The hours and days after a flood are a race against time. The entire structure must be dried quickly, or mold will move in and begin growing in every nook and cranny.
1. Furniture Removal
All items that were exposed to the floodwaters must be removed from the home. This includes rugs, drapes, and furnishing. Some of these items may be salvageable, so it is best to move them outdoors or to a well-ventilated area so that the drying and cleaning process can begin. Do not leave any furnishings or other items in the home if they have absorbed any moisture, as this increases the chances of mold.
2. Water Pumping
Any standing water must be removed next, or you will never get the structure dry. Sometimes the water recedes quickly on its own, but it is more likely that you will need to have a pump brought in to remove standing water — particularly in low points like basements. Removing the water quickly is key so you can minimize the amount of water absorbed into walls and other structural components of the house.
3. Damage Teardown
Damaged parts of the main house structure must be torn out. This includes the removal of flooring like carpets and vinyl, as well as the cutting out of any drywall that has absorbed moisture. Depending on the severity of the flooding and the materials involved, you may also need to remove cabinets and other built-in structures. These can sometimes be dried out and reused if they have not absorbed too much moisture.
4. Air Movement
Once the wettest and most damaged parts of the home are removed, proper drying can begin. Air movement is key to structural drying. Opening windows and running whole-house fans, as well as free-standing fans, helps. Better yet is to have industrial fans placed throughout the home, as these will truly keep the air moving at a rate that is sure to speed up drying.
As the house dries, the air moves out of the walls and floor and into the air. It can carry mold spores if you don't dry it out quickly enough. Restoration services combine air movement with the use of large dehumidifiers, which are designed to pull as much moisture out of the air as possible so that the home becomes a truly dry environment.
A water damage restoration service can provide you with what you need if you need immediate help following a flood.