Recent Posts

Is Mold Damage covered by insurance?

4/11/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Is Mold Damage covered by insurance? Mold on interior wall

Does your insurance cover mold?

Don’t wait until you have a household mold problem to ask does homeowners insurance cover mold removal. Find out in advance if your insurance will cover a problem if one arises. Mold removal can be extremely costly, so you don’t want to find out too late that you’re not covered.

Coverage varies from policy to policy and state to state, so the only way to know for sure if your policy will cover mold removal is to read your policy carefully or ask your agent. Some insurance policies contain exclusions specifically addressing mold removal. Some will cover mold removal only under certain circumstances. Some will pay for mold removal but not for mold testing, even though you may need to have your home tested for mold in order to find out if there is mold, that needs to be removed. PRV or Post Remediation Verification is also critical to confirm that the mold remediation process was successful.  The policies that do contain mold coverage, usually have a specific limit of insurance that will apply to mold.

Contact your insurance agent if you have any questions about your policy. If your policy doesn’t currently cover mold removal, find out if you can add that coverage to your policy, or if there is another insurance carrier that they can offer that covers mold.  It could save you thousands of dollars down the road.

When Mold Coverage Exists:

In cases where mold coverage exists, coverage needs to be triggered by another covered cause of loss.  Many different things can lead to the growth of mold in the home. If mold is caused from a sudden and accidental issue, like a burst pipe, which is covered, insurance is more likely to cover mold removal than if the mold is a result of an ongoing leak due to lack of maintenance

Here are some examples

Water Damage Following a Fire

Homeowners insurance usually covers fire damage. Unfortunately, sometimes the water used to put out a fire can lead to later mold problems. If mold results from a fire that is covered by your homeowners’ insurance, your insurance policy will probably cover the mold removal, as well.

Water Damage Following a Flood

Mold is a common occurrence after a home has had a water intrusion. Homeowners insurance does not cover flood, it probably will not cover mold that results from flooding. It may, however, cover mold following a covered water back up incident.

Water Damage from a Leaky Roof

Homeowners insurance usually won’t pay for water damage that results from a leaky roof, and most policies won’t cover mold damage that results from a leaky roof, either. However, if damage to the roof is caused by a fallen tree or limb, that damage usually will be covered by homeowners’ insurance. In that case, your insurance policy might also cover any resulting mold damage.

Also, most policies have a requirement that you take reasonable steps to mitigate damage.  Once you are aware of a water loss you have a duty to address the condition to protect from further damage.  If you are aware of otherwise covered water damage and fail to take any action, there could be coverage issue for the water damage as well as any resulting mold damage.

Mold Remediation

If you’ve got a mold problem the first step is finding out how bad the problem is and how much the source has contaminated the other areas in the building.  Be sure to have this inspection and testing done by a certified professional such as an ACAC Certified Indoor Environmentalist.  The initial testing results that the CIE produces will include a scope of remediation.  SERVPRO of Dubuque can take that Scope of Remediation and use it to give you a mold remediation estimate.

If you have trouble finding a certified mold inspector, we can provide a referral.  If a mold issue is identified and a remediation plan is in place, we recommend that you make sure the remediation contractor is properly trained, certified and has the proper environmental liability insurance in place to do this specialized work.  SERVPRO of Dubuque has all of these qualifications!

Tank-less Water Heaters

4/9/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Tank-less Water Heaters Broken fitting on tank-less water heater

Tank-less water heaters have become more popular every year.  Tankless water heaters are compact in size, taking up less space than conventional tank type water heaters. They can virtually eliminate standby losses - energy wasted when hot water cools down in long pipe runs or while it's sitting in the storage tank.  Here is the disadvantage.... When a hot water line leaving the water heater bursts, it continues to produce hot water, ALOT of hot water.  Since there is no tank to run dry, it will continue to spray hot water until the water is shut off.  When this happens in an unoccupied, secondary home, it can result in a significant amount of damage.  Several thousand gallons of 120-degree water, does an amazing amount of damage to a home.

We recently responded to a water damage in a beautiful, historic secondary home in Illinois.  A water line leaving the tankless water heater burst and hot water escaped the system for several days.

This resulted in extensive water damage to the basement from the water discharged from the system as well as significant damage to the main level and the second floor from secondary humidity.

If you have a secondary home or are prone to basement water intrusion, you may want to consider a water alarm.  Newer models are available that can connect to Wi-Fi and notify you of a water intrusion while you are away.

