In the case of water intrusion, a homeowner needs to act quickly to salvage their belongings and mitigate further damage. Dealing with residential water damage is often a difficult and frustrating task. When you’re facing the aftermath of a flood or burst plumbing pipe, there are steps you can take to restore your living spaces.
Steps to Take After Residential Water Damage
Locate the Water Source
When dealing with a flood or burst pipe, it’s important to know what type of water you’re dealing with – clean, gray, or black water. Clean water most frequently originates from plumbing pipes or a sink or bathtub. It’s usually not toxic or contaminated, so you can clean it up yourself.
Gray water originates from appliances like washers, dishwashers, and clean toilets. It may contain some contaminants, but you can deal with the damage yourself while wearing appropriate safety gear.
Black water is from the septic system or from severe groundwater flooding. It generally contains bacteria, toxic waste, and other harmful contaminants. Black water is a health risk that is dangerous to you and your family, and you shouldn’t attempt to address this water damage on your own. Black water clean-up should be left to the professionals.
If you’re unsure of the source of the water, contact an expert to assess the situation.
Dry the Affected Area
It’s essential to eliminate moisture as soon as possible after water damage occurs. To dry affected areas, use fans in the affected areas and open up the windows to improve airflow in the home. Consider renting a dehumidifier to further dry the home if the water damage is extensive.
Remove Porous Materials
Porous materials include carpeting, insulation, clothing, and drywall. If any of these materials are affected, dispose of them. However, if you have a valuable item – like an expensive rug – that you’d like to salvage, you may be able to save it by drying it immediately and having it professionally cleaned.
Inspect for Mold Related to Residential Water Damage
Water promotes mold growth. In wet or damp conditions, mold can start growing within 24 hours. Inspect the area for mold. It’s important to take steps to thoroughly remove mold from the home. You can deal with a minor mold infestation by removing the affected material and disposing of it. However, for serious mold issues, contact a professional.
Sanitize Remaining Materials
Once you’ve removed all damaged materials, disinfect the affected area before starting any repairs. A simple bleach solution should be sufficient. Disinfect everything in the general area to eliminate mold spores that may be present.
Repair Water Damaged Ceilings
Ceilings affected by water damage pose a safety risk because they may collapse. To reduce the risk of injury or further damage, remove affected ceiling panels or boards. During your assessment, check to see if the water caused structural damage to rafters or support beams.
Install New Flooring
New flooring may be necessary depending on the severity of the damage. If you must replace the floors, you’ll also need to remove the padding and underlayment. While the removal process can be time-consuming, it allows you to install new waterproof flooring materials. For areas that are susceptible to water damage, ceramic tile is a good choice.
Painting and Caulking
Once you’ve replaced materials, repaint affected areas. Make sure to seal and caulk the new materials to reduce the effects of future water damage.
Learn if Your Insurance Covers Residential Water Damage
When dealing with water damage, take photographs in case you need a record of the damage. Call your homeowner’s insurance company. Depending on your policies’ terms, your insurance provider may cover the costs of the water damage.
Handle residential water damage effectively by following the steps above. And if there are certain aspects of the restoration process you can’t tackle yourself, contact a professional for help.