When floods hit, they leave people reeling from the damages and trying to figure out how something this devastating could actually happen. Beyond that, they must deal with the seemingly overwhelming task of flood restoration—a process that many people don’t fully understand. We asked flood restoration authorities to discuss the process and the different steps that it entails.
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Please see the following tips about restoring homes or businesses that have been damaged by floods and the associated dangers of mold that comes in those areas.
MOLD is a sometimes odorless, colorless killer that hides behind walls and underneath floors and you may not see or smell it. In areas that receive flooding or heavy rainfall, homes and businesses are now a petri dish for mold, and many residents don’t even know it.
Do It Yourself Flood Clean Up Tips
- Protect Yourself- Wear rubber gloves, boots and a face mask to reduce potential exposure to mold.
- Disinfect fast- There will be bacterial contamination from the flood water on any surface it covered. It only takes 24-48 hours for mold to grow and spread in wet, warm conditions.
- Discard damaged rugs and carpeting- Flood water is contaminated, and you will need to remove damaged items.
- No power, no problem- If the power is out, use mops, towels or squeegees to either soak up the remaining water or push it out of the house as quickly as possible. Dump water down the drain if sewers are working, or in the yard.
- Dirty Jobs- Work quickly to shovel or scrape mud from floors, walls and furniture before it dries. Bring a hose inside to spray hard surfaces, starting from the ceiling down.
- Get some fresh air- Bring furniture outside to dry to prevent any possible mold spores from staying in the home or building.
Mold: The Frightening Fast Facts
- Mold can make you very sick and even kill you.
- Bleach Can’t Kill It: Applying bleach can actually promote more mold growth on porous surfaces. A more effective treatment is an antimicrobial mixture made up of household items such as hydrogen peroxide, vinegar or baking soda.
- Symptoms of mold exposure: Severe body aches, joint pain, nausea, chronic, sometimes serious respiratory issues. These symptoms can develop quickly or over time.
- People at risk: The very young, the very old, people with compromised immune systems. Mold can be deadly among these groups of people.
- Mold is everywhere; however, mold spores will not grow if you get rid of moisture.
When a flood occurs, there are three main objectives: confirm the source of damage is resolved, minimize damage to building materials and contents, and prevent mold from growing in the future.
The obvious start to flood restoration is dry and repair. The water damage mitigation ensures safety, especially from electrical risk. Removal of water is done through various methods including pump or extraction. Restoration also includes removal of water-damaged building materials like drywall or flooring, but also furniture and personal contents.
The process includes treatment of previously undetected issues in areas like the foundation or plumbing. Due to the numerous health concerns caused by mold, the process also includes sanitizing with a fungicide to prevent mold. The final step in the dry and repair stage is cleaning to remove any debris left behind by construction.
After the dry and repair phase, reconstruction begins. Building materials are replaced, and new fixtures are installed, ranging from doors to light fixtures.
After reconstruction, contents replacement starts to make a home feel like home again. Furniture, window treatments, or clothing are replaced.
Water damage is stressful for the property owner. The less obvious, but equally important component, of flood restoration is care for the people involved. Homes are typically a person’s largest investment and the damage is painful to observe. The financial losses can be great as flood damage insurance is NOT just about floods from rising bodies of water. The sentimental loss is also often tremendous. Water damage often hits storage areas where sentimental items, like photo albums or yearbooks, are stored.
For businesses, lost wages due to closures mean lost revenue. Insurance coverage responsibility is often less clear. Employees who lose wages due to water damage restoration can lead to ill-will and turnover.
At a minimum, water damage restoration should be quick, but with care given for the people involved. It can also provide the opportunity to make the best of a bad situation, by cleaning out unnecessary clutter and freshening up the space as with a typical remodel.
Flooding can be detrimental to your home’s foundation as it causes the structure to weaken, which, in worst case scenarios, could cause the walls or ceilings of your home to cave in. In order to avoid these massive issues, it’s extremely important to take the proper actions to repair your home and keep you safe.
A foundation repair professional will begin by determining the extent of the damage after a flood. If there has been soil movement from under or around the structure, the structure will typically need to be shored or supported before any repairs begin. Once the structure is secure, repairs specific to the problems will be conducted. In addition to any structural repairs required, a waterproofing and drainage system should be installed prior to backfilling of the foundation.
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