Water Alarms

4/9/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Alarms Broken water line resulting in water damage.

A friend of mine recently moved into a very expensive condo complex and found some very interesting things in the covenants that he brought to my attention.  According to the contract, all condo owners must install water alarms in their utility rooms, kitchens and any other area with a water related appliance.

I decided to do some research on water alarms.  I was previously familiar with water alarms in the past, they are kind of like smoke alarms but for moisture.  When a sensor detects a certain amount of moisture, it sets off an alarm to alert you.  Apparently due to advances in modern technology they are now capable of alerting a homeowner while away from the premises through WiFi connectivity.

Being alerted to a water damage when it starts could go a long way to mitigating the amount of damage caused by a broken pipe, water supply line or even a sump backup.  Addressing water damage quickly is also the best way to avoid a costly mold problem.

A water alarm might be a sound investment if you own a secondary, vacation home or are away from home for extended periods of time.

Of course, if you do experience a water damage, please contact your local SERVPRO!  Our experienced technicians can take care of all of your water damage and mold remediation needs. 

Have a Fire Escape Plan

3/19/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Have a Fire Escape Plan Home fire in Dubuque Iowa

Family Fire Escape Plan

Every Second Counts! During a residential fire, every second counts. Experts agree that people has as little as 2 minutes to escape a burning building before it is too late to get out. In a matter of moments, a small flame can become a major fire, making it critical to be prepared and have an escape plan in place.

In a survey conducted by the American Red Cross, only 26% of families have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.  Once a plan is developed, it is critical the everyone in the home understands the plan.  The best way to familiarize the family members with the plan is to practice it at least twice per year.

The following steps can assist in developing and implementing a plan:

  • Ensure that all smoke detectors work and have fresh batteries.
  • Draw a map of each level of the home, showing all doors and windows
  • Consider escape ladders for second floor bedrooms
  • Choose an outside meeting place for after you have all escaped
  • Teach children how to escape on their own
  • Practice the escape plan during both day and nighttime.

SERVPRO of Dubuque hopes that you and your family never have to experience the tragedy of a fire in your home.  In the event that it happens, we hope that an escape plan will help to keep your family safe.  If you do experience a fire please call on the highly trained fire and water damage specialists at SERVPRO of Dubuque to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Steps to Reduce the Risk of Tornado Damage

3/14/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Steps to Reduce the Risk of Tornado Damage How to minimize tornado damage.

Tornado damage mitigation tips from Disastersafety.org.

About 1,000 tornadoes occur each year in the United States, causing an average of $1.1 billion in property damage and 80 deaths. These storms vary in intensity and the accompanying damage can result in everything from minor repairs to complete destruction with little warning. Most tornadoes are relatively weak, and therefore, primarily damage roofs, windows and trees. While only two percent of tornadoes achieve the most violent and damaging classification, one quarter of tornadoes are powerful enough to cause 90 percent of the damage and two-thirds of the deaths.

 

In an effort to gain a better understanding of who is most at risk from these destructive forces, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) conducted a regional analysis of tornadoes of F2 or greater strength that were reported during the 50-year period beginning in 1957 through 2006. This analysis, coupled with the construction guidance included below, is intended to better define which areas are most likely to be affected by tornadoes and to suggest methods for mitigating property risks.

The analysis used tornado records from a period of time when the older Fujita Scale classification F0 through F5 was being used. Since 2006, tornadoes have been classified by the Enhanced Fujita Scale using EF0 through EF5. Both scale classifications are based on damage observed after a tornado strikes. The EF scale, which provides a larger number of damage indicators for different types of buildings, attempts to recognize the difference between poorly constructed and well constructed buildings and results in lower estimates of wind speeds for the most intense storms, which are classified using the highest number on the F or EF scales. Efforts to re-classify the older F-Scale tornadoes using the EF-Scale are very labor intensive and subject to judgment because it requires a review of old damage reports, many of which will not have pictures of the damage. The simple approach, which is reasonable and probably slightly conservative, is to simply use the new wind speed estimates with the older classifications.

In creating the map below, IBHS used a grid of 100 square mile cells in the analysis. This is a smaller cell size than used by most other analyses. The advantage is a finer resolution of tornado risks at the expense of greater variability between adjacent cells. The effects of this potential limitation were reduced by employing a process to smooth out differences in tornado frequencies between nearby cells.

