By Jesse Morado
With all the heavy rain, we have experienced recently, it is hard to imagine we were in a drought 18 months ago. The rain we saw the last week of September and first week of October was record breaking and took its toll on metro Atlanta infrastructure and private homes.
Cleanup after a flood or substantial plumbing leak is paramount in sustaining the life of your home and providing a healthy environment for you and your family.
Here are some helpful tips in dealing with water-damaged property should your home be impacted:
1. Remove everything that has been soaked or submerged in water immediately. Materials like insulations, drywall, and lumber will wick up moisture so evaluate these materials carefully and remove them if affected.
2. Establish if it is safe to resume utilities. It will be important at best to have power to begin the drying process. Check with your service providers to ensure your home is safe.
3. Start drying out your home after removing all water-damaged materials. Get air flowing through the home and set up dehumidifiers and HEPA filters to pull moisture out of materials and the air. This is highly important in reducing the expansion of mold, which begins to grow immediately once the water recedes. The drying out process can take weeks depending on the severity of the water damage.
4. Cleaning is critical and should be done prior to the installation of any new materials. Floodwater is dirty, carrying contaminants and in some cases sewage. Dangerous bacteria and mold must be cleaned from materials and finishes to ensure a healthy environment. I recommend that a professional mold remediation firm be engaged to test in, clean/remediate, and test out. It is important that you receive a clean bill of health from a third party environmentalist. This will go along way to make you comfortable and alleviate any worries from a potential buyer in the future. Any and all equipment that provides air flow or ventilation should be evaluated carefully.
5. Testing existing materials for dryness is important and should be performed prior to the installation of new insulation materials, drywall or hardwoods. Your contractor should take moisture readings of framing and sub-floor materials to insure that moisture content is within approved ranges.
6. Rebuilding can be an arduous task and time consuming. Make sure your contractor’s scope of work is well detailed and insures the work being performed meets your expectations.
7. Prepare for the next flood. Protect your home from another flood by securing flood insurance and developing a response plan in the event this experience repeats itself.
Jesse Morado is a Certified Remodeler and Certified Aging in Place Specialist and owner of Renovation Coach, Inc. an independent renovation-consulting firm that provides guidance, planning and management for contractors and homeowners. He has 30 years of construction experience and is the current NARI Region II vice president. www.renovationcoach.com.