This time of year the weather can be quite unpredictable. Flash floods and excessive rain or melting snow can cause your home to flood when you least expect it. Sometimes you don’t even know you have a plumbing leak inside your walls until it’s too late and there is damage to the sheetrock, flooring and insulation.
Mold is not only dangerous for your family’s health, but it will continue to get worse if you do not take care of it correctly, so it’s important to deal with it right away. Sometimes mildew can even develop simply from humid air remaining trapped indoors for long periods of time (in a basement, for instance). Flood damage is one of the most horrible experiences a homeowner can go through. Not only do you lose meaningful household items, but you are left with a huge mess of destroyed walls and flooring and sometimes lose irreplaceable items.
So where to start?
Hiring the correct companies to remove mildew and mold is crucial. A reputable company will test the mold and damaged areas first to see if it is toxic and needs abatement. Abatement is simply a controlled removal of the toxin that protects your family and the removal workers and does not allow the toxic material to spread to other areas. Mold is like a virus that can spread easily, so getting it removed correctly and completely ensures it will not return and spread back into those areas again or worse, infect your family and other areas of your home.
When the mildew has been completely removed, a contractor will need to come in and remove the damaged items, portions of the walls to chemically treat the worst of it, replace the damaged areas removed with new, spackle and paint the newly installed walls, and install new flooring if needed. Of course, you will need to re-paint and finish off the newly installed sheetrock as well.
If you are dealing with flood damage and insurance companies, they will have to come in and access the damage incurred prior to removal of the damaged areas or items. They will get quotes for the repair work to be completed, or may ask you to do so. Make sure they include the replacement cost of all your lost items, such as furniture, tables or cabinetry, but also remember to point out lost clothing, photos and artwork as well. Everything you’ve lost will have some kind of replacement value, even if it doesn’t fully cover the sentimental value. You do not have to use the contractors they get quotes from to complete the work, however, and should get at least two additional quotes from reputable local contractors.
When hiring any contractor, always be sure to check their references, make sure their license and insurance are current, and call your local consumer affairs office to make sure they have a good reputation and track record.