Tornadoes have a unique destructive power among wind-related natural disasters because they concentrate a massive amount of energy in a relatively small area. The strongest category of tornadoes can generate maximum wind speeds of greater than 250 mph, which is enough to destroy most buildings and structures in their path. These maximum wind speeds generate forces that are about twice as large as those generated by the strongest hurricanes.

Only a few specialty buildings are designed to withstand the direct impact of a severe tornado. However, well engineered, large and tall commercial structures are not likely to suffer structural collapse. For smaller commercial structures, good construction choices can give added protection and increase the likelihood that at least part of the structure will remain standing to provide shelter. Buildings that have been strengthened in critical areas and particularly at connection points, such as between the roof and walls and walls and foundation, would have a good chance of surviving intact or with minor cosmetic damage if subjected to the outer edges of a tornado.

Despite the annual tornado exposure, many walls and roofs of businesses in inland areas of the United States are typically built to resist gravity loads and have little resistance to uplift and lateral loads. Construction where all parts of the building are well connected is more common in hurricane-prone areas, but should also be considered by anyone who wants to increase their property’s protection from other severe windstorms, according to the building science experts at IBHS.

A CHECKLIST FOR MITIGATING TORNADO RISKS

While there is no way to eliminate all the damage of a direct hit from a violent tornado, businesses in tornado-prone areas can implement a variety of affordable measures which, for the majority of tornadoes, will effectively minimize damages to facilities, injuries to employees and the losses associated with business disruptions.

While the measures below focus specifically on tornado risks, many also will help protect businesses from other types of high wind and thunderstorm-related weather risks outside of tornado-prone regions.

ASSESS THE LIKELIHOOD OF A TORNADO STRIKING YOUR BUSINESS

Is the area where you live and work prone to tornadoes? Look at the map in this report to identify areas with the highest risk of tornadoes. Knowing what tornado risks are present is essential for choosing the appropriate mix of measures to protect your business. Businesses located in areas with a heightened tornado risk should take the following steps to minimize their risk of tornado damage:

PROTECT YOUR EMPLOYEES

  • Prepare and disseminate an emergency plan describing what supervisors and employees should to do as a tornado threatens. Practice these procedures through tornado drills.
  • Purchase a weather radio with local discrimination capability. Monitor weather conditions so employees can be moved to secure locations when necessary:
    • Have an adequate source of weather information, such as a tone alert weather radio, to keep abreast of weather conditions.
    • Have someone monitor local radar and warning information during a tornado watch and especially if a tornado warning has been issued for the area.

Watches and Warnings:

  • A tornado watch is a caution indicating a high probability of tornadoes within an area approximately 250 miles long and 120 miles wide.
  • A tornado warning means that a tornado has been spotted on the ground in your county or moving toward your county, or that weather radar indicates a high probability of a tornado existing.
  • Keep exterior doors and windows closed to minimize rain and flying debris. Closing interior doors will also help to compartmentalize the building and provide more barriers between your employees and the storm.
  • Select the best protective area for employees to seek shelter if there is a tornado:
    • Basements are usually considered a good area, as are corridors and small interior rooms on the first floor of a structure.
    • Never shelter employees in rooms where there is an outside wall, particularly those with glass windows, or where the ceiling or roof has a span between supports of more than 40 feet.
    • If your building does not provide adequate protection and you are located in a tornado prone area, work with a contractor to harden a section of your facility or build a safe room.
    • Safe Rooms: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and International Code Council (ICC) offer shelter guidelines.
      • If you have 10 or fewer employees, a small size room designed according to the requirements and guidance published in FEMA 320 or ICC 500 for residential shelters may be sufficient.
      • For larger safe rooms, use FEMA 361 or ICC 500 guidance for community shelters.

Make provisions to shelter employees working in portable out buildings and those operating trucks and other vehicles.

PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY

Wind-resistant construction can be cost effective and minimize the risk of structural damage for the majority of tornadoes, particularly damage from weak to moderate tornadoes, hail and wind associated with thunderstorms, and even to buildings on the edge of strong or violent tornadoes:

For new construction in a tornado prone area:

  • Work with an architect or contractor to incorporate wind mitigation techniques and high wind-rated products when constructing your building, including safe areas for personnel.
  • These techniques provide state-of-the art solutions to minimize structural risks by withstanding pressures created by specified high winds, strengthening roof and wall connections, roof systems, walls and wall covering, windows, doors, and skylights.
  • It is less costly and more effective to harden buildings during design and construction rather than later.

