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The Basics of Water Damage Restoration

Dealing with water damage in a home or business can be confusing and frustrating; the water damage restoration process is just a pain! Water causes a lot of damage and makes a huge mess that can turn into a major headache.  It may seem like all hope is lost and the house or office will have to be gutted, but that’s often far from the truth. Water damage comes in various shapes and forms, from small leaks to all-out flooding. [Water Damage 101] They all have the potential to be remediated, but understanding the categories of water damage is important. It’s also important to know that water damage is broken down into classes depending on the methods it will take to fix the problem. 

Categories of Water Damage

Water Damage Categories

Water Damage Categories

Classes of Water Damage

Water Damage Classes

Water Damage Classes

Causes of Water Damage

Water damage can occur at any time and anywhere. It doesn’t discriminate and will more than likely happen when the homeowner least expects it. Some of the most common causes of water damage in Miami include the following:

  • Broken pipes
  • Backed up drains or toilets
  • Flooding

If any of these common water damage occurrences happen, you may need to call a professional to help remediate the situation. They have the expertise, experience, and equipment to ensure that the process is done right, with minimal health risks to the occupants of the home or office building. 

Water Damage Restoration Equipment

There are some common and expected types of equipment carried by water restoration technicians. They often include detection equipment, air moving equipment, deodorization equipment, and generators. They each have a specific purpose and are used to get your house or office dry and back to pre-damaged condition. [Before The Restoration

Detection Equipment: Moisture Sensors and Meters

These are used by technicians to discover how wet an area is so they know exactly what will need to be done to remediate the situation. These sensors and meters display the moisture content of floors, ceilings, walls, and other materials so a plan can be developed to get them dry or tear them out—whichever is needed most for the situation. 

Air Moving Equipment: Fans and Dehumidifiers

Getting an area dry requires removing the moisture not only from the affected materials but also from the air. Fans will blow air across the surface and cause the water to evaporate, then the dehumidifiers will draw it out of the air and drain it so that it won’t settle back into the material and cause further damage to the room. 

Deodorization Equipment

Air Scrubber: This machine works by removing chemicals, particles, and/or gasses from the air. It draws in air from the surrounding space and pushes it through various filters to remove the contaminants that contribute to odor.

Foggers: These machines turn a chemical into a fog to eliminate odors from a room. They can also be used to kill bacteria or as a way to reduce or discourage mold growth after water damage has occurred.

Thermal Foggers: These machines work by using a solvent-based deodorizer that is heated and turned into a dry smoke/fog, which is blown into a room. The vaporized cleaning solution clings to the odor molecules and absorbs them, ridding the area of the smell. When combined with cleaning, this is an effective deodorizing technique.

Generators: In the case of water damages that cause the loss of power, it’s important for the technicians to have a power supply. They generally have generators so that the equipment can be used properly to repair the damage. 

What to Expect Before and After a Water Damage Restoration Cleanup Process

No two water restoration jobs are the same. They are each unique and require different techniques and cleanup methods. It’s possible to clean water damage yourself, but there could be deeper issues that you are unaware that a professional would be better able to handle.

Finding a professional Miami restoration company that will work with you is important, and there’s a process to ensuring you find one that will restore your property to pre-damage condition.

How do you choose a reputable restoration company?

Having your home damaged by water is an incredibly stressful and emotional experience. Getting it back to a pre-disaster condition is important, and finding a restoration company that can do that is a top priority. But how do you choose a reputable restoration company?

  1. Look Locally

Finding a company who works locally in the Miami area will mean that they’ll be able to get to your house or business as soon as possible to assess the damage and get started on the restoration process.

  1. Check Credentials

Restoring a home or office after water damage is accomplished by following industry standards. A good company will send their technicians to training to get them certified. The business itself should also be certified. When looking for a restoration professional, look for one that has been IIRC certified and has the skill and expertise to deal with water damage in ways that are nationally recognized and approved. This will also ensure that the technicians are trained in the proper use of all water restoration equipment and can employ advanced water restoration methodologies. Since no two water restoration jobs are the same, you need someone who can think on their feet and complete the job satisfactorily and within industry standards.

