When is Water Damaged Drywall, Carpet, & Flooring Past the Point of Saving?
If your home or business has fallen victim to water damage you might be wondering what can and cannot be saved. Personal belongings aside, flooring, carpets, and drywall tear outs and reinstallation can add quite a hefty amount to a water damage restoration estimate leaving homeowners tempted to salvage them. Depending on the actions taken directly following the water damage, and it’s severity, water soaked carpet and drywall can often times be saved. However, this is heavily dependent on the water extraction process and how quickly it was implemented after the flooding.
Contrary to what most believe, the amount of water is typically not the deciding factor in what can and cannot be saved. Instead, the main concern is the contamination level of the water coupled with how quickly after the flooding a complete drying of affected areas can take place.
With every flood being different and presenting unique challenges, hiring a team of expert water damage restoration specialists should be top priority to minimize loss.
Dealing With Wet Carpets & Floorings
When dealing with synthetic fibers that are most common amongst mass produced carpets the main concern following flooding is always mold and harmful bacteria growth. If attended to within 24 hours of flooding, these two issues can usually be neutralized.
If a full fledge flood is not the issue, lets say a couple of gallons of water was spilled or leaked onto carpeting, often times manual drying with towels can prove to effective. Laying towels over the wet area and walking over it to blot water up from the carpet and padding will remove most of the water. Once relatively dry to the touch, following that up with a light sprinkle of baking soda and a quick vacuuming can do be enough.
For more severe flooding invloving the thorough soaking of carpets and rugs, a surface drying effort will just not be enough. Taking the approach to attempt to dry large spills/floods yourself will only prolong the water exposure and increase the damages to your home. Serious water volume needs to be extracted by a water extraction vacuum or “wet-vac.” Once this is done, carpet can be lifted up so that drying from both sides is possible. This will also expose the carpet padding which can be cost effectively replaced. Capet padding is cheap, easy to replace, and cannot be thoroughly cleaned. Drying out carpet and relaying it atop a water damaged carpet pad is a bad idea and should never be done.
The good news about removing the carpet padding is that you will expose the concrete foundation or wood flooring in your home. Now is the time to check for dampness or water damage here. Scanning the baseboards around affected areas is also a good idea. Even if carpet is dry near the baseboards, water can travel under carpet and carpet padding atop the foundation and flow into contact with baseboards. Wet baseboards should be dried immediately.
How to Handle Wet Drywall
When talking about water damage and drywall it is important to first have an understanding of what exactly drywall is. Drywall is essentially gypsum (a soft sulfate mineral) sandwiched between two layers of thick paper. And although it may feel firm, even rock solid, to the touch, it is a porous material that absorbs water very effectively. In fact, it is far more porous and absorbs water at a faster rate than nearly all bare woods.
Just like other surfaces, water damaged drywall is a danger when considering bacteria and mold growth. The fact of the matter is that unless drywall is dried within just a few hours of when it is water damaged, it will nearly always need to be replaced.
When flooring gets flooded and water flows over to baseboards it will inevitably find it’s way inside wall cavities and into drywall. When wet, drywall will sag, warp and become discolored.
If you notice water stained drywall with no signs of water damage on flooring this will generally mean that there is a hidden water leak inside the walls in your home. Plumbing pipes flow throughout a home and locating the exact source of a leak can be a challenge. However, wet drywall should NEVER be disregarded as leaks NEVER fix themselves, and wet drywall is the perfect breeding ground for hamful mold growth!