water dryout services

Flood Damage Cleanup Tips

It is best to let a certified water damage restoration company handle the flood damage cleanup. If that is not possible use the following tips to help mitigate any further water damage.

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Flooding is one of the worst disaster’s a homeowner can have happen, these flood damage cleanup tips will help you mitigate any further damage. Knowing what to do the first 24-48 hrs can mean the difference between just having to do a flood cut (removing drywall just above the water mark the flood left behind) or having to gut your whole house.

Flyer showIng how to file a flood damage insurance claim
How to file a flood insurance claim
company cleaning flood damaged floors in a house
cleaning up water damage

Over the ground flood waters are category 3 water damage, which is grossly contaminated with bacteria, microbes, and virus’s (especially rotavirus) so the most important thing is to wear proper ppe (personal protective equipment) your not gonna be able to save your house stuck in the hospital or worse. Lowes has Tyvek suits you may want to wear a rain jacket and rain paints over them because they rip easily. A rain suit maybe all you have if so wear it, anything you can do to protect yourself. Rubber gloves and rubber boots provide invaluable protection.

A moisture content meter and thermal hygrometer will make it a lot easier to find exactly how high the water damage got inside your drywall. Drywall will usually be wet above the waterline, with a moisture content meter you won’t have to just guess where to do your flood cuts.

kitchen that has had water damage cleaned up
Example of flood cut.

Drywall has normally around 8-10% moisture content. Above 16% (mc) drywall will support microbial growth and the colonization of mold. Above 60% R.H will also support microbial growth even if the drywall moisture content is normal. Mold damage will get its moisture straight from the air when the R.H is above 60%, the drywall will eventually reach an equilibrium of around 17% – 20% moisture content at 60% R.H.

The following building materials will need tore out if they have gotten water damage from flooding;

  • Carpet
  • Carpet pad
  • Sheet vinyl or vinyl squares
  • Manufactured Paneling (solid wood can be dried)
  • Baseboards
  • Trim
  • Quarter round
  • Insulation
dump trailer full of water damaged building materials
Water damaged building materials

If you don’t have a moisture meter, then go at least a foot above the visible water mark left behind. Look at the edge of the drywall that’s left behind after making your flood cut, if it’s grey or discolored then go higher, it should look white. Most subfloor will have to be removed also if your on a crawl space, as the subfloor wicks the water in and delaminates the bonding agent to the wood fibers.

After removing the subfloor, you might want to take this chance to pull your old vapor barrier. You’ll have more room to work with to be able to cut it up and pull it out. After you remove the vapor barrier inspect the crawl space for debris left from the flood damage. It’ll be easier to prep the crawl space for installation of the new vapor barrier at this stage also.

Once all the wet building materials are removed, spray all the studs with and E.P.A approved fungicide like benifect, this will help with contamination control. There will be a lot of silt on top of all of your sill plate. A garden hose should suffice on removing any silt trapped on the sill plate, but if it dries on the sill plate you’ll probably need a pressure washer. Once you’ve sprayed all the studs free of major soiling, wipe them down with the fungicide.

If possible its recommended by the IICRC to hepa vacuum the floors, walls , and ceiling. Next check the crawlspace for any wet insulation, remove any thats present. If there’s visible growth on any of the studs or joists, then use a fungicidal encapsulate such as fosters 40/20.

Water Damage Dryout

Its important to keep the relative humidity under 60%, keeping the R.H down and using the fungicide will help control the level of contamination.

Call all the local water damage restoration companies and see if any of them rent drying equipment. You’ll need approximately 4 dehumidifiers per 1200 sf, roughly 2-4 air movers per room, and an air filtration device that is hepa rated. Set the hepa unit close to you the whole time your working. We will have another article on how to dryout after a flood.

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