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Restoration Procedure

Flood Restoration UK

After the flood waters recede and the clean up has been done, most folks want to get back into their homes or businesses and start rebuilding. The problem is that wood that has been submerged in water has likely absorbed a large amount of water. Rebuilding too quickly after a flood can cause continuing problems such as mold growth, insect infestations, and deterioration of the wood and wall coverings.

Flood waters are not clean water; therefore, most porous building materials must be removed and replaced with new materials.

Caution!

  • Inspect for structural and electrical damage from outside to determine if it is safe to enter.
  • Electrical safety is extremely important in floods. Check for fire hazards and gas leaks. Use battery-powered light sources.
  • Never mix chlorine bleach with ammonia or vinegar.
  • Wear sturdy shoes, rubber gloves, and eye protection.
  • Be watchful for fire ants, snakes, or other animals.
  • If mold is present, wear a respirator that can filter spores.

First Steps

Make sure that everyone is out of danger of new flood crests, fire, and falling buildings. Assume flood water and flooded materials are contaminated.

1. Flood Insurance Claims

If you have flood insurance, contact your insurance adjuster immediately.

2. Electrical Systems

Be sure all electric and gas services are turned off before entering the premises for the first time.

3. Food and Water Sanitation

Until your local water company, utility, or public health department declares your water source safe, purify your water, not only for drinking and cooking, but also for washing any part of the body or dishes.

4. Furnishings and Carpets

Remove all furniture, bedding, and carpeting to outdoors to be cleaned and dried (or discarded).

5. Walls

Open flooded walls, even if they appear undamaged, to prevent mold, odor, and structural decay later.

Next Steps

Long-term flooding or wetness is likely to ruin most interior finishes and contents, but the next steps may be possible when flooding is short term and cleanup begins promptly. Delay permanent repairs until the building is thoroughly dry, which may take weeks.

1. Subfloors

  • Layers of submerged plywood or OSB subfloors will likely separate or swell. Affected sections must be replaced to keep the new floor covering from buckling.
  • When floor coverings are removed, allow the subflooring to dry thoroughly, which may take months without a dehumidifier.
  • Check for warping before installing new flooring.

2. Wood Floors

  • Carefully remove a board every few feet to reduce buckling caused by swelling. If boards are tongue-and-grooved, consult a carpenter or flooring professional.
  • Clean and dry the floor thoroughly, which may take weeks, before replacing boards and attempting repairs.

3. Tile and Sheet Flooring

  • If a submerged wood subfloor swells or separates, flooring will need to be removed. (Asbestos tiles should be removed only by a trained professional.)
  • If the subflooring is concrete, removal of the floor covering will hasten drying of the slab, but it might not be necessary if it would ruin an otherwise unharmed material.
  • If water has seeped under loose sections of sheet flooring, remove the entire sheet. Ease of flooring removal depends on the type of material and adhesive. Contact a reputable dealer to find out what product and technique (if any) will loosen the adhesive.

4. Cleaning Wall Finishes, Woodwork, & Floors

To reduce mold and damage, clean and dry as soon as flood waters recede. Do not sand or scrape lead-based paint.

  • Use a phosphate-free, all-purpose, or disinfecting cleaner. Wash from top to bottom. Rinse with clean water.
  • One-half cup of household bleach to a 6 Litres of water can be used on nonmetallic, colorfast surfaces as a disinfectant (to kill surface mold and bacteria) after cleaning, but it will not prevent new mold growth on materials that stay damp.
  • Dry thoroughly and quickly. If the utilities are on, use the air conditioning or heater, fans, and a dehumidifier or desiccants to speed drying.

5. Appliances and Equipment

Contact an approved local electrician.

6. Furniture

Take furniture outdoors to clean.

  • Brush off mud. All parts (drawers, doors, etc.) should be removed. Remove or cut a hole in the back to push out stuck drawers and doors. Discard flooded padding.
  • Use commercial furniture-cleaning products designed for the type of material. Do not refinish or wax until thoroughly dry.
  • Dry slowly out of direct sunlight because sun will warp furniture. It may take several weeks to several months to dry.

7. Preventing Mould

Aggressively control mold in the weeks and months after the flood.

  • When power is available, continuously use air conditioning (or heat in winter) plus a dehumidifier, if possible, to remove humidity.
  • In an unair-conditioned home, open windows and use fans to circulate air.
  • Turn on electric lights in closets, and leave doors open to facilitate drying.
  • Try to reduce activities that add moisture to the indoor air, and use exhaust fans when cooking and bathing.

8. Removing Mildew from Household Articles and Upholstery

Avoid disturbing and spreading mould spores indoors. Clean mildewed items outdoors.

 

 

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17 July 2018

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