Telephone Prankster Causes Building Floods

As a restoration contractor, we’ve all joked over a beer how when things are slow we should pay our kids to go stick hoses in people windows and leave our card at the front door. Of course it’s all in jest and then this week it’s reported that a high tech version of this happened. The gullibility of people aside, what I want to comment on is the picture in the Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Province.  View Article

This picture shows a man operating an inexpensive residential style carpet cleaner to extract the water and a heater and oscillating fan to dry the building. The Province states that this is a $100,000 loss.

Lets start with what happens when a multi storey water loss occurs. The water absorbs into materials and takes the path of least resistance finding it’s way into the floors and ceilings and walls, wetting insulation, running into electrical components such as light fixtures, smoke detectors etc. The water runs across carpet but also saturates the underpad, it gets under the vinyl  or tile flooring saturating the subfloor. Drywall tape joints pop and wallpaper bubbles. Most hotels have their walls covered in a vinyl wallpaper that is impermeable. The water saturating the drywall can not come out without either removing the wall paper, or drying the wall from the inside out.

So when the DIY (do it yourself) approach to restoration and structural drying is taken such as is evident in this picture, what happens? Lots of hidden (and not so hidden) damage. Raising the temperature is the most effective way to incubate Mould. The biggest mistake is to think that just because the carpet feels dry that the building is structurally dry.

In the past, contractors would just tear out all the ceilings and walls and carpets and replace it all. Today, unfortunately, many restoration contractors still tear out much more than is necessary. Why? Because they make more money in the renovation and they don’t have the technical expertise to dry out a structure with minimal disturbance and be confident that they haven’t allowed mould to grow.

Competent water damage restorers understand and are equipped to dry structures thoroughly and completely. If it’s not completely dry in 3-5 days the issue is usually inadequate equipment or improper implementation.

Structural Drying is the scientific application of heat, evaporation and humidity control. Proper diagnostics of a multi storey flood is difficult unless Thermal Imaging technology and moisture meters are used extensively.

Remember that even with water from a ‘clean’ source, bacteria begins to multiply immediately and mold will begin growing within 4-6 days. If it smells sour or musty, prevention is too late, remedial action must be taken to decontaminate restorable materials.

In summary, use a professional. The health of the occupants is at stake. This is not an area to try to save money. If our friend in the picture did the job himself using the method shown, I guarantee he will have extensive hidden damage and mold issues. Hopefully, he turned the job over to a professional restoration firm shortly after this photo was taken.

18 Feb | No replies

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17 Feb | No replies