Water Damage Restoration Steps Explained
A home is a place of refuge and safety for families across the country. But no matter how much you try to ensure your property’s security, some intruders can sneak through the cracks and cause issues—like water.
Homeowners across the country know the frustration of water damage to their property. Whether from a massive flood or a small pipe leak, water on any scale can wreak havoc on your home’s foundation and your way of life if not addressed with urgency.
If your house has fallen prey to the dangers of water damage, don’t panic. There are concrete steps you can take and experts you can call to help recover in the aftermath.
The Water Damage Restoration Process
Knowing how to respond in the case of unintended water exposure can limit the extent of the damage. Here’s where to begin.
Step 1: Immediate Safety Precautions
When you spot water damage, your first step should be to ensure the immediate safety of everyone in the household. Your next step is to prevent any further harm.
If the water damage has resulted from an issue like a burst pipe or excess flooding, first ensure all your family and pets are off the property. Make arrangements to stay with friends or family or in a hotel throughout the restoration process.
With everyone in a secure location, you want to mitigate damage to the house. Safety precautions include turning off any electric and gas services before allowing anyone to return to the premises. If necessary, have an electrician come out to determine if the property is safe to enter.
Step 2: Insurance Claim
Flood insurance is incredibly common or even required by law in some areas. You’ll need to contact your insurance adjuster if you have this type of coverage.
If you don’t have flood insurance, contact your homeowner’s insurance agency and see if they cover water damage.
While you won’t want to wait for a response before beginning the cleanup, you should take pictures of the damage as evidence to submit with your claim.
If possible, retain damaged materials, especially those of high value, as proof of the loss. After the adjuster visits your home, you’ll need to sign a statement of loss for the claim to proceed.
Step 3: Inspection
Once you’ve ensured everyone’s safety and contacted the insurance company, it’s time to inspect the damage.
Inspection is best left up to a professional since not all damage is visible to the untrained eye. An expert can help you identify whether you can restore materials and structures and what you’ll need to remove or replace.
If the cause of the damage is unclear, a professional can help figure out the root of the problem and explain the best path forward.
Step 4: Water Removal
Removing all the water can be tricky, especially if there is extensive flooding or if your home has carpets. There are a few approaches to water removal.
If there is minimal water in a confined space, a good old-fashioned bucket and some towels may do the trick.
Widespread flooding or large pools of water may require special equipment. Large water pumps can suck water out of your home like a vacuum if necessary.
Step 5: Drying and Cleaning
After clearing out the water, it’s time to sanitize the space.
Drying and cleaning are necessary to prevent any mold growth risk and avoid further damage. Even if everything appears clean and dry, you should allow a few days for the space to completely dry.
During this process, bring as much fresh air into the space as possible by opening windows and positioning fans throughout your home.
Step 6: Repairs and Restoration
When all is clean and dry, it’s time to begin repairs. While you’ll need to scrap some materials entirely, a restoration expert should be able to salvage many structural components in your home.
This process differs depending on the extent of the damage. It can range from simple fixes like patching up paint to total overhauls of your home’s foundation.
How to Prevent Future Water Damage
With 99% of counties in the US affected by some level of flooding annually, water damage to homes across the country is an inevitable fact that many need to deal with year after year.
While it’s impossible to predict and control weather patterns that may lead to flooding, many types of water damage are preventable if you integrate a few proactive steps into your home care schedule.
Routine Structural Inspection
Routine inspection can give warning signs that there may be a hidden issue. Check the basement or foundation or your home for any cracks. Also, check the exterior of your home for any chipping or peeling paint.
These signs of structure damage could signal that moisture is building up behind the walls.
A little cleaning goes a long way in preventing water damage, especially when it comes to gutters! If debris like dry leaves clogs up your gutters, rainwater will not be able to drain correctly. The buildup on the roof could eventually cause erosion, leading to a leak.
Check Appliances and Piping
On top of natural disasters that cause flooding, water damage from poorly constructed or old pipes in your home can wreak havoc when you least expect it. That’s why inspecting pipes and appliances throughout the home is crucial. A leaky pipe is easy to spot and fix but can lead to disaster if neglected.
Ensure toilet tanks are sealed correctly with plumber’s tape, or else water can seep through valves and cause damage.
If you have large appliances, like water heaters, in your home, you should have them serviced annually. Routine maintenance checks keep them in good working condition for the long haul and prevent them from malfunctioning. If the inspection does uncover an issue, it allows you to make repairs proactively to prevent water damage from ever occurring.
When to Call a Professional for Water Damage Restoration Services
Water damage is no joke. Even if you think you have the problem under control, there’s a dangerous chance that water can damage the structural integrity of your home. And this damage isn’t always apparent to the untrained eye.
It’s natural to feel in over your head during the cleanup process. Undoubtedly, you want to ensure there will be no recurring issues returning to haunt you in the future. For peace of mind, it’s best to call a water damage restoration professional to get the job done right the first time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Whether you call in an expert or not, you’re not alone. Many homeowners have the same concerns and questions that you do. Here are some common FAQs.
How Long Does Water Damage Restoration Take?
As detailed above, the water damage restoration process has specific steps, but the precise timeline is harder to pin down. The amount of time it takes will depend on the extent of the damage. The sooner you identify the problem and begin working toward a solution, the faster your recovery. That said, removing water from your home and drying the space can take around 72 hours or more, and water damage restoration typically takes up to a few weeks.
Can I Stay in My House During the Restoration Process?
In the blink of an eye, mold can begin to form in areas with high humidity. While mold growth may seem innocuous compared to the immense water damage to your property, it puts your family’s health at risk.
The health hazards are one of the reasons it is typically not advisable to remain in the house during the restoration process. Additionally, water damage can affect the structural security of your home, even if everything seems sturdy to the naked eye.
When in doubt, consult a restoration professional. They can assess the extent of the damage and help your family make the right decision.
What Should I Do Immediately After Water Damage?
The first step is always to ensure that your family, pets, and essential belongings are safe. If the damage is extensive, leave the property immediately. If you can, you should also shut off electric and gas connections to prevent further danger during restoration.
And as soon as you’ve addressed the immediate safety concerns, you should file a claim with your insurance company and contact a professional service, like All Dry USA, to determine the best way to proceed.
To be prepared for any surprises that may come your way, it’s essential to understand the steps of water damage restoration. Being armed with knowledge will help you get your life back on track as soon as possible.
You don’t need to do it alone. All Dry USA is a leader in the industry and can help your family recover after a severe instance of water damage to your home. Our skilled team of professionals has years of experience in the business and is waiting for your call. Reach out today!