A homeowner’s worst nightmare is probably experiencing water damage.
Therefore it should never be taken lightly or neglected. Water damage is harmful not just to your family’s health but your home as well, and therefore it should be remediated immediately.
Preventing water damage from occurring in the first place is absolutely necessary and actually easier than you may think. However, if it does occur, you can fix the problem if you had the necessary knowledge.
So what does DIY water damage restoration entail?
An interesting fact is that one of the most common claims filed against homeowners insurance by homeowners is for water damage.
There are a few things you can do before the restoration company responds or the damage is small enough to do it yourself:
- Start by locating the source of water
- Shut off the source of water and electricity
- Move your furniture away from the water damaged area
- In a nutshell, these are the steps that you would follow when conducting do-it-yourself water damage restoration.
There are times when, despite taking the necessary precautions to keep water out of your home. You will still be a victim of water damage. According to statistics, 40% of homeowners have experienced some form of water damage in their lives.
However, when this does happen you do have a fighting chance against the damage and you can still take practical steps to keep your family safe and salvage your furniture and belongings.
Table of Contents
DIY Water Damage Restoration
When you are faced with moderate water damage, you don’t have to call the professionals right away. With the right tools and knowledge, you can tackle the repairs yourself and here’s exactly how you do it.
You need first to locate the source of the water or basically find exactly where the water is coming from. This can be tricky, depending on precisely where the water damage is actually coming from.
When it comes to water damaged ceilings, identifying with water, can be challenging, but you need to determine whether it is a roof issue or not. If you cannot find the source of the water, then a professional must be called.
If you’ve managed to locate the source of the water, you need to determine whether it is an external source of it it’s coming from inside your home such as a pipe inside the house. Once you do shut off the water source.
This will help reduce additional damage that the water could cause. Electricity should also be turned off in the event that there are electronics in the room. Alternatively, you can remove electronics from the room altogether.
Move the contents away from the affected area. Any furniture, personal belongings, and any other miscellaneous items should be moved away from the affected area. The dangers of leaving your items to sit in the water are that it could cause further damage to the contents and ultimately make them unusable.
If you have heavy furniture that cannot be moved, then you may need to call in the restoration company to put them on blocks or to keep the content off the ground.
However, if you can accomplish this yourself with a little extra helping hands, then you should go ahead and do so.
The next thing you should do is start to remove the water. If the affected area is small or you don’t have a high level of standing water, then a simple shop vacuum should help to eliminate the water. Usually, this is an area of 100 square meters or less.
Once you’ve managed to get the water out, get the air moving. Even if you do move your furniture and belongings, they may still be building materials that are wet and need to be dried out.
If you fail to dry out the affected area, it would eventually lead to mold growth. So if you are able to do so remove baseboards. You can dry out the area by opening up the windows and doors and allowing fresh air to circulate.
Alternatively, you can use box fans and a dehumidifier to help in the process. Place several fans throughout the affected area, and this will help get water bubbles into the air through evaporation. A dehumidifier will then remove the humidity from the air.
How much does it cost to clean up water damage?
In any water damage situation, there are three sets of costs that you need to combine in order to figure out how much it is going to cost you.
The first set of costs come from water removal, cleanup, decontamination and ventilation, and the cost of the building and structural repairs. Finally, the cost of replacement or cleaning of personal property and mechanical equipment.
Ultimately there are also factors that contribute to your final quote. Some of the factors that influence how much you pay include:
- Your location
- The cost of materials and labor in your local area
- The type of water damage that is being tackled example clean water, black water greywater
- The extent of the damage
Additionally, other factors that contribute to how much you may pay include whether building materials need to be replaced or restored in order to maintain the original structure of your home.
Ultimately, the average cost to clean up water damage is anywhere between $2700 for mild to moderate damage and $7500 for severe water damage.
How do you clean up water damage?
Once you experience water damage, you should remove soaked items immediately. Any furniture that has been soaking in the water will likely become even wetter or absorb more water if it is left to soak.
Move your furniture to an area that is well ventilated such as the attic or you can even leave it outside until you are ready to start cleaning.
In the event of floods, mold, debris, and mildew will build up on your furniture. If you notice this, clean the area to remove the debris, mold, and mildew.
You can also use desiccants to soak up extra moisture. These desiccants are materials that absorb moisture and are the packets of salt like substances found inside a pair of new shoes. Other substances that draw water include calcium oxide and silica gel.
Once you remove the mold and debris off your furniture, just throw some of this stuff over it. It will soak up excess water stuck in the furniture and even the fabric in your upholstered things.
It can take a few days or even a few weeks to soak up all the excess water. And you may need to replace the desiccants if your furniture is very wet periodically. Once the desiccants become which they change color.
Appliances that have been water damaged should be hand cleaned. You can start by cleaning the surface with an all-purpose cleaner to remove surface debris.
