How to stop the problem before it happens.
Water damage mitigation is the process of limiting or preventing the potential damage than can be caused to your property by water spillage, water ingress, water leaks, floods or storms. Today, for most of us, it is impossible to consider life without a fresh and ready supply of water to of homes and workplaces.
Our bodies need water to survive, we need it for washing, food preparation and many industrial processes. It is literally our life blood but if not harnessed, it can also be very damaging.
Water damage mitigation covers a vast range of preventative and remedial measures which if acted upon and put into effect can save you significant amounts of time and money.
At its most basic level, if you have a laminate floor in your kitchen. (Perhaps this in itself would not be a good idea because kitchens are where most water is used and laminate is not a good material to use in such areas) But, if you spill water on a laminate floor, if left and not mopped up, the laminate will blister, lift and split. Here the water damage mitigation process would be either to use flooring with is more suitable for use in a kitchen or to mop up the water immediately.
Again at a domestic level, let’s imagine you have a leak under the sink in your bathroom. Clearly here it would be important to turn off the supply of water to your property in order to prevent further damage. As part of your water damage mitigation plan, do you know how to turn off the mains supply to your property? I’ve been on countless jobs where the owner didn’t know how to do this. So before you do anything else, find out. Thereafter, do you have the number of a reliable and suitably qualified plumber at hand?
The first and most important thing to remember in water damage mitigation is to stop the source of the water and remove the water that is present. That can be anything from mopping it up, pumping it out, turning of the main or using a dehumidifier. Whatever you have to do to limit the damage and prevent further damage until all the water is gone and a process is in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Until the water is stopped and removed, the recovery process can’t begin.
What is important to remember is that although the visible signs of the water may be removed, the materials used in your home or place of work are porous and will retain the water. The area in which the water damage has occurred must be thoroughly dried out before any preparatory work can be undertaken. Ceiling and walls for example, can take weeks to totally dry out even with a dehumidifier working full time. I have seen more times than I care to think, situations where the owners of properties have instructed repairs only to see damp and mold appear some days or weeks later because they didn’t give sufficient time to the drying out part of the process. This is frustrating and costly.
One word to remember that must be at the front of you mind when dealing with water damage mitigation is SPEED. The faster you take action, the less the damage will be and the less it will cost you.
Thereafter, surround yourself with the right people. Be sure that they are competent and professionally qualified. Water damage restoration is not a job for your local handyman – you need to get the right team in place who can properly diagnose the problem and understand exactly what needs to be done.
Let me give you a case I’m dealing with now:
The tenant of a rental apartment property reports to the rental agent that there is a damp patch in the ceiling by the window. The rental agent sends a junior member of staff round to assess the damage and it is decided that the damp is being caused by water coming through the external brick work so they send for a roofer. The roofer (unnecessarily) repoints the external brickwork and a bill is sent to the landlord. A week later the tenant reports that water is now coming through the light fitting in the ceiling.
The upshot was that the leak was coming from the apartment above – a damage pipe under the floor and eventually, because the water had been retained in the void between the floors and in the building materials, the whole ceiling had to come down, the tenant was rehoused and a large insurance claim is underway.
- So the message is to act quickly, stop the water.
- Be sure that you get the right people to diagnose the problem correctly.
- Allow sufficient time for the damaged area to dry out.
- Get a professional team in to manage the water damage restoration.