  1. Works with Insurance

When a major disaster like a water damage strikes, the cost for restoration can be expensive. Very few people will be able to pay for the damage out of their pocket, so they’ll rely on their insurance to help cover the bill. A good restoration company will work with insurance to get your home or office back together. If they don’t, you need to keep looking. In addition, you may also consider contacting your insurance agent to see if they have a restoration company that they recommend. This will ensure that you are getting a reputable company that you know will work with your insurance to get the job completed.

  1. Check References

It’s easier than ever to check reviews and references online. Finding these for a restoration company shouldn’t be difficult. While no company will ever have all positive reviews, make sure the company you’re looking to hire has more positive than negative reviews. 

Water Damage Restoration Timeline

  1. Inspection

The first step in the restoration process is knowing exactly what has been damaged and what needs to be fixed. This is when they will use their moisture sensors and meters to see how far the damage goes and how wet the area is, including the ceiling, walls, and carpet/carpet pad or other flooring. It will also be determined whether or not the electricity is in jeopardy or has been shorted out by the water. Turning power sources off at the electrical box may or may not occur depending on the extent of the damage. During this time, it’s important to talk with the technician and find out exactly what needs to be done to correct the water damage issues. There may be tear-out that will occur, and it’s important to know beforehand who will be doing repairs at the completion of the job.

  1. Remove Standing Water

If there is standing water in the area, this will be removed. No other work will be able to continue if the water remains in the area. This will also allow the technicians to find the source of the issue (if it’s coming from a broken pipe or backed up drain) so that the issue can be taken care of. [During The Restoration]

  1. Prevent Further Damage

Taking care of water damage needs to be done in a timely fashion. If it sits for too long, there’s a chance that more damage will occur or a Category 1 water damage will turn into a Category 2, which can have impacts on your health. This step may include calling a plumber (if one hasn’t already been called) to discover and stop any leaks. It may also require the removal of affected flooring, walls, and ceiling. Water damage can weaken the integrity of certain structural materials, making them a hazard if they collapse. In some cases, this material may not be able to dry properly, so to prevent water remaining trapped in the area, it will be removed.

  1. Drying

After the standing water has been removed and materials that could pose a drying or structural hazard have been removed, the drying process will begin. This often involves placing fans and a dehumidifier in the area. In some cases, it might also involve putting up plastic sheeting and using heaters so that the water can evaporate. If walls have been impacted, it may be necessary to remove baseboards or drill holes so that they dry properly. A section of the carpet may also have to be lifted so that the carpet and the pad will dry. If these processes aren’t conducted, the chance of odor and mold growth increases. There’s also a chance of structural damage happening from excessive moisture.

  1. Monitoring

Throughout the entire process, the technicians will monitor how well the drying is going. They’ll use their meters to test the moisture content in the affected areas and ensure that their equipment is working properly. Depending on the severity of the damage, this process may take from one day to several.

  1. Completion

Once the meters read moisture levels equal to the previous dry state of the room, the technician will remove the fans and dehumidifiers from the area. At this point, the water remediation process is considered to complete.

  1. Repair Additional Damage

As mentioned, sometimes ceilings, walls, or flooring have to be torn out, baseboards might be removed, or holes might be drilled into walls to ensure proper drying. The water restoration company may do these repairs themselves or they may subcontract the work to professionals they use for this type of job. They may also recommend contractors for the homeowner to contact. Owners may also be able to use their own contractors if they so choose. Having this conversation during the inspection phase of the process will let the homeowner or business owner know what to expect when this phase is finally reached. 

Health and Safety During the Water Damage Restoration Process

Ways to keep yourself safe in the event of water damage.

Health & Safety During The Water Damage Process

Health & Safety During The Water Damage Process

Health & Safety During The Water Damage Process

Health & Safety During The Water Damage Process

What to Expect After the Cleanup Process

Depending on the severity of the water damage, what happens after the cleanup process will vary.[After The Restoration]  If the water damage was caused by clean water, the only thing that might be required is drying the area and then putting things back in their place. If the water damage was large or involved grey or black water, the following might occur. 

Sanitation and Cleaning

Once the water has been removed and everything is dry, the restoration company may go through and do a final cleaning that involves sanitizing to remove the possibility of bacterial growth and deodorizing to rid the home or office of any unwanted odors due to the water damage. 

