Water damage is a very serious problem that is dreaded by all home and building owners. It is a lengthy and expensive process to repair the damage and can devalue the property as well. It causes trouble for residents as well. Water damage can be caused by a number of factors. If there is a leakage in your pipes which causes rotting in the ceiling or wood, or if it causes the metal in the construction to start rusting, there is water damage. It can even interfere with the plumbing and wiring of the house depending on the extent of the damage. Sometimes there is excessive snow or rainfall that can cause water damage too.
The rate at which water damages property can vary greatly. In case of a small leakage, there might be regular steady dripping and you might see tiny water spots in the ceiling or the walls, which might grow in size with time. On the other hand, a pipe bursting or a roof partially collapsing due to heavy rain and snow may cause instant flooding. Clogged toilets, dishwasher malfunctions and overflow of machines such as laundry can cause water damage too.
There are three categories of water damage based on the contamination of water and four classes as well based on the extent of the damage. Whatever the condition may be, the process of cleaning up and repairing is a long one.
10 tips for when water damage hits
Depending on the extent, water damage can render a place unlivable until the mess is cleaned up and the water damage is repaired. The following are 10 tips you should be aware of in case you ever fall victim to water damage:
- Define the type of water damage
As defined above, water damage is categorized into 3 different types based on the type of water. Clean water s category 1 which is not very harmful to health and only damages the property. If a water pipe bursts or an appliance overflows, it would be category 1 water damage. You can clean this yourself as it does not pose a health risk.
Category 2 is called grey water and it is a result of toilet overflow or hydrostatic discharge. If the water is contaminated from any type of chemicals, it would be classified as category 2. This is also self-cleanable but it is recommended that you call in cleaners.
Blackwater is category 3 which is extremely harmful water consisting of unsanitary water full of bacteria and germs. Sewage water is the biggest cause of category 3 water damage. A professional should be called and you should leave the premises as it is dangerous to health.
- Document everything
If you plan on calling insurance to get your damage fixed, you should document everything. Take lots of pictures of the property damage as evidence.
- Investigate the damage extensively
Water damage can be very extensive and can get into small nook and crannies that we often ignore. If left undealt with, the small problems can become huge over-time. Therefore, it is important to examine all the damage properly before deciding on the next steps. Mold is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to water damage. It starts growing within one day and does not stop until the place is completely dry. It only needs a little moisture to grow and it can damage everything even further. It thrives in small areas with moisture, therefore, every corner of the property should be checked for damage.
- Cut out the power
In case of water damage and especially, if there is flooding, you should switch off the main power supply to the house. This prevents electrocution. You should also unplug any electronics that have been damaged and remove the safe ones completely from the area of damage. This should be your first step if the water level is beyond the electric sockets.
- Maintain airflow and start drying
If you live in a house, open up the windows to establish proper ventilation which will aid in drying. Sometimes, opening windows can be harmful, especially if you live in a building that maintains pressure for circulation of air. You should use big fans and dehumidifiers to get rid of the moisture. You can also get air movers that artificially create ventilation to speed up the drying process.
In case of flooding, you should first vacuum out all the water before you start the other processes. Be sure to completely remove moisture from the wooden and textile components of the building.
- Remove all the damaged materials
Be it wood, insulation or fabric, if they have contracted water damage, it will probably be impossible to restore them. Even if you can get them dry, mildew will still attack them. It is easier to throw them away and replace them with new ones. All the furniture, electronics, ceiling and flooring that have been damaged by the water should be tossed.
This step is extremely important. Once you have cleaned the mess and gotten rid of the water, you need to disinfect every inch of the place to ensure it is safe to live in. Disinfecting can take a lot of time but it is vital. You should get a good disinfectant that will get rid of any bacteria and germs on the flooring, walls, bathrooms and more.
- Dispose of the damaged materials responsibly
Once you have disinfected the place, be sure to dispose of everything responsibly because your water damaged materials may be hazardous to health and should be gotten rid of in a way that they stay out of other peoples’ hands. Try to recycle what is recyclable such as wood.
- Install new floors and ceilings
You should replace the damaged wood and other materials in your ceiling and roof. Ensure that the new flooring is sealed to prevent any water damage in the future. You can go for tiles instead of wood as well which is more resilient towards water damage.
After all the repairs have been completed, it is time to repaint the damaged areas or the whole place if you prefer. It will give a fresh look to the entire area and make it look like that water damage was never there.