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Step 4 - Structural Stabilization Procedures
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
The following steps will help stabilize your structure, allowing it to dry faster.
Ventilation is the most effective way to dry out structure interiors. While air conditioning and supplemental dehumidification work well, they are far more expensive.
If possible, open doors and windows and install high velocity industrial fans (air circulators) to move large volumes of air. Keeping the air moving will significantly reduce the potential for mold. Use a dehumidifier to extract water from the room air.
Do not attempt to dry using heat. Heat may promote the growth of mold and other waterborne bacteria.
Do not throw away materials. Many items may prove their value as the surrounding restoration project proceeds. Wait with the installation of new materials until the entire structure is completely dry.
Obtain a good moisture meter and diligently use it to inspect throughout your home. Only when all readings are normal (typically under 8% moisture) is it appropriate to begin replacements.
Divert Water from Your Property
While water levels are receding, detect potential deficiencies and provide temporary grading and shoring to divert water away and protect your property and belongings.
Successful shoring can be accomplished without increasing the damage to historic features or materials. All shoring actions should be planned and executed by a qualified structural engineer or contractor.
Support and Reinforcement
Consult a structural engineer or a licensed contractor and support unstable building components and leaning structures with temporary reinforcement.
Brace and strengthen exposed foundations and decayed or damaged floors and ceilings. Check load-bearing locations for movement or settlement.
Roof and Drainage
Clean and repair the structure's roof and roof drainage system in order to protect the building from further damage. If the existing roof has been damaged, provide temporary protective roof coverings. Clean, repair and reconnect gutters and downspouts.
Keep in mind that water can flow a considerable distance on hard ceilings. Thoroughly inspect ceilings that may be wet. Dry or remove all wet ceiling tiles and gypsum board.
Remove water soaked insulation from the attic and crawlspaces. If easily accessible without damaging other materials, remove insulation from cavity wall construction.
Remove Mud and Debris
Carefully remove or hose trapped mud and water debris as water recedes. Be careful and do not unnecessarily damage covered historic finishes or materials.
Be sure to remove all sources of moisture within the structure such as standing water and water-logged furnishings. This will also allow faster drying as air moves and ventilates around these items.
The yard area should also be cleared of all debris.
Prior to disturbing wall systems, determine if asbestos is an issue. If not, remove trapped water from cavity wall construction and interior partitions by carefully removing gypsum wall boards and baseboards and drilling a drain hole through the plaster near the bottom of each wall cavity.
Remove the interior surface of insulated walls to a point above water height. Leave walls open for up to four weeks or until they have thoroughly dried.
If mold is detected, treat the interior wall studs and plates with disinfectant. Control mold and mildew in the weeks and months that follow a flood.
If trapped moisture is detected behind wall covering and paneling, remove them to allow natural drying. Provide ventilation by opening windows and doors and using fans. Do not damage architecturally significant features.
Delay permanent repairs until buildings are thoroughly dry (may be several weeks).
Gradually dry wood using proper ventilation. Usually, swelling and warping of the solid wood, flooring and framing will be minimal and decrease as the wood dries.
It is also recommended to carefully remove a board every few feet to reduce buckling caused by swelling.
Protect the wood floors from unnecessary traffic and abuse until they are dry. Wet wood becomes soft and easily damaged.
Dealing with Water Damage - Step 1: Safety First
Dealing with Water Damage - Step 2: Secure Your Property
Dealing with Water Damage - Step 3: Damage Assessment
Dealing with Water Damage - Step 5: Dry Out
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