Mold Growth

After any type of water damage, the possibility of mold growth increases. Ensuring that the area was properly dried and then sanitized should reduce this likelihood. However, it’s not always possible to prevent all growth, but a good restoration company will have the skills and expertise to remove any mold that grows as a result of water damage. 

Reconstruction

If anything was torn out such as flooring, walls, or the ceiling, these will need to be repaired and/or replaced. The restoration company may have the expertise to take care of small jobs, but they may also recommend or have subcontractors that will complete reconstruction. 

Insurance Claims

Most insurance companies and restoration companies work well together when it comes to addressing water damage in Miami. They are often in contact to get information about how the job is progressing and if there are any issues that need to be addressed. Some restoration companies will even send the invoice and work orders directly to the insurance company so that the owner doesn’t have to worry about that. In some cases, the insurance will also pay the restoration company directly. Talking to your agent will let you know how this process will be handled. 

Should You Hire an Adjuster

Deciding whether or not to hire an adjuster for your claim will depend on a variety of things, including if you’re actually going to file a claim and  if the damage is covered by your insurance policy. There are benefits from hiring an adjuster, but there could also be downsides as well, and you’ll need to determine if one outweighs the other. At Total Care Restoration, we have the expertise and certification to help you with your Miami water damage needs. We are available 24/7 and 365 days a year, so give us a call so we can help you get your life and your home or business back to pre-disaster condition.

Tips, Advice, and Checklist

Emergency Drying Tips

Emergency Drying Tips

Emergency Water Damage Tips

Emergency Water Damage Tips

Water Damage Insurance Tips

Water Damage Insurance Tips

Water Cleanup Checklist

Water Cleanup Checklist

Kyle Haywood

About Kyle Haywood

9 Comments

  • Gary Puntman says:

    I had a leaking pipe in my basement, so now there is some water damage. I need to find someone as soon as possible to help with water damage restoration. It’s good to know that there is deodorization equipment that can eliminate any odors. It’s nice that foggers can also prevent mold from continuing to grow, like you said.

    • Kyle Haywood says:

      Gary, what exactly happened and did you actually find help? Not sure what area you are in but finding more out about your problem could better help me, help you ya know?

  • Tim Yaotome says:

    I find it interesting that you listed down how a home gets rid of water damage. My favorite part was when you said that one should remove affected flooring, walls, and ceiling. In my opinion, this should be done by a water damage service. Their work can restore a home’s value to its original. Also, they can help prevent mold growth in the house too.

    • Kyle Haywood says:

      I honestly believe you might be right with your comments regarding affected flooring, walls, and ceilings. They should be down by a restoration company that has a build back service or by general contractors who specialize in such services.

  • Tiffany Locke says:

    Thanks for the water damage restoration information, such as how you can hire a company to do the necessary repairs or get recommendations for subcontractors. When choosing a company for the water damage restoration services, you’d probably want to research local contractors so you can learn about their experience and services. You might also want to check their hours of availability in order to find one that fits in your schedule so they are able to complete the work as soon as possible.

  • Sariah Meagle says:

    I’ll make sure to look for a local water damage restoration service to fix my damp basement. If possible, I’ll check their credentials before I hire them so that I know that they can fix my house. It would be better if they work with insurance as well so that I will be secure if anything happens so I’ll look around for contractors who fit that criteria.

  • Flood Damage Repair says:

    Hmm it seems like your blog ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess
    I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new
    to everything. Do you have any suggestions for
    inexperienced blog writers? I’d certainly appreciate it.

    • Kyle Haywood says:

      Blog writing is not an easy skill set to master. My suggestion is to subscribe to popular blog writers of today. Then I would practice with an industry that you aren’t familiar with. Why? Most blog writers need to be decent researchers as well as writers. Keep getting after it even when it gets frustrating!

  • Erika Brady says:

    I’m glad that you mention how water damage restoration companies have the equipment that is made to be used specifically for such situations. When choosing one, it would probably be a good idea to research local companies and then contact them. If you contact them, it should give you the opportunity to ask questions and discuss your situation so you can learn about their methods and equipment to ensure it’s what you need for the water damage restoration.

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