DIY Water Damage Restoration: Step-by-Step Guide
Standing knee-deep in a water-damaged home can feel like your worst nightmare, and rightfully so.
However, most water damage can be reversed in a process known as water damage restoration. Water damage restoration is a series of processes that seek to return a property to its original state before the water intrusion.
While water damage restoration can be a DIY job, severe water damage should be done by specialists. But what exactly does it entail? Here is your complete water damage restoration guide.
1. Mind Your Safety
Water damage can be devastating, so your safety and that of your loved ones always come first.
If you have severe water damage from a sewage backup or flooding, move everyone, including pets, to a different location, be it a hotel or a friend’s home. If you have an overflowing toilet with gunk contained in one room, lock the door if possible to keep everyone out of that toilet.
If it’s safe to do so, shut off your electric and gas services; if you have an active water leak, shut off your water supply from the main valve. It’s advisable to remain outside your property until specialists determine it’s safe to return inside.
2. Water Damage Inspection
The first step to any water damage restoration project is figuring out precisely what you are dealing with. This is done by conducting a thorough assessment to determine the following:
- The cause of the water damage
- The water damage class, AKA the extent of the damage
- The water damage category (clean water, gray water, or black water). These indicate whether the water is clean, significantly contaminated, or grossly contaminated.
Identifying the contamination category allows the specialist to begin planning for decontamination later. On the other hand, determining the class of damage will inform the extent of drying and dehumidification required, the equipment to be used, and ultimately the restoration cost.
Flood insurance is common and even a necessity in certain areas. If you have this insurance coverage, you must contact your adjustor once everyone has been moved to safety.
If you don’t have flooding damage but rather a burst pipe, contact your homeowner’s insurance agency to see if they can cover it. Once you notify your insurer, you can take photos and videos of your property and damaged items.
Doing this with the right water damage restoration professional on site is advantageous because they can help you file your claim, document the event, and even come up with cost estimates to accompany the claim. If possible, retain some of your damaged, high-value items as proof of loss.
4. Water Removal
Water removal is the first part of managing the actual damage and attempting to restore a property.
Water removal is a crucial part of the whole process. Removing the standing water is done through extraction.
If you opt to DIY, pails and towels can also get the job done, although these are insufficient for severe flooding.
Specialists will remove standing water using extractors. These include submersible pumps and industrial vacuums. After extracting standing water, surface water can be addressed using portable wet/dry vacuums.
As this goes on, or after it’s done, the specialist will use moisture meters and thermal infrared cameras to find hidden pockets of moisture underneath floorboards, behind walls, and other hard-to-reach areas.
This is an extremely important step, as traces of moisture, if unattended to, encourage mold and mildew growth, further damaging property and altering the home’s air quality.
5. Dry and Dehumidify Affected Areas
After stagnant water has been dealt with, drying and dehumidifying are more targeted processes for dealing with any remnant dampness.
Just as in water extraction, specialists will use heavy-duty equipment, including air movers and industrial-grade dehumidifiers, to dry and dehumidify wet areas.
Aside from the tools, specialists can also open windows and doors to increase the airflow. This is also something you can do when cleaning up water damage yourself.
This process takes much more time and attention than water removal because the latter only involves sucking out water. Drying and dehumidifying water damage of classes 3 or 4 will almost always take longer than water removal. Both instances involve water damage that goes beyond 40%, which warrants the removal of floors and walls.
Because mold is always a concern after water damage, the next step includes cleaning and sanitizing to prevent mold growth. If not prevented, mold can grow in as little as 24 hours, usually coming with hefty mold remediation costs.
Before the cleanup is done, specialists often wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). These include gloves, rubber boots, protective coveralls, and N-95 masks. This prevents exposure to mold and mildew spores, which are associated with a myriad of health risks.
Again, there is specialized equipment used in the cleaning and sanitization processes. These include air scrubbers, High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) vacuums, and other negative air machines.
If you have category three water damage, which means hazardous waste (sewage and flash flooding), all surfaces must be cleaned with an antimicrobial solution.
7. Repairs and Restoration
Once you have gone through all the above processes, you will have a much clearer view of the state of your home and property.
At this stage, everything is clean, sanitized, and dry, so you can take note of any damage that requires repairs, replacements, or restoration. Some of these will be to the structures of your home, and some will be to your belongings.
The repairs required will depend on the extent of the water damage, so this can be anything from minor fixes to repainting or replacing drywall or hardwood floors.
Don’t Take Any Chances - Call a Water Damage Specialist!
DIY water damage is often tempting because it helps you save some cash. However, without the correct equipment, it’s impossible to know the extent of the damage. Additionally, you can’t be absolutely sure that you have adequately managed the damage and won’t have moisture issues in the future.
Don’t take your chances with water damage. Call us and take the guesswork out of it.
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