Leaking pipes, burst sewer lines, and natural disasters can often leave your home severely water damaged. If your property is affected by water damage, it’s critical to identify the cause and act quickly to avoid further destruction.
Household water damage can be very stressful to deal with, especially when it leads to more problems down the line. While these repairs often require the help of professionals, there are a few DIY steps you can follow to help limit the damage where possible.
What Does Water Damage Affect?
Water is critical to life, but it can also destroy everything in its path – leaving you with a huge mess to clean up. As a homeowner, it is important to understand what areas water can seriously damage within your home. To be safe, always inspect the following locations for damage:
- Floor coverings
- Electrical wiring
As you can see, water can wreak havoc on your home’s foundation and quickly wrack up a hefty restoration bill if left unattended. It’s therefore important to act swiftly before the damage becomes worse.
What to Consider Before Water Damage Restoration?
To determine whether you will clean up the area yourself or hire water damage restoration experts, the first thing you want to do is to evaluate the situation and consider a few of the following factors:
If your home is experiencing a small or moderate amount of water, you can typically manage it on your own if you have the proper tools. However, if there is significant flooding that is not going away despite your efforts, it might be best to call a professional.
If your neighborhood is recovering from a natural disaster or large flood, and your home has suffered significant damage, it may not be the time for a DIY project. Follow the instructions from your local disaster relief authorities and leave these repairs to the experts.
Source of Damage
Before you dive into water damage restoration, you need to discover where the water is coming from. There are three types of water you need to look out for when you have a flooding issue in your home.
- Clean water: From rain or leaky pipes, this water does not contain harmful chemicals and is safe to handle yourself.
- Gray water: Leaking from appliances like your dishwasher, toilet, or washing machine gray water may be slightly contaminated. With the proper precautions, you can clean this yourself.
- Blackwater: The most harmful type of water, blackwater comes from the sewer or flooding from a nearby water source such as a river. It often contains health hazards and is unsafe to handle.
Lastly, you’ll want to assess the level of damage. Light damage can often be handled by the homeowner, however, significant damage can be hazardous and dangerous to repair without the help of a professional. For example, if flooding on an upper level has seeped through the floor onto the ceiling, the damage is beyond your ability to safely restore.
5 DIY Water Damage Restoration Tips for Your Home
Now that you have properly assessed the situation, consider these water damage restoration tips to ensure repairs are done quickly. It is important to note that wet materials begin to develop mold after 24 hours, so you don’t have time to wait!
The first thing to do when you discover water damage in your home is to unplug all electronics immediately. While you may not see the severity of the water damage just yet, it’s important to be cautious around appliances and gas lines. Using this equipment despite the situation could cause electrical shocks or even explosions.
2. Inspect Mold
Certain mold strains are toxic to humans and pose serious health risks. Most of the time, mold can spread quickly once it infests an area, so it is in your best interest to inspect for growth to avoid any health hazards. For small issues, you can cut out the affected area, bag it, and dispose of it immediately. However, with serious mold infestations, you need to shut down any airflow to stop contamination and then call a mold specialist. Oftentimes, mold can appear inside the walls or floors, so it’s important that this inspection is ongoing throughout the restoration.
3. Dry Water Out
Before more damage occurs, you need to eliminate all moisture and dry out the affected areas. You can use fans or a large-capacity dehumidifier to circulate air and dry out the carpet, wood, and other surrounding materials. While this won’t prevent mold growth altogether, properly drying out the area will help lessen the damage.
4. Remove Damaged Materials
If your porous materials, like insulation or carpet, are soaked with water, you need to dispose of them immediately to avoid mildew. It is important to focus on the ceiling and floors first. This means unsealed cement, drywall, and wood need to be addressed and replaced so the home’s structure can support water damage repair.
5. Disinfect Remaining Areas
Depending on the type of water you are dealing with, it can contain a lot of bacteria and other hazards that can cause health problems. The water could also encourage the growth of mold, so it is important to sanitize immediately. Once the damaged materials have been removed, you will want to disinfect the entire area before you begin the restoration process. Spray and wipe down the surfaces with bleach so the mold spores don’t grow before you continue with the repairs.