walls infested with moldDuring the years of homeownership, almost everybody will experience at least one flooding event that leaves them standing in water. It’s almost as guaranteed as death and taxes. The key is not to panic and make forced decisions that end up costing you an arm and a leg. Flood damage cleanup isn’t some esoteric service that only certified technicians can understand. It’s actually not so difficult, but it is really time consuming and you have to have access to the proper equipment.

The key to effective water damage remediation is to get professionals involved as quickly as possible. This keeps costs down and also helps to prevent dangerous structural damage or mold growth and other bacteria from developing. It can be stressful choosing the right company, as the industry does attract some quick-buck artists that will stack on fee after fee.

Do your research and make sure the company is licensed and insured, and that they follow proper industry protocol. A quick Google search will tell you a lot about the companies you’re considering. Read what customers are saying about them.

Let’s go over some of the key attributes of a good emergency cleaning company.

  1. They have plenty of industry experience and come highly recommended either by reputable adjusters or general contractors.
  2. They possess the right tools and equipment for different scenarios, including moisture meters
  3. They follow strict protocol and IICRC S500 Guidelines
  4. Perform their work safely and quickly, without compromising the  structure or enduring secondary damage
  5. Ability to write out a detailed plan for drying the structure and any salvageable personal items
  6. They customize remediation protocols for category 3 water damage conditions
  7. They can perform proper mold remediation if necessary

So What Does The Water Damage Restoration Process Look Like?

1.) Initial Inspection

The company you’re hiring should send out a technician to examine the flooded area. This is how they determine how much time and equipment will be needed for an effective extraction and drying session. They should be using infrared cameras and moisture meters to identify water that might be hiding behind walls, in the ceiling, underneath the floor, etc. At this point they should also be able to tell you which personal items can be deemed salvageable, and which ones will need to be discarded. Estimates for the cost of work to be done should be drawn up at this stage, and they will start to map out a detailed drying strategy.

2.) Drying Process

This stage starts with water extraction, which involves using very powerful equipment to remove the still water. Once the bulk of the water has been removed, the air movers and dehumidifiers will be moved in and turned on. The goal here is to prevent mold growth from taking place, so time is of great importance. They will regularly record updated moisture readings from their equipment and document the results on a scheduled basis.

3.) Deodorization and Sanitization Procedures

Once they’ve determined the property to be dry, they will determine whether or not any rebuilding needs to occur. In many cases, flooring, carpeting, and drywall will need to be replaced. Some property restoration companies offer this service, some outsource it to a general contractor. More equipment needs to be moved in to circulate the air and deodorize it. They will also use specialized chemicals to sanitize the space.

4.) Final Walkthrough

The supervising technician will walk the remediated area with the homeowner and cover any last minute details. The remainder of the balance owed will be paid at this point if the homeowner is paying out of pocket, otherwise the insurance company will settle up with the company. Now all you have to do is get back to your normal life and routine.

Water Damage Restoration Demystified