips when water damage occurs:

1. Wear puncture resistant boots and puncture resistant gloves. This will protect you from electric shock and sharp objects( you will see later what I mean)

2. As soon as possible extract as much water from the area as possible( I know this is obvious but I needed to state this you don't know who may be reading)

3. Lift all furniture from the floors on to wood blocks. Professionals use Styrofoam blocks but most readers don't have Styrofoam available. Go to a hardware store and ask for scraps. 2 x 4 are the best to use. There may be furniture to heavy to pick up and that may be a time to contact an IICRC water damage professional.

4. Pick up any loose items on the floor (clothes, toys, etc).

5. Lift the carpet off the tacks strips very carefully. The tacks strips that hold the carpet down have sharp nails and can cut you easily (listen to the guy who has experienced this first hand). Also the tack strips have been down in many cases for years and are rusted. Rust nails can mean tetanus. Now you see what a mean by using puncture resistance gloves. Also if you take the carpet up incorrectly you may (actually most of the time) also tear the bottom of the carpet. Tearing the bottom of the carpet means you can't reinstall the carpet later, which means you just bought new carpet.

6. After you have lifted the carpet remove the wet padding (just the wet padding and dispose of it). Why remove the padding? Because it will take days longer to dry possibly ruining the carpet and creating mold.

7. When the padding has been removed spray an antimicrobial to slow down the growth of mold and mildew microbes. Remember I said slowl down microbial growth not prevent it or remove it. Antimicrobials are designed to slow the possibility of growth, but in a short period of time those microbes and mold spores will grow again.

8. So to prevent microbial growth from growing or more important mold growth you need to completely dry out the wet effected area. Now you may think that the carpet is the only thing that is wet, but inside the drywall and behind the wall base may also be wet. Just touching the wall and the base is not enough. Your wall that looks "bone" dry may be wet behind the paint or drywall. You'll need moisture detection equipment to see if it is wet. To do this you'll need to purchase moisture detection equipment (quickly you only have 48 hours from the start of the water damage or mold will grow) or you'll need to contact a IICRC water damage Restoration Company.

9. Once you have determined that the areas are wet (walls and carpet), you'll need to bring in special designed carpet air movers and commercial dehumidifiers (a rental center will have them). Now please understand that a home residential dehumidifier and a regular house fan will not do the same. I have experimented with using these products and have found out that they do not come close to what the other machines do. The air fans are then placed under the carpet and placed to the wall (wall base removed and holes drilled under the wall base line). The commercial dehumidifier is placed in the room. Again an IICRC certified water damage Restoration Contractor has these equipments.

10. It is customary to leave the equipment for at least 3 days and then check the moisture with moisture detection equipment. You can check daily, but it usually takes three days on average to dry.

11. When everything is dry replace the wall base and reinstall the carpet. Unless you are very handy and have the right tools (and coordinated) I would suggest having a carpet installer reinstall the carpet with new padding.

Now you have probably noticed that I mentioned 11.5 water damage tips. The .5 tip is a small tip but very important. If you see wet ceiling coming down, make sure that you remove it ASAP. Murphy's Law says that you will be the one to get hit by the wet ceiling when you walk under it. I personally have been hit by falling ceiling (don't ask). I can't count high enough the amount of times I have seen homes and businesses that have wet ceilings that are still hanging waiting to clobber someone.

Jeff Cohn is a IICRC certified water damage master restorer. He also teaches water damage for insurance agents for their continuing credits. He has been in the restoration business for over 20 years. He owns SI Restoration http://www.si-restoration.com



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About the Author

Jeffrey Cohn, SI Restoration
2312 Eskow Ave
Halethorpe, MD 21227
888-980-6776

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