For an existing structure, not built to wind mitigation standards:

  • Consider retrofitting, especially when remodeling or replacing building components.
  • Retrofitting may include:
    • Bracing and strapping the roof.
    • Adding recommended fasteners, ties, reinforcements, roof covering and anchors as building components are modified and maintained.
    • Making entry doors and overhead doors more wind-resistant.
    • Building a safe room to protect against tornadoes.
  • For additional information on protection for existing buildings, see “Protecting Commercial Property” in the Tornado section of our website www.DisasterSafety.org.

MINIMIZE THE THREATS FROM WIND-BORNE DEBRIS

  • Identify and remove trees and branches that could fall on the building walls or roof, or on power lines.
  • Inspect and repair loose or damaged building components such as siding, soffit and fascia, shingles and roofing, brickwork, and brick chimneys.
  • Avoid using built -up roofs with aggregate or pavers on the surface.

Visit www.DisasterSafety.org/tornado to find additional details and how-to instruction for many of these projects.

Reducing Flood Damage to Homes

3/14/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Reducing Flood Damage to Homes Flood damaged home

Reduce Flood Damage to Homes

More great information from Disastersafety.org.

While flooding can occur at any time of year, the spring is a particularly troublesome time of year as snow and ice melts and seasonal rains begin. IBHS suggests the following improvement projects to help protect property against potential flood damage. 

Flooding and flash flooding are a leading cause of weather-related fatalities in the United States, according to the National Weather Service. Floods are also the most common weather-related cause of property damage in the nation. During Hurricane Sandy, many property owners were caught off guard by the risk that flooding posed as the storm came ashore. This misunderstanding of their flood risk led to many deaths and injuries. Homes were washed away, and businesses were heavily damaged by flood waters. Ultimately, Sandy resulted in $6.7 billion in National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) payouts as of July 2013, second only to Hurricane Katrina’s $16.3 billion in payouts in August 2005, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Understand Your Flood Risk

Updated Flood Maps

A flood map (sometimes referred to as a floodplain map or FEMA flood map) can be used to identify floodplain location and flood zones. IBHS encourages residents to learn about the flooding risk of their properties and take steps to reduce that risk. The best place to start is by finding out what flood zone, from high to low risk, your property is in. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) works with each municipality to create and update flood maps that show the flood zone for each part of the community. You can look up your property on the local flood map by visiting FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center or contacting your city or county government. Your insurance agent or mortgage lender may also be able to assist.

 

Floods maps are redrawn by FEMA to reflect new information and recommendations. In fact, many communities are currently receiving new, more detailed flood maps as part of an ongoing flood map modernization effort by FEMA. Consult your city or county building department to determine if your local maps have been or will soon be updated. If an update has recently been completed or is ongoing, it is recommended that you review the maps to see if the redrawing has affected the flood zone for your property.

Additional information on looking up your property on flood maps and the meaning of the flood zone designations is available at FloodSmart.gov. It is important to note that there are many times when a building can experience flood damage—even if it is not located within a high-risk flood area on the flood map. Therefore, it is best to get an understanding of the flood zone of your entire surrounding area to fully understand your risk.

Know Your Base Flood Elevation

Once you know what flood zone your property is in, it is important to find out what the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) is for your property. The BFE is the elevation at which your building has a one percent chance of flooding annually. You can find the BFE for your property listed on many flood maps, especially newer ones, or by contacting your local building department, or hiring a licensed surveyor. After identifying the BFE for your property, you need to determine whether the elevation of your building’s lowest floor is above or below the published BFE for your property. If your building is below the BFE for the area, you should consider elevating your structure to reduce the chances it will flood. IBHS recommends that buildings be at least 3 feet above the BFE to account for higher-than-expected flooding levels.

Flood Insurance

Once you know what your risk is, you also should consider purchasing flood insurance, especially if you find you are in, or near, a high-risk flood zone (Special Flood Hazard Area). Flood insurance is provided through the federal National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and can be purchased through private insurance agents and companies. If you have a federally backed mortgage, be aware that your lender may require you to purchase flood insurance if you are in or near a high-risk flood zone.

