Once you have found the water source, shut off the valve, and stopped more water from coming in, you don’t have time to waste. Beginning to dry out and repair the wet materials is paramount. Let’s discuss some of the steps you should take below:
Identify the Type of Water: You have three types of water to be aware of: “clean” water, gray water, and black water. The first is from leaky pipes or condensation, so it’s safe to clean up yourself. Gray water is slightly dirty from clean toilets, dishwashers, etc. With proper safety precautions, you could clean this up yourself as well. The last, black water, is water from flooding rivers and sewage. Due to the possible contaminants, you shouldn’t clean this up yourself.
Check for Mold: Begin looking for mold and mildew, as they can grow in as short as 24 hours. Mold can be damaging to materials and toxic to humans, so proceed with caution. If the situation is mild enough, cut out the mold and throw away the affected pieces. For larger areas, contact a professional after cutting off airflow to the space. Do a thorough check in hidden places like under floors or in walls.
Dry Out the Area: The most important part is to ensure no moisture remains after cleaning up. Patch any small leaks, use a fan or dehumidifier (or both), and thoroughly inspect everything for dampness. Double-check for good measure.
Throw Away Damaged Materials: Carpet, insulations, fabric, and similar items are porous and will soak up water. If that’s the case, you must cut out any affected areas and toss them out. Shrinking, warping, mold, and mildew are real threats once these materials are water-logged. If you have any unsealed wood, drywall, or cement will also be porous and need to be removed and discarded.
Disinfect Everything Left: After you remove everything, it’s essential to disinfect the entire space. You can use a bleach solution or other cleaners to take care of small areas of mold, prevent any or more mold, and help you before doing deeper cleaning. Do this step of lightly spraying and wiping prior to the water damage repair steps.
Ceilings Come First: Work from top to bottom. Gravity is not a material’s friend when water is damaged. To prevent sagging or collapsing, remove panels or boards that have been exposed to water. Locate the source of the leak, then check for structural beam or rafter damage.
Replace Wood and Flooring: You may find warped, rotting, or moldy wood. Prior to replacing, you want to clean beneath the boards properly. For carpeted areas, check underlaying and padding to see if they have been damaged or need replacing. Consider using waterproof flooring for replacement material such as ceramic tile, high-end vinyl, or certain engineered woods.
Fix Interior and Exterior Walls: For drywall that has sagged or swelled ⅜ of an inch or more from the baseline, that entire sheet will need replacing. For any other areas, just cut out the area and replace it. Remember to check the insulation behind the drywall before repairing it. For any water that seeps in behind the siding or faux stone, you’ll need to replace it quickly before any significant damage occurs. It’s time for touch-ups with caulking and paint to happen after you replace any materials. Seal it well!
Don’t Forget Insurance: For any significant damage, call your insurance and check your coverage. You’ll want to know the type of water damage repair covered. Make a claim if you need to and are able, but acting swiftly is vital.
LM Companies is licensed for and has experience with water damage cleanup and restoration. Plus, we will work with your insurance. We are available 24-7 in Northeast Ohio, including Akron, Cleveland, Stow, Hudson, and Cuyahoga Falls! Contact us today to begin the process of restoring your residential or commercial property.