Tag Archive for: water damage

Water spills or leaks can cause major problems in a very short time. And it doesn’t take much. Water tends to keep flowing and moving until it hits a spot that stops it. Or it dries up. Water damage cleanup needs to be done as soon as possible, for a variety of reasons:

Mold begins to form within 48 hours, possibly more quickly in hot weather. Mold formation is a major health threat as well as causing deterioration of things like wood and textiles (including carpeting). When something remains wet for an extended time, the conditions are ripe for mold to develop. That’s why one of the first things we do in case of a water leak is to bring in industrial dehumidifiers to begin drying out wetness beneath a surface.

Water can be absorbed and wicked into surrounding areas and cause damage in spots away from the source of the leak. We recently were called by a homeowner who had a water leak in her kitchen. A stack of dishes drying had slipped and hit the faucet, turning it on. The dishes falling into the sink blocked the drain, and the result was a waterfall over the edge of the sink to the kitchen floor. Fortunately it was discovered within about 20 minutes, but by that time a substantial amount of water had flooded the kitchen floor. The owner immediately got out a wet/dry vac and sucked up the standing water and used towels to dry the floor. Fortunately that cut down on the amount of water, but there was still substantial wetness.

For example, the flooring was laminate, and the gaps in between each piece allowed water to penetrate to the subfloor, soaking the plywood sheathing. The cabinets were an inexpensive pressboard type, and they worked like a sponge and absorbed water. We tested for moisture within 24 hours of this happening, and again in 48 hours. What we found after 2 days was that moisture was present about 8″ up the walls (that didn’t show up in the first test). And while initially it appeared the transition strip between the kitchen floor and the dining room carpeting had kept the water from flowing into that room, after 48 hours there was moisture beneath the carpet almost 2 feet out from the transition strip.

Our technicians also went into the crawl space beneath the kitchen, and they found standing water on the cement foundation as well as wet insulation beneath the floor. Another dehumidifier was put in place there, which dried up the standing water as well as the insulation. But the insulation will need to be replaced, because once it gets wet, it will never function as well as it did before.

Ultimately, what appeared to be a minor water mishap resulted in major repairs being needed. First our crew moved all the appliances out, then tore out the kitchen flooring and base cabinets to allow the dehumidifier to do its work for a few days. (The base trim also had to be removed so the bottom portion of the walls could dry out.) Once moisture testing indicated everything was dry, damage repair work could begin. (Fortunately the dehumidifier was able to dry out the damp carpet areas so the carpet and pad didn’t need to be pulled up and replaced.)

While we recommended that the drywall that had gotten wet get replaced, the homeowner opted to skip that step since testing showed it had dried out. And since it was not an outside or load bearing wall, we felt this was not a major issue. We did however let the owner know that once drywall gets wet it softens and weakens. Those areas may need to be replaced in the future, but since they were now dry, we were not concerned about mold development.

Replacing the flooring, the base trim, and the cabinets made up the majority of the reconstruction. Touch-up paint of course was needed. The owners suffered a bit of inconvenience, and elected to stay elsewhere during the remediation. (Of course, they had no access to the kitchen, and those dehumidifiers throw off quite a bit of heat and make a lot of noise.) Fortunately their homeowners’ insurance covered the cost of a hotel stay while we worked.

If you have a water leak – regardless of how small – it’s a good idea to have it checked by a water damage remediation company like hours. You may have more damage than you think!

MedTech Cleaners, Inc. is a biohazard cleanup and remediation area serving communities in the Pacific Northwest. We’re based in Spokane, but we work in other areas such as Seattle and communities in Idaho and Montana. Check out our service area, and if you’re not sure whether we work in yours, give us a call to find out.

With the western part of Washington and Oregon getting hit with yet another round of heavy rains, flooding is expected in many areas. While floods are the usual cause of water damage, sometimes it’s those small leaks that can cause major issues – like mold. And what’s worse, small and/or slow leaks often go undetected until there is a HUGE problem. Case in point: a restaurant remodel uncovered massive mold behind the walls.

One of the contractors we sometimes work with in water damage restoration shared these photos with us recently. They had been called in by the restaurant owner to do some repair work to a vinyl mural in the main entry area. But as the contractor stripped off the mural, what was underneath was something of a shock: lots of black mold BEHIND the mural.

Surface mold like this can occur when there is moisture trapped, which might have been the case. But how did the water get between the vinyl mural and the wall? Obviously the wall had to be taken out, and that revealed even more trouble.

The area inside the studs was still damp, and there was some standing water on the floor. And there was another type of mold – fuzzy white, some of which appeared to be fresh.

But where was the water coming from?

Roof leaks are often the culprit, so a team went up top on the building, but no leaks.Further investigation involved going around to the back side of the wall – the restaurant kitchen. And there the source of the water was found. There was a slop sink adjacent to the area show here, and the floor slanted just enough that water often pooled up at the edge of the wall. And since no sealant was used when the walls were constructed, that water was slowly seeping under the bottom of the wall and being wicked up by the wood and insulation. And that warm kitchen air was the perfect breeding ground for mold.

This particular situation is a good example of why whenever you spot standing water anywhere – or mold – getting to the source of the water and then making sure it’s repaired properly so it doesn’t happen again is crucial. Mold can be a health issue for many, causing severe respiratory issues in some. And if left alone, structural damage can occur. Here, the insulation needed to be removed, the entire area cleaned with mold and mildew remover, some of the studs replaced, and then a raised, sealed base to prevent water from infiltrating into the wall again.

As a biohazard remediation company, we’re well aware of the problems that can occur from something as simple as water. And we’re here to help in the greater Spokane and Seattle areas if you have issues with water damage.

The flood waters are receding in northwestern Washington state, but homes and businesses and farms in Whatcom and Skagit counties have been devastated by the historic levels of water overflowing rivers. It’s so severe that coverage has been on a national level. You’ve probably seen photos like this one shown here (courtesy of ABC News). But it may be that the worst is yet to come.

Photo credit: ABC News

Estimates are that in some communities as much of 85% of properties have been damaged. Reports of basements filled with wet mud having walls collapse are not unusual. And even if your property hasn’t had a lot of physical damage, those waters and mud bring with them a very different type of risk. Flood waters are usually contaminated with biohazards that can produce infections and contagious diseases, which is why we DO NOT recommend property owners handle cleanup themselves. It involves much more than just drying things out, cleaning up the mud and dirt, and repairing structures.

Flood Damage Cleanup Is Best Left to a Professional

You can’t identify many biohazards just from looking at dirty water or mud. (Mold is an exception, and it’s usually the most common thing to develop after a flood, but that does take time.) The areas affected by the recent flooding are in large part agricultural, meaning that water is likely contaminated with animal feces. Fecal matter poses a substantial health risk, and when cleanup is not done properly and with the right protective equipment, those doing the cleaning can actually become sick themselves.

Another reason? Lack of expertise. If you aren’t a trained biohazard remediation professional, you likely don’t even know what to look for or where potential problems might arise. And there may be hidden structural damage.

Finally, knowing what needs to happen even after things appear dry and clean is very important. Biohazard and flood damage remediation companies like ours know what to look for and how to make sure the property is restored, disinfected, and sanitized.

Don’t risk your health and safety attempting to clean up after this recent flood. We are here 24/7 to help you. Flood damage repair and restoration is one of our specialties. We can work with your insurance company as well. Our trained biohazard and water damage cleanup technicians have the experience and the equipment to get the job done right. Contact us today – we serve the greater Seattle area, including communities that have been affected like Bellingham, Sumas, Everson, and Mount Vernon.

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