Don’t attempt to clean the products like televisions or radios on your own. This can cause further damage and render your electronics unusable.
If you have mattresses that have been water damaged, unfortunately, you will need to throw them away. Once the mattress gets wet, dispose of it at a local dump for hygiene purposes.
What causes water damage?
What damage could be the result of several factors. However, the most likely culprits of water damage include:
- Broken pipes
- Leaky dishwashers
- Roof leaks
- Overflowing washing machines
- Poor exterior siding
- Foundation cracks
- Leaky windows and doors
- Faulty gutters
- Sump pump failure
In many cases, water damage is a result of faulty or broken appliances and structures inside your home.
By maintaining your home and keeping it up to date, you will help to avoid these problems.
So ensure that your plumbing is inspected from time to time and also ensure that your ceilings and exterior structures are checked to make sure that everything is working fine and nothing needs to be repaired.
By doing this on a regular basis, you will ensure that you pick up the problem before it gets out of hand.
Water damage irrespective of how it enters your home can lead to various other damages and health issues such as the growth of mold and mildew. Mold starts to thrive after only a few days wherever standing water is present.
It harms your home’s structural integrity and also your families health. This is why you need to rid your home of mold, and ultimately the water lodged there as well.
The contamination of Blackwater is another huge effect and result of water damage. This type of water is dangerous once it enters your home because it contains pathogens that create illnesses.
Damaged appliances, gas lines, and wiring are also potential problems caused by water damage. Replacing these items can be costly; however, it will need to be done if you are the victim of water damage.
Is it Affordable to Handle Water Damage Restoration Yourself?
Water damage restoration is possible in one of two ways. You can firstly call a professional water restoration company to have it done for you.
Alternatively, you can choose to do it yourself. However, there are times when this is practical, and then there may be other times when calling a professional would be a better idea.
They are two factors that you need to consider before you make your final decision.
So when exactly it is it practical to conduct DIY water damage repairs?
The amount of damage
The amount of damage that’s been done to a home is a significant factor that contributes to your decision of whether to carry out the restoration by yourself or hire professionals.
If the damage is only minimal or only a small area of your home has been affected, then you may consider doing just by yourself, provided you have the proper equipment.
For larger areas of damage or where the damage is excessive, the best thing to do would be to call in a professional.
The water source
In cases where the water damage is a result of black water or sewage water, then it can lead to contamination and other health complications.
In cases such as these, it is best to call in the professionals. Blackwater has certain bacteria and organisms that affect your health.
So you don’t want to come into contact with it, and you’re better off hiring professionals to get the job done. However, if it’s clean water or grey water, then you can get the job done yourself, provided you have the necessary safety gear.
3 Common Mistakes Made When Doing It Yourself
The most important things to consider in any water damage situation. is speed.
If you choose to conduct a do-it-yourself water damage restoration, then you need to move quickly.
The longer you wait, the more likely there is to be further damage. So if you choose to go the DIY route, here are three mistakes that you should never make.
Using the wrong equipment
When it comes to smaller areas of water damage, towels and mops can be used. Sump pumps and wet and dry vacs should be used for more extensive damage.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that cleanup is done just because you don’t see any water.
The most critical part of the remediation process is yet to come. Water is often trapped inside structures and may only be found by using moisture detection equipment.
This type of hidden damage leads to mold and mildew problems in the long run.
If you’re going to attempt to dry the structure by yourself, don’t leave out a dehumidifier and fans to ensure that you dry out the infected area as quickly as possible.
Failing to recognize potential danger
The failure to recognize a dangerous situation is probably the next mistake that people make. The damage doesn’t look extensive, don’t assume that it’s not.
So always protect yourself when you’re attempting to clean up water damage on your own. Beware of things like hidden structural damage, and contaminants like chemicals and mold.
Of course, you want to get your property back to normal as quickly as possible but don’t be haphazard by failing to assess the situation completely. This will put you at risk.
Ignoring the details
Lastly, lots of people choose to ignore the details. So you should assess the situation and know which doors to keep open and which ones to keep closed.
Keep your furniture and other personal belongings safe and completely decontaminate or disinfect everything the water damaged area. Also, don’t stop the drying process too soon.
Another thing to bear in mind is that you’ve checked everywhere that the water could possibly try to hide.
Moisture can hide in subflooring and dry walls, and you may not be able to detect it. It can, however, detected by specialized equipment so don’t ignore the possibility that there could be hidden damage.
Do-it-yourself water damage cleanup can be challenging, especially if you’re doing it completely and literally on your own. However, the most important thing to remember is to keep yourself safe and move quickly.
If you are in doubt, always contact a professional water restoration company. They have the necessary equipment, knowledge, and experience to get the job done quickly effectively and safely.