  • Raise Electrical System Components—Hire a licensed electrician to raise electric components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers and wiring) at least 12 inches above the base flood elevation (BFE) for your area. You can find out your property’s BFE by contacting your local building department. Raising electrical system components above the anticipated flood level will help prevent damage to the electrical system and avoid the potential for fire from short circuits in flooded systems.
  • Raise or Floodproof HVAC Equipment—Floodwaters can extensively damage heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) equipment. The extent of the damage depends upon the depth of flooding and how long the equipment is underwater. A good way to protect the HVAC equipment is to have a contractor move it to an upper floor or build a flood-proof wall around the equipment.
  • Direct Water Away From Building—Make sure your yard’s grading (slope) directs water away from the building.
  • Anchor Fuel Tanks—Unanchored fuel tanks outside your home can damage your building or be swept downstream, damaging other properties. The supply line to an unanchored tank in your basement also can tear free and fuel can contaminate your basement.
  • Install Sewer Backflow Valves—Flooding in some areas can cause sewage from sanitary sewer lines to back up through drain pipes. Backflow valves are designed to block drain pipes temporarily and prevent return flow into the house.
  • Sump Pumps—Make sure your sump pump is working properly and battery is fully charged.
  • Protect Wells From Contamination by Flooding—Floodwater that enters a well can contaminate it and make the water unsafe to drink. A licensed well-drilling contractor can inspect your well and suggest improvements.

Reduce Lightning Damage to Your Home

3/14/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Reduce Lightning Damage to Your Home Lightning can cause expensive damage to your home.

Information provided by Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.

For lightning protection, a whole-house/building surge protector is the best starting point for reducing the risk of damage. The utility company may provide and install whole-building surge protection systems. If not, consult a licensed electrician about having one installed.

 

It is important to note that a whole house/building surge protector will not protect against a direct lightning strike. Lightning protection systems are designed to protect a structure and provide a specified path to harness and safely ground the super-charged current of a lightning bolt. The system works by receiving the strike and routing it harmlessly into the ground thus discharging the dangerous electrical event. IBHS recommends that lightning protection systems be installed by a UL listed installer and meet the requirements of NFPA 780 and Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) Standards.

In addition to whole-building surge protection, IBHS strongly recommends the following:

  • Unplug electronic equipment. It is the most reliable means of protecting that equipment from a power surge.
  • Know the important difference between a surge suppressor and a power strip. A power strip plugs into your wall outlet and allows you to plug in multiple electronic devices. However, a power strip does not protect equipment from being damaged by a power spike. A surge protector also gives the user the ability to plug in multiple electronic devices, but it also serves another very important function in that it also protects your electronic devices from a power spike.
  • Connect telephone, cable/satellite TV and network lines to a surge suppressor.
  • Make sure the surge suppressor has an indicator light so you know it is working properly.
  • Ensure the surge suppressor has been tested to UL 1449.
  • Purchase a surge suppressor with a Joule rating of over 1,000. The Joule rating typically ranges from 200 up to several thousand – the higher the number the better.
  • Look for a surge suppressor with a clamping voltage rating (voltage at which the protector will conduct the electricity to ground) between 330 v, which is typical, to 400 v.
  • Purchase a surge suppressor with a response time less than 1 nanosecond.
  • Do not cut corners. You don’t want to protect a $1,000 television or computer system with a $10 surge protector, for $25 and up you can provide much better protection
  • Have a licensed electrician or home/building inspector review the power, telephone, electrical and cable/satellite TV connections to your building. Have them check to make sure that you have adequate grounding of the power line connection and your power distribution panel. All of the utilities should enter the structure within 10 feet of the electrical service entrance ground wire and be bonded to that grounding point.

Water Damage Categories

2/19/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Damage Categories Example of Cat 3 water

Water Damage Categories I, II &III

Most people are not aware that there are 3 Categories of water damage.  There will be a series of blog posts to follow discussing how different materials in your home are affected by water and how that determines how SERVPRO of Dubuque and your insurance company will deal with the resulting damage.

The IICRC S 500 4th Edition Standards book is the Approved National Standard for the water damage industry.  Everyone in the water damage restoration business, agrees to abide by these standards and the courts have, in turn, acted in the past per the standards.

The S500 categorizes water damage into 3 different categories. 

Category 1 water originates from a sanitary water source.  This water does not pose a substantial risk to health from ingestion or inhalation. Basically, other than falling rain water and melting ice, the source of this water is usually from the water supply to the home.  That water might be from a broken supply line, toilet tank, tub or sink overflow (as long as there are no contaminants or additives).

