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What To Know About Water Damage Repairs

What kind of water damage repairs can a homeowner perform on their own?

When floods or leaks infiltrate the home, they can cause serious problems right away. In addition to creating frustration, floods and leaks can foster mold or microbial growth and leave powerful odors behind. When the problem is small and superficial, it may possible for an ambitious do-it-yourselfer to fix the problem without professional help.

When should a professional be hired to perform water damage repairs?

Floods, storms and sewage backups can leave behind “black water,” which refers to any standing fluid that has contamination with hazardous material. This usually means fluid that has flowed from rivers, lakes, or other areas likely harboring microbes and harmful bacteria. It can also refer to fluid contaminated with chemical runoff, like oil or fertilizer, or fluid contaminated with sewage. Homeowners should not attempt to restore homes affected by this fluid as it can cause serious health problems in people not certified in its handling.

Professionals should also handle the issue if a home has been affected structurally or if the problem is widespread. The longer the water is allowed to remain, the worse the problem will get, and it is imperative to begin restoration immediately. A single do-it-yourselfer will usually be overwhelmed by the sheer destruction a major flood or storm can cause.

Where can professionals get certified to perform water damage repairs?

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), is the world’s leading agency for restoration professionals. The IICRC is responsible for training technicians in the industry and maintaining work standards. Before technicians receive certification through the IICRC, they have to take the institutes Water Damage Restoration Technician (WRT) course. The WRT is learned over three days for a total of 19 hours of instruction, and by the time a technician completes it, they will be able to handle a variety of restoration challenges.

How do professionals approach restoration?

Certified technicians will first remove all standing liquid from the home, either with vacuums or pumps. Once complete, all debris is cleaned up and furniture removed. A number of special air moving  devices and commercial dehumidifiers are then set up in the room to circulate air quickly through the space. The home  may not be safe to live in again until it is thoroughly dried out, and steady air flow is the only way to accomplish this. In most cases, it will take several days to remove excess moisture from the building. During the drying process, a certified technician will take moisture level readings of the area to monitor the process.

If contaminated fluid flooded the building, carpeting, drywall, insulation, baseboards and casings would likely need to be replaced. Mold growth can begin spreading in 24 hours, so getting rid of compromised materials should be a top priority. Mold can be neutralized with physical removal or with the application of certain chemicals.

Once dried out, the technicians or contractors will replace carpeting and any other structural materials destroyed by the water. Then the family will be able to transition back into normal life.

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