How do you Clean Walls after a Flood?
Water damage is not only frustrating but can be inconvenient and expensive as well.
There are a few steps that you need to follow in order to clean up water damage, and once you do this, you will begin the process of water damage restoration.
Clean walls and floors
The first thing you should do after discovering water damage is unplug everything inside the water affected area.
One of the most dangerous things you can do is enter a water damaged part of the home and attempt to start cleaning up with electronics still plugged into the wall.
So you should unplug everything and turn off appliances before you start to clean.
Next, you should soak up as much water as you can with a wet and dry vacuum. If you don’t have a vacuum-like this one rent one from a hardware store.
Run the vacuum cleaner over the floors and walls to initiate the cleanup process. Also, use it anywhere else that you notice water build-up. Try to soak up as much as much water as you possibly can with the vacuum.
Next, you should steam clean the carpets. This is ultimately your best option for water damaged carpets. If you don’t have one of your own, you can rent it from a local hardware store.
Run the steam cleaner over the water damaged carpet and this will remove moisture and clean it at the same time. Professional steam cleaning is only required if the carpet is extremely water damaged.
Your next step should be to disinfect everything. Water can cause a build-up of bacteria on your floors, carpeting, and walls. So disinfecting after cleaning is important.
A disinfectant cleaner can be bought at your local hardware store. Ensure that you buy one that is specifically designed to treat water damage.
Use this on your floors and walls. Always ensure that you read the directions to figure out whether it needs to be diluted or not. A combination of bleach and water can also be used in lieu of disinfectant.
Additionally, you should apply a product to prevent the growth of mold. This product should be applied after cleaning and disinfecting the walls and floors. Find it at a hardware or department store and always read the package for directions.
Fans and dehumidifiers can be used to eliminate the excess moisture in the room. This is a good idea because there is likely to be some lingering water on your floors and carpeting.
However, placing several fans in the room will help to eliminate this, and using a humidifier will speed up the drying process. If you don’t have a dehumidifier, you can borrow or purchase one. This speeds up the drying process immensely.
Important Steps to take while waiting on a Professional to show
If you’ve experienced water damage and requested a professional restoration company to come to your aid, there are a few things you should do while you’re waiting on them.
Assess the damage: Try to inspect your property provided that it’s safe to do so. This will give you an idea of exactly how bad the damages are. Things like missing shingles and holes in the roof, broken doors, and windows, leaking ceilings and damage to siding will give you a good idea of the actual state of your home and the type of repair that may be required.
Take safety precautions: Before you do anything, take precautions to keep yourself safe while inside the house. One of the first things you should do is turn off the electricity inside your home. Provided you can get to your electrical panel without passing through lots of water; you should do so as quickly as possible. Wear protective clothing such as rubber boots and gloves when walking inside.
Take photos: Document all the damage to your belongings and your furniture. Try to go room by room and take pictures of each room if necessary. This is critical evidence and plays a huge role in your insurance claim. The more documentation you can show, the easier the claims process will be.
Prevent further damage: It is important to do whatever possible to prevent any further damage. If there is standing water, try to pump it out as quickly as you can and mop up the excess. The restoration company will implement additional water extraction techniques when they arrive. Remove items that are being infected and get everything off carpets. Board up broken windows and the roof as well. These steps are essential in ensuring your home is able to recover from the water damage fully.
9 Top Tips for Clean up after home water damage
Acting quickly and cautiously will assist you in cleaning up. Here are nine tips for cleanup after water damage.
1. Walk around your home
Don’t rush back into your house after evacuation. First check for issues such as loose power cables, cracks in the foundation, and beams and damaged gas lines. Assess your roof and make sure you take note of where the shingles may need repair.
2. Evaluate the indoors
Before you attempt to clean up, you should be aware and acknowledge that severe damage will require professional help.
So take stock of the indoor scene to determine whether do-it-yourself water distribution cleanup will actually be practical. If you notice that the situation is difficult, then it’s best to call in professionals.
They have the necessary heavy-duty equipment required to tackle extreme and severe water damage situations. Also, ensure that you check the ceilings for any water spots, which is an indication of roof damage.
3. Act quickly
In order to keep mold from forming, dry items quickly. This includes everything that belongs to you from your biggest furniture to the smallest of items.
These should be dried in as little as 48 hours. The longer they remain wet, the more likely it is for mold to appear. So try to keep doors and windows open for as long as possible and use fans and dehumidifiers to circulate air.
4. Salvage carpeting
In most cases, carpets and rugs should be sent out for professional cleaning. However, when carpeting is installed it can’t be adequately cleaned and therefore should be thrown away.
If part of a carpet is wet, then you can use a wet and dry vacuum to remove as much water from it as possible.
Thereafter call professionals and in clean and rinse the carpets with an extraction cleaner. Fans will speed up the drying process.
