Fixing water damage can seem daunting, especially after a major flood. Check out our checklist on what to do and when to do it.
After a major leak or flood, you need to start restoration for water damage immediately because wet materials start developing serious problems like mold within 24 hours. Once the water source and building electricity have been shut off, here’s your remediation task list, broken down step-by-step.
Identify the water type
Depending on the source of the water damage, you may be able to clean it yourself.
- Clean water like rain, condensation, or leaky pipes is low risk, meaning you can clean it yourself.
- Grey water, and lightly soiled water from dishwashers, washing machines, and toilets may contain some contaminants. If you choose to clean grey water, remove it carefully and wear safety gear to protect yourself.
- Black water is heavily contaminated water like sewage or overland flooding from nearby waterways and contains waste, bacteria, and other potential toxins. Black water can cause serious health problems and requires professional help.
Inspect for mold and mildew
Some mold is toxic to humans and under the right conditions, it can start growing within 24 hours. Inspect damaged areas for mold and mildew. For small patches, cut it out of the material, seal it in a bag and dispose of it appropriately. For larger areas, evacuate, turn off airflow to prevent spreading spores, and call a professional.
Dry it out
You’ll need to thoroughly dry out the affected area. A fan can help circulate air and dry small leaks, while a rented large-capacity dehumidifier may be needed to properly dry damp wood, carpet, or drywall for larger areas.
Remove and dispose of porous materials
Porous materials are prone to mildew damage and will shrink or warp when wet. Examples of porous materials are carpet, insulation, fabric, unsealed cement, drywall, and wood. If these materials get soaked, be sure to remove them and throw them away.
Disinfect the area
After you have removed damaged and porous material, it’s time to disinfect everything remaining to sanitize and kill mold spores. This is an important step when it comes to restoration for water damage. A diluted bleach solution is our top recommendation. Lightly spray, then wipe dry.
Inspect your ceilings
Gravity can quickly cause water-damaged ceilings to sag or collapse. If the ceiling leak was caused by a roofing issue, it may take some detective work to find the original source of the leak, as the water may have traveled far. A professional can help determine if water has caused structural damage to beams or rafters.
Make sure any damaged wood is replaced
When trying to figure out what needs to be replaced, check to see if any wood is severely warped (flooring is prone to warping), rotted or has mold/mildew issues. Before replacing damaged wood, pry the boards apart and clean underneath them first. Be careful when dealing with structural components. You’ll want to ensure the structure has proper support once you’re done with the project.
Get new, sealed floors installed
When dealing with water damage, it’s important to check all your flooring, even if water damage isn’t immediately evident. Moisture can become trapped under flooring, causing mold and mildew. Damaged floors should be replaced with new, waterproof flooring. Your best bet is to use high-end vinyl, ceramic tile, and specific engineered wood materials to help protect against water damage in the future.
Replace the drywall
To replace your drywall, you’ll need to figure out how much of the drywall has been water damaged. In some cases, you don’t have to replace the entire sheet, and can simply cut out any water-stained areas. It’s good to follow the ⅜ of an-inch rule. If your drywall is damaged ⅜ of an inch or more from the baseline, the entire sheet will need to be replaced. When replacing drywall, be sure to inspect the insulation behind it for damage.
External siding should be replaced
To avoid water getting in behind your siding, which can cause permanent damage, inspect all external siding. Make sure to replace any damaged areas before they start to rot. Keep in mind that water can also get in behind faux stones and other external walls.
After replacements are done, caulk and paint
Once you’ve replaced all damaged areas, it’s time to caulk and paint those regions. Sealing and caulking is a good way to prevent future water damage.
Call your insurance company about serious damage
While some repairs can be done on your own, significant damage should be taken care of by a professional. Check your homeowner’s insurance to see how much is covered under water damage.
Minimize the stress
Water damage can be an overwhelming, time-consuming issue, but if handled properly, restoration for water damage doesn’t have to be overly complicated. This is why it’s important to follow a checklist and turn to a professional when needed.
Need a restoration specialist? Grandmother’s Touch has a highly experienced team is prepared to act quickly across Toronto and Mississauga. We respond within the hour to limit the possibility of water damage, electrical dangers, the growth of mould and bacteria, and structural harm to your home or business. Contact us when disaster strikes.