Disaster Preparedness by Apex

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Dear Apex,

I am a local property manager, and I have dealt with several different restoration companies in my career.  I am curious to know why some companies only install drying equipment, and others remove damaged material from the properties before installing equipment?  Can you help me understand the process for future reference?  James A.


We appreciate your question, and we will do our best to make the most sense out of an issue that has several determining factors.  Let us start by first pointing out that every damage situation (loss) has many different variables that determine the correct approach. For professionally trained restoration companies, the first variable that
needs to be assessed is the type of water that has affected the property.  In the restoration industry water is divided into three separate categories:  Category 1, Category 2, and Category 3.  By IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification)
S-500 standards, the following is the break down of the three categories:

*Category 1 – This is liquid from a clean and sanitary source, such as faucets, toilet tanks, drinking fountains, etc. However, Category 1 can quickly degrade (within 24-48 hours) into Category 2.

*Category 2- This category of liquid used to be called “grey water”, and is described as having a level of contaminates that may cause illness or discomfort if ingested.  Sources include dishwasher or washing machine overflows, flush from sink drains, and toilet bowl overflow containing no feces.

(Please note that Category 1 water, when traveling through building materials is automatically elevated to a Category 2 level due to potential contaminates within the building materials themselves.)

*Category 3- This is the worst classification and is grossly
unsanitary.  It could cause severe illness or death if ingested.  It used to be called “”black water, and sources include sewer backup, flooding from rivers or streams, toilet overflow with feces, and stagnant liquid that has begun to support bacterial growth.

It is important for you to know that a thorough restoration contractor will do on site testing to determine which category of water is affecting the individual loss. Once the determination has been made, it is time to move forward in saving the materials that can be saved and disposing of those that could potentially cause harm. Should Category 3 be determined, it is recommended that all affected materials be discarded. In a Category 2 scenario, it is recommended for drywall, carpet pad, and any wooden materials made of pressed board be removed and discarded.  If Category 1 is determined, it is to everyone’s benefit to minimize further damage to the property by attempting to dry wet materials without removal.

The second variable to assess is the construction materials, components, and methods of installation. While some materials may be resilient, such as tile flooring, the method of installation could give a false sense of security with regard to long term damage and potential health risks.  For example, if tile is installed directly on top of concrete, the potential problems are minimal.  If the same tile is installed directly on top of a wooden subfloor, the risk becomes elevated as water can become trapped between the layers of building materials and can create the perfect breeding ground for mold growth and structural issues such as rot.

As you can see it is very helpful to have a basic understanding of construction methods when it comes to restoring a water damaged property.  Of course, there are numerous variables that have to be considered on every loss simply because every loss is different.  We hope we’ve given you some insight on how professional restoration contractors make decisions when it comes to water damaged properties.  Feel free to contact us for further information.  If you have any questions regarding any property damage related to water, fire, mold, or storms and would like us to answer it in our monthly column, please email us at admin@apexisthere.com, or call us anytime at 850-660-6900.

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