5. Clean furniture
Solid furniture should be removed and placed outdoors. The doors and drawers should also be removed to clean it thoroughly.
Brush and washed the dirt off the furniture with a well-wrung clock that stepped in mild soap and water solution. Allow the pieces to dry out in direct sunlight.
Badly damaged finally will probably require professional refinishing and a new coat of polish. If you have upholstered furniture, they also need to be professionally cleaned. Unfortunately, water-damaged mattresses should be thrown away.
6. Inspecting appliances
For items like coffee makers and toasters look for cords that are frayed and wires that are exposed.
For fridges and dishwashers, a professional company should be called in to check the safety of the connections and components. Anything that is too severely damaged should be replaced.
7. Look inside the fridge
If you’re away from home for more than four hours, toss perishables such as dairy, meat, and leftovers out. Condiments are okay to keep.
Freezer contents are okay for about 48 hours if the freezer is full. If only half full, you probably only got 24 hours for your contents.
8. Wash clothing
Treat any stains with a prewash spray and washer clothes with cold water and powdered laundry detergent. These detergents are good at removing dirt and clay that are found in floodwater. Coldwater also keeps your fabrics from staining.
After the initial wash, you should repeat the washing process, so basically wash all of your clothing and garments twice. Non-washable garments should be sent off to the drycleaners.
9. Be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning
If you have a camp stove or charcoal grill, absolutely do not light it indoors. These types of grills, when used in enclosed spaces, provide lethal levels of gas, and although their colorless and odorless, they can still be deadly. The same applies to portable generators.
Safety Equipment and Tools Needed for DIY Water Damage Repair
When it comes to professional water damage restoration, the experts are armed with industry strength equipment. When it comes to the extraction and removal of water, the typical wet and dry vacuum is not going to cut it.
These professionals operate with electric and gasoline-powered submersible pumps that remove high volumes of water in very short spaces of time.
Portable vacuums which are truck-mounted are used, and they offer the powerful suction needed to extract water from carpets and water stuck in flooring and crevices.
When it comes to drying out your home, strong industrial dehumidifiers are used and quickly remove water vapors.
Lastly, high-volume air movers are configured precisely to the direct jets of air across the walls, floors, and surfaces and provide continuous airflow throughout the premises to exhaust water vapor.
Flood Damage and Repair Costs
Depending on a number of factors, repair costs for water damage after a flood can cost anywhere between $2700-$7500.
This will depend on your location, the extent of damage your home has experienced, and whether or not building structures need to be replaced.
Ceiling and Wall Water Clean up
Ceilings that are exposed to water damage are more at risk due to gravity. So the last thing you want is them collapsing.
This is you need to fix it first before attempting to repair any other structure in your home. You should start with the ceiling panels and boards first.
If the ceiling leak is a cause of the problem, it’s important to find the source of the leak, and this could be absolutely anywhere inside the house.
You should then make sure the water has not caused structural damage to the beams or rafters. In cases of ceiling damage after a flood or other water damage scenarios, it’s best to call in a professional.
Furniture Restoration – Is it Practical to Keep or Just Toss My Furniture?
When it comes to water damaged furniture, the rule of thumb is that anything that cannot be washed and disinfected must be tossed out.
However, a restoration specialist should probably be consulted when it comes to high-value items or those of sentimental value.
Flood Repairs Hired Out (and what to expect)
Depending on the company you are hiring, your inspection and estimate costs may be free or cost you a fee.
Water Extraction: It starts at $2,700 and goes up to $7,500 depending on a number of factors. If you structures need replacing, you can expect to pay more.
Furniture Clean up(and other hard surfaces): In cases where your personal items need to be cleaned, you will be charged extra and the amount if dependent on the company you hire.
Deodorization: Professional restoration companies make use of commercial deodorization and disinfectant equipment to kills mold spores and other harmful substances.
Drying by Air Movement and/or Dehumidification Efforts: Commercial air movers are used to thoroughly dry out water damaged areas. The have the intensity to get into nooks and crannies that ordinary equipment cannot.
Mold Remediation: Most companies offering water damage restoration are also trained in mold remediation. This means that they will do a professional job and eliminating mold from your home after water damage.
Where should I start after experiencing water damage?
The first thing you should do is act fast. Assess the scene and decide whether you are going to take care of the situation yourself, or call in the professionals.
Once you have decided, you next step would be to get rid of the water standing inside your home.
Is it cheaper to DIY when it comes to water damage restoration?
This all depends on various factors, however, the extent of the damage plays a key role in whether you actually will be able to restore your home on your own.
If the damage is moderate, you can pull it off, however, for severe damages, professionals should handle the job.
Should I take pictures of the water damage in my home?
Yes, having photos will help you significantly when it comes to claiming from your homeowners insurance.