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Dry Out Before You Rebuild!              

flood damage cleanup houston, flood damage houstonWhen a major water damage disaster happens to a property it is easy to become overwhelmed and frustrated. Obviously, water disasters are not a typical emergency and if you haven’t experienced a water damage situation before, you may not know what to do and where to start. But there is a good starting point and your friends at Service Master by Century want to help you start getting your property back to normal.                                                                                            

After the flood waters recede and the clean up has been done, most folks want to get back into their homes and start rebuilding. However, wood that has been submerged in water has likely absorbed moisture and bacteria. Rebuilding too quickly after a flood can cause future problems such as mold growth, insect infestations, and deterioration of the wood.

Our friends at Texas A&M Agrilife Extension have some great reminders:

First Steps

Ventilation                                                    

Ventilation is the best (and cheapest) way to dry things out. Provide cross-ventilation by placing a fan in a window or door with the fan blowing to the outdoors. Seal around the fan with cardboard so the fan can create a vacuum. Inside the house, face fans into corners or other hidden areas to force the moist air out.                                                       

Heat                                                   

Heat increases the moisture-holding ability of the air. If your heating system has been checked and is in working order, use it to heat the air. As wood gets drier, it may be helpful to heat the house for a few hours; then ventilate to exchange the moist air inside the house with dry air from the outside.                                                          

Dehumidifiers                                                          

If the outside air is humid, ventilation will not work; you need a dehumidifier. They function most efficiently at warm temperatures. At 80 degrees and 60 percent relative humidity, most home use dehumidifiers will remove 1-2 pints of water per hour from the air. (Note: either set up the dehumidifier so that it drains the water removed from the air into the sewer, or you must empty the bucket regularly.

Or, if you hire out, the contractor will have industrial dehumidifiers that are many times more powerful.

Just how long should you wait?

It may take weeks; drying time will vary depending on the initial moisture content and the drying conditions. Test the studs with a wood moisture meter. Wood should have a moisture content of less than 15 percent before insulation, drywall, paneling, or other coverings are placed on the wood. 

Be through- pay special attention to the floors. For the subfloors, layers of submerged plywood or OSB subfloors will likely separate or swell. Affected sections must be replaced to keep the new floor covering from buckling. For wood floors, carefully remove a board every few feet to reduce buckling caused by swelling. And if water has seeped under loose sections of sheet flooring, remove the entire sheet.

Tip: Your furniture should be dried slowly out of direct sunlight; the sun will warp the veneer and solid wood components. It may take several weeks to several months to dry.

ServiceMaster Restoration by Century

When your home floods, find a full-service disaster restoration company immediately to prevent further damage. To restore your home or business to its pre-loss condition and avoid costly mistakes, it is critical to select the most qualified professionals for the job. As the leader in the restoration and cleaning services industry for more than 40 years, ServiceMaster Restoration by Century is committed to maintaining the highest standards of business, ethics, and quality.

ServiceMaster Restoration by Century is the premier disaster restoration company serving the Houston, San Antonio, and Austin areas including The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Spring, Round Rock, New Braunfels, Cedar Park, Georgetown, and Pflugerville. ServiceMaster Restoration by Century is always ready to restore your home at 832-925-3468 or smcentury.com