Intro To Water Damage Restoration
Water intrusions, flood and excess moisture each have the power to cause minor damage or wreak havoc on an indoor environment such as your home or office. As the planet is over 70% water and composed of microbial elements, the conditions needed to trigger and support mold growth are always present. All that that is needed to destroy this delicate balance is the introduction of excess moisture. Whenever moisture content and humidity levels become abnormally high, microorganisms such as mold will naturally begin to multiply exponentially. This rapid increase of mold growth can lead to structural deterioration, odors and has the real potential to create serious health issues for building occupants.
When a water damage occurs, the single most critical factor of estimating the potential damage is the amount of time the structure has been wet and how long the structure remains abnormally wet. This fundamental principle is the reason why the most critical course of action of a water damage restoration professional is to respond quickly and begin the water removal process as soon as possible. All other actions taken during a water mitigation project pivot around this very important principle.
Water Damage Mitigation and Restorative Drying
The restorative the drying process consists of 4 basic tenants:
Each water damage project consists of “standards” and “variables” which make the mitigation project unique. Though the standards are numbered and remain constant, the variables of water damage remain without number. Due to the fluctuating nature of water damage mitigation, the professional must, like water, remain flexible in their approach.
Water damage restoration professional must rely on the science of phychrometrics and the atmospheric reading of their tools throughout the drying process. Anyone engaging in the business of water damage mitigation should follow the standards of care established by the restoration industry known as the IICRC S500 standard and reference guide for professional water damage restoration. Our goal as mitigation/restoration professionals is to reverse the damage caused to an indoor structure by water intrusion into an environment of equal or greater condition and cleanliness than before the water damage occurred. Additionally, the ethics of water damage dictates that we provide such rescue in the most economical and efficient means possible.
Water Damage Assessment
A water damage restoration professional begins this process by identifying all affected areas and materials. Water must be tracked from its source and followed in every direction to establish an accurate parameter of the flood damage. What results from this documentation is known as a moisture map. Additional information included with the moisture map includes material types affected and their location relative to the map. Materials noted will include items such as: type of flooring, baseboards, walls, furniture and even structures such as a fireplace or HVAC unit.
Affected materials are evaluated against three criteria to determine if they should be restored or replaced. The three criteria are:
degree of contamination
Identifying which “contents and materials” are salvageable and which should be replaced, is at the root of all structural drying strategy. When dealing with high value structure materials such as cabinets and wood floors, the attempt to salvage and restore is always made before these items are removed. This is a technical process and is primarily done to document that an attempt was made so that adjustor is able to justify the “payout” related to your water damage claim. Contents of high sentimental value such as wedding dresses, collectibles, career memorabilia and should also never be discarded without the homeowners’ permission.
Water Damage Demolition And Dry Out
Water Damaged materials which have been determined to be “unsalvageable” according to IICRC S500 standards and are of relatively low value should be removed or manipulated to the to facilitate drying restoration. The method of restoration used to remove water damaged materials is known as “disruptive drying” and may include the removal of finish materials such as drywall, baseboards, carpet, pad, and other cellulose based materials.
All materials that have been determined to be “restorable” are relocated on or off-site for treatment. The amount of moisture absorbed by a material is measured and documented as the moisture content level of a mitigation report. Moisture content levels are crucial to the drying process for two reasons:
This information influences the amount of equipment used.
Provides observable measurements used to determine if the drying process is working.