Living in Los Angeles County, you might be familiar with the occasional heavy rainstorms that can lead to water damage in homes. Even though rainfall in the region isn't as much as other parts of the country, however, here's what you can expect to repair after water damage, and some tips to help you navigate the process when working with a local water damage restoration service
1. Understand the Types of Water Involved
Water damage can come from three types of water. Clean water from rain or leaky pipes is relatively harmless and can be cleaned up by yourself.
Gray water, slightly dirty water from dishwashers or washing machines, may contain some contaminants but can still be cleaned up with proper safety gear.
Black water, such as sewage or serious flooding from nearby rivers, contains waste, bacteria, and other serious contaminants. You should not attempt to clean this up yourself - it's time to call in the professionals.
2. Inspect for Mold and Mildew
Mold can start to grow in as little as 24 hours under the right conditions. Be sure to inspect damaged materials for mold and mildew. Remember, mold can show up in hidden areas like inside walls or under floors, so this inspection will be ongoing.
3. Dry Out the Affected Area
It's crucial to get rid of all moisture as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Use fans to circulate air in the affected area.
For larger projects, consider renting a large-capacity dehumidifier to really dry out surrounding wood, carpet, and other materials.
4. Remove Damaged Porous Materials
Porous materials like carpet, insulation, fabric, and similar items will likely need to be removed and thrown away if they've been soaked in water.
Water can permanently damage these materials, and mildew will damage them even further.
5. Disinfect Remaining Materials
Once damaged components have been removed, disinfect the whole area before you begin working. This will help ensure no mold spores linger.
6. Repair Ceilings and Replace Damaged Wood
Ceilings exposed to water damage are more at risk due to gravity. Remove affected ceiling panels or boards first.
Also, all severely warped wood, rotting wood, and wood that has developed mold/mildew problems will need to be replaced.
7. Install New, Sealed Floors
If your floors have been damaged by water, it's often evident. Underlayment and padding are particularly susceptible to water damage and must usually be removed.
However, this also presents an opportunity to install new, waterproof flooring in the area.
8. Measure and Replace Drywall
Water damage can also affect your drywall, requiring it to be measured and replaced.
9. Inspect and Replace External Siding
Water can seep in behind your siding and cause permanent damage to more vulnerable materials. If this happens, you will need to remove or replace the siding quickly before rot sets in.
10. Caulk and Paint
After materials have been replaced, match your paint or stain for touch-ups or apply a fresh coat. This is also the time to seal and caulk the new materials to help minimize any future water problems.
11. Check Your Insurance
If you have significant water damage, check your homeowners insurance to see what type of water damage repair is covered. Sudden events (like a burst pipe) are more likely to be covered than a slow leak.
Remember, water damage can be a serious issue, especially in areas like Los Angeles County where heavy rainstorms can occur. It's important to act quickly and thoroughly to mitigate the damage and protect your home.