Water Damage Mitigation Process
A lot of people ask what we do and how things work when we get to a home or business that has had water damage. It can be a very overwhelming time for property owners that have never gone through anything so traumatic previously and may not have dealt with their insurance carrier before. They often feel vulnerable and confused at times and that’s why we make such an effort to help our clients understand the process and what we can do to help get their life or business back on track. It’s actually a fairly simple 5 step process:
1. Stop the water. This can mean a lot of things. During storm season this often means tarping the roof or unclogging the gutters. Sometimes it’s a matter of shutting off the water to that fixture or even the whole house. Once in a while it’s a matter of unclogging the drain so water can escape. No matter what the cause, job number 1 is stopping more water from getting in.
2. Remove as much water as possible. In many cases this involves some level of demolition - removal of wet drywall, saturated subfloors, insulation or other items that can trap water and be difficult to dry.
3. Identify all affected areas. This is where experience and the right tools really come in handy. Water can be tricky and spread into areas that you may not expect but if left unattended could create significant problems and pockets of microbial growth.
4. Prevent contamination. Most of the water losses we see originate from a clean water source but they don’t always stay that way. Once water travels through carpet or building materials it picks up debris, contaminants and microorganisms. It’s important to clean the affected areas and treat them with anti-microbials to help prevent health issues from occurring.
5. Dry. After things are clean and it’s safe, the building materials should be returned to the dry standard as soon as possible. This phase can take several days depending on how saturated the building materials have become and what type of materials they are.
6. Repair / Replace. This really isn't mitigation anymore, it's reconstruction but will be part of the project. This can be the fun part for the homeowner. This is where you get to pick paint colors and flooring and get things put back together. Sometimes this can also be a frustrating phase since it usually takes the longest due to coordination of multiple contractors and suppliers. If you have a good General Contractor or Project Manager, they will keep the property owner informed and keep the process moving smoothly.
Each of these steps could be broken down into more detail but this is a basic high level overview of what all happens after water damages homes or businesses.
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