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Water damage occurs in homes due to many different unforeseen circumstances. These include, but are not limited to, hurricanes, floods, broken pipes, leaky dishwashers and washing machines and damaged roofs. It can be expensive to fix water damage unless you have flood insurance. Unfortunately, depending upon how the water damage occurred, your insurance may not cover the costs.
The first step to fix water damage is to run a dehumidifier as quickly as possible. This will need to be done within 24 hours of flooding to prevent mold growth.
In order to fix water damage to the walls of your home, you will need to remove the drywall. Before replacing the drywall, allow the wall cavity to air out to prevent the growth of mold. Replace the drywall after the house has been dehumidified. Don't attempt to reuse the old drywall sheets, as mold spores may have already developed and they will spread rapidly. Several types of mold can be deadly if inhaled.
Use a water extraction vacuum to fix water damage to the carpeting and upholstery. Remove the water with the extraction vacuum and use fans to thoroughly dry the carpet and upholstery. In the case that water has reached the ceiling, the tiles will need to be removed to fix water damage. Remove the ceiling tiles and insulation and discard. Run fans to thoroughly dry the area and prevent mold growth. After dehumidifying the house, install new insulation materials and ceiling tiles.
Hardwood floors require a special cleaning to fix water damage. Remove water from the floor with a water extraction vacuum and dry thoroughly with fans and mild heat. Scrub the floor thoroughly with a mild detergent and fresh water to prevent water spots and restore its natural luster. Polish to a shine, if desired, with lemon oil.
Use a heat fan to dry wood furniture and prevent warping. Smooth the wood with lemon oil to return it to it's original finish. Depending upon the damage, some furniture may require professional restoration. Curtains and throw pillows should be washed according to the manufacturers directions. Dry thoroughly before replacing.
It is nearly impossible to fix water damage to books and papers. In order to prevent tearing important papers, they can be frozen in a frost-freezer then photocopied. Throw away the original papers to inhibit mold growth.
Depending upon the extent of the water damage, especially that caused by hurricanes, professional help may be necessary. Professionals have equipment unavailable to the public to detect and clean mold and mildew. For the sake of your health, if you decide to fix water damage yourself, it is recommended to have professionals check for mold.
Professional help is almost always necessary when it comes to water damage. Let's say you have a leaking tub that led to the damage. That means you could have damage to your walls and you will need to replace those. How about the wooden framework under the tub? Under the floor? The floor itself?
If you don't catch water damage very early on, you are looking at a host of serious problems that you will want to be repaired by people who know what they are doing. The danger here is leaving rotten pieces of your support structure and the growth of mold and mildew in places you might not know to look but a professional might.
There are some people who are very able to take care of major repairs, but how many of us have those skills? Those who don't will need some help for the sake of their own safety and that of their families.
Here's a tip. If you don't have a humidifier lying around, setting up a fan to blow on the area will do in a pinch. The humidifier works best, but a fan can dry out a water damaged area, too.
Of course, you will probably want to buy a humidifier if the damage is extensive enough but don't wait until you get one to pull out the fan and start dealing with the problem immediately. Water damage means mold and mildew and you don't want to breath that stuff.
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