When torrential floods unapologetically sweep through the area, businesses and organizations are left struggling. While most physical damage is obvious, insulation-type damage goes largely unseen. Microscopic organisms hide in the cracks and crevices. Amid the dark, damp interior the growing enemy will cause significant structural damage and health concerns…
Unless its thwarted.
One of the most common and expensive post-flood issues is mold infestation. The fungus grows and multiplies in damp environments, making flooded buildings the ideal environment. It only takes a few inches of water to spread the infection, and it only takes 24 hours for the fungi to grow.
Additionally, mold may also trigger allergies or allergy-like symptoms creating, mainly affecting the upper respiratory system. The exposure may cause coughing, skin irritation, nasal and sinus congestion or sore throats. Long-term exposure to high mold levels can be unhealthy.
Reduce excess damage and prevent potential mold growth by replacing compromised building elements and drying out savable insulation.
MOLD’S FAVORITE HIDING PLACES
More often than not, insulation such as doors will need to be replaced. If the water is even 6 inches high, the damage could easily spread upward in a wick effect. After flood damage it is especially important to inspect, dry and often replace walls, doors and windows.
Probably one of the most at risk places for mold growth is the carpeting. Even if it’s not immediately apparent, the damp post-flood surface will likely need to be replaced before mold buildup. If more than one area of the carpet has been affected, it’s time to start ripping it out.
However, if the carpet is in a different room than the main flooding and only tiny areas of growth have been found, try cleaning first. Sometimes detergent and water used in a steam-cleaning machine can do the job. Other common rug-cleaning products can also be used. It will take 24 hours to tell if the cleaning is effective.
When it comes to walls, the moisture will develop beneath the surface. The insulation needs to be dried or removed to prevent unseen mold and structure damage. Even if it appears to be dry, the dampness will spread leading to hidden decay fungi. The best way to get to the inside is to remove the wall board at least two feet over the water line.
First try to dry to insulation. De-humidifying blowers provide the fastest drying. Many water-damage restoration specialists use these. You can also test the moisture content first with a moisture detector.
In your recovery process, don’t forget the bathrooms. As long as the stall partitions are made of nonporous materials they can usually be cleaned. However, be careful to actually remove the mold instead of just killing it. Even the dead spores could cause bad health problems.
Additionally, be sure to clean carefully with a disinfectant. Bleach will work well for nonmetal surfaces. Safer, less-corrosive disinfectants include alcohols, disinfecting cleaners and hydrogen peroxide.
More often than not the commercial steel doors will need to be replaced. There is unseen damage inside the door, which could later create mold. The moisture is likely trapped between the steel slabs, creating the ideal environment for fungi growth. Commercial metal doors would also need to be replaced. With even six inches of water, the doors could be compromised.
While wet commercial wood doors won’t store mold, the wood will likely swell up and become unusable within the frame. Once the water reaches only a few inches up the wood, the wood will also need to be analyzed.
Don’t forget about the door frames which could easily trap moisture in the little gaps between the wall. However, frame issues can easily be fixed to avoid replacing them. In order to dry out the space, take off the dry wall or sheet rock. Make sure all of the back space is addressed and dried.
If the mold has already festered, you will likely smell the strong odorous results. Clear out the unwanted infection as soon as possible. When removing the mold, the process will likely disturb the spores and release toxicity into the air. Remember to protect yourself during removal with protective equipment such as a dust filter mask, goggles, gloves and protective clothes that cover your whole body.
Using a proactive approach to preventing the spread of mold through the insulation of your building, you’ll avoid damage to your health. Take the easy way out.