Water is one of the most destructive forces that can be brought to bear on a home or business, even more so than fire. Water can continue to cause problems for as long as it is allowed to stand untreated, including problems that may not be immediately apparent. To repair the damage and restore your home, you must take the appropriate steps, in the right order. Failure to do so may result in more problems (and money, and headaches) down the road.
Water damage repair begins by locating the source of the water and shutting it off. It does little good to pump out water if more is simply going to flow in to replace it. You’d be surprised at the number of people who omit this basic, obvious step.
Second, shut off all utilities to the damaged structure. You do not want to be walking around in six inches of water when the electricity suddenly decides to come back on.
Remove all furniture, loose items, and appliances from the area. These can be repaired and cleaned up elsewhere, and will not provide an impediment to further repair efforts.
Now, the excess water must be removed. Depending on the severity of the damage, you can use mops and towels to soak up the excess, or you may have to use submersible pumps or wet-dry vacuum units. Be sure to drain all excess water as far from your home as possible, preferably through a sink or drainage vent.
Secondary drying, the removal of all residual moisture from surfaces and air, is done by opening all windows and doors, and using as many fans, blowers, and dehumidifiers as possible to circulate as much air as possible.
Carpets will need to be taken up and cleaned. Any wet or damaged padding should be thrown out and replaced. You will also need to dry and clean the floors underneath, as well as checking drywall for any swelling or warping due to water damage.
It is extremely important that all surfaces be completely dry before any subsequent repairs are attempted. Failure to do so may result in the onset of mold, which establishes quickly, spreads rapidly, and may present serious health hazards. Mold remediation is a complicated process best left to a professional.
The cleanup after water damage is considerable, but not impossible. Knowing the steps to take and the order in which to take them will insure that you can continue to enjoy your home for many years to come.