Different areas of the country require different methods of cleanup after flooding occurs in
homes and buildings. And that’s because we are not only concerned with the floodwater, but
what’s in the floodwater. And that’s what is not being accounted for in many of the homes
being gutted and then rebuilt. Here’s a short list for those who consider doing the work
themselves: However, when in doubt, call a professional.
TIME IS NOT ON YOUR SIDE!
It is extremely important that you remove all water damaged contents from the
home ASAP. This should be followed by drywall and other building materials
removal. Don’t be concerned with mold at this point, just wear proper
protection clothing; gloves, N95 face mask; goggles, rubber boots etc.
WHAT’S IN THE FLOODWATER?
The water that sweeps through neighborhoods and into homes comes from
miles away. Pesticides, herbicides, raw sewerage, gasoline, and oil just to name a
few, are in the water and when the water dries up the residue remains a toxic
mess in the wall cavities and other areas.
HOW TO CLEAN SLUDGE AND DEBRIS.
If the home has a muddy residue or other coating it will require removal. It
sounds insane but the quickest way to remove is to use a low volume pressure
washer to blast the embedded bio-contaminants out of wood and concrete after
drywall demolition has been completed. Then wet vac all areas.
o Allow wood structural members to dry by forced air to speed up the process to a
point that the wood appears visually dry.
HOW TO DISINFECT STRUCTURAL WOOD.
There are many chemicals available to disinfect building materials during
remediation but the most effective in the event there is heavy soil and other
contamination is a Hydrogen Peroxide solution. There are several different
products on the market available so read the contents before buying to be sure
it contains at least 10% concentration. Higher is better. Apply Hydrogen Peroxide with a pump sprayer in all affected areas.
HOW DRY MUST THE WOOD STRUCTURE BE?
The preferred method of drying is to use forced air throughout the home. This
could take several days or more or until water content is 15% or less in wood
materials after the Hydrogen Peroxide has been applied and dried.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN TO BUILD BACK?
If you have any doubt as to whether the home has been successfully cleaned and
disinfected, you should call for the services of a professional environmental or
mold inspector. A professional inspector will provide you with a post
remediation clearance report along with photos for your future use. This will
make life easier if or when you sell the home