Category 2 water contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans.  Examples of Cat 2 water are; discharge from dishwashers, washing machines, toilet water with urine only, ground water seepage (hydrostatic pressure) or punctured waterbeds.

Category 3 water is grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic or other harmful agents.  It can cause significant adverse reaction to humans if contacted or consumed.  Cat 3 water can include, sewage, wasteline backflows, flood water from seas, rivers or streams.  Surface water can contain hazardous materials including pesticides or toxic organic substances.

Depending on category of water that causes the event as well as the fact that that water became contaminated by either flowing through a contaminant or from it remaining wet for a duration of time, the Category can change from Cat 1 to Cat 2 or Cat 2 to Cat 3.

The way that we handle each of these types  of water damage categories, differs.  I will explain specifics in future Blog Posts.

How Water Categories Affect Carpet and Pad

2/19/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage How Water Categories Affect Carpet and Pad CAT 1 water on carpet

How Water Categories affect your Carpet and Pad.

In this Blog I will be referring to Water Categories 1, 2 &3.  Please read the Blog Post about Water Damage Categories first.

We often run into questions at water damaged homes regarding the wet carpet and pad.  Although every situation can be different, there are some general rules of thumb that usually apply.

If the water incident is a true Cat 1 water damage, the carpet and sometimes the pad can be saved.  If enough water can be extracted using the proper weighted extraction tools and the carpet can be dried in place.  Keep in mind that Cat 1 water can become Cat 2 if it flows through contaminants or is not extracted in a timely manner.

In a Category 2 water event, the carpet and pad should be extracted, but the pad will need to be removed and disposed of.  The carpet can normally be restored as long as it is not worn out or has started to delaminate.  The carpet should be professionally cleaned after the remediation is complete.  Again, keep in mind that the water Category can degrade to a Cat 3 if the water becomes contaminated or if mold an bacterial begin go grow if the issue is not addressed promptly.

In a Category 3 water event, as part of the decontamination effort, the carpet and pad will need to be removed and disposed of.  Normally the contaminated water is extracted first to not only make the carpet and pad more manageable but also to keep from contaminating other areas of the property as it is removed.

How Water Classes Affect Drywall

2/19/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage How Water Classes Affect Drywall Flood cut after water back up from sump pump

How Water Damage Categories Affect Drywall

I previously explained the definition of Cat 1, 2 & 3.  Please read the Blog titled Water Damage Categories first.

Specific building materials are affected differently by Category 1, 2 or 3 water.  The category of water can make the difference between drying and restoring carpet and pad or having to dispose of it as I discussed in the Blog: How Water Categories Affect Carpet and Pad.

What about the walls?  Depending on wall material, the method of water damage remediation will also vary on the Category of Water.

Drywall – Gypsum Board, commonly referred to a drywall has a tendency to soak up water like a sponge, especially from its cut ends.  Water that is sprayed on the wall surface is often repelled by a painted surface or simply runs off before it can be absorbed.  On the other hand, horizontal water that raises to a level above the bottom edge of the drywall will be absorbed, as much as several inches, up the wall board, depending on how long the water remains at that level.

If the water that rose to a level above the base of the wall board was Category 1 water, an attempt can be made to dry the wall.  Air movement is the key to accomplishing this.  First any floor trim or base, will need to be removed.  Standard procedure dictates punching or drilling holes around 2 inches above the floor.  This will be above the sill plate (the framing board that rests on the floor) but still below the upper level of where the base covered.  Air movers are then directed at the holes to provide air movement in the wall cavity to facilitate drying.  This method is usually effective as long as there is no insulation in the wall cavity and the water has not had time to soak up into the wall board a significant distance. 

If the water is Category 2 or 3 water or if the above method is ineffective, the affected drywall will need to be removed and disposed of, a process commonly referred to as Flood Cutting.

Flood cutting, is measuring a line 2’ ½” above the floor and cutting and removing the drywall below that line.  This will open up the wall cavity, allowing wet insulation to be removed and the wall chamber to be decontaminated if Cat 2 or 3 water is to blame.  It will also allow a much larger volume of air to flow into the cavity to facilitate drying.  If the water was very deep or sat for a long time, the flood cut might have to be made at 4’ ½”.

The height of the flood cuts, are intended to make the re-installation of drywall much easier.  In the event of a serious flood where the water was very deep or it sat for an extended duration while wet, the walls may need to be removed completely.