Where should you start when drying out a home that has been damaged by water from a failed roof? In most cases, the best advice is to work from the top down, and that means starting in the attic. To promote natural drying of the building, get rid of wet and damaged property from the attic. Leave doors and windows open throughout the home to start the drying process too.
After insulation has been wet, it is most often ineffective, so go ahead and remove attic insulation while removing water-damaged property. Insulation will hold moisture and won’t dry out easily, and it needs to be replaced anyway. Failing to get rid of insulation could result in damage to metal, wood and other things that hold your home together.
Some water-soaked items in your attic can be salvaged if dried quickly and using the right processes. But move everything outside or to a safe and dry place to make an assessment. The weight from all those wet boxes can cause cracking of rafters and the plaster ceilings below.
If the electrical system is safe and in working order, go ahead and turn on all fans you have in the building. If you need additional fans, contact professional water damage remediators. High-velocity fans are among the many professional tools for drying water damage.
Once the attic is clean and drying, look over each room to find ceiling damage. Remember that wet plaster and drywall can fall unexpected, so keep your distance and stay safe until you’re sure each room is safe to enter. Poke holes at the edges of bulging ceilings so water can drain somewhat, and collect draining water in buckets whenever possible.
Handmade plaster mixes often respond better to drying than factory-made sheetrock, but that isn’t always the case. And some saturated plaster is too badly damaged to be saved. Wood lath can expand when saturated, and that can also cause the plaster over it to fail. If a ceiling appears to be sagging but not terribly damaged, shoring it up with a T-shaped wedge of plywood can help hold things together until professionals can make a better assessment. Many plaster ceilings can be saved if the damage was caused by clean rainwater — and if action is taken immediately.
Sheetrock exposed to water for less than two hours may be savable. Remove damaged drywall with a cordless cutter to avoid shocks, and be sure to avoid all inside-the-wall electrical wiring.
Be sure to open windows even in rooms where there appears to be no water to lower overall humidity and create a cross-breeze to speed drying. Wash down all surfaces in all rooms, using an antifungal and antibacterial detergent if possible.
If carpet is wet, it will have to go as well. You may need to remove hard flooring like linoleum and vinyl to aid in evaporation.
If the job seems to be big for you, turn to professionals who have experienced crews that can do the work as quickly and easily as possible to handle your water damage remediation. In San Diego, your best choice is Orange Restoration – Call (619) 376-6838.