A moisture survey is essential to discovering the extent of the affected areas once the obvious affected wet materials and water has been removed. Once the standing water has been removed it is important to recognize what contents and building materials have been affected.
This can be determined by performing a moisture survey. The human sense of touch is not affective in determining which of the building materials are wet. Drywall/Sheetrock is a perfect example of a surface that can be saturated, yet your hand will not feel it. For this reason, we use moisture detectors/moisture meters.
Moisture detectors and moisture meters are extremely sensitive and will be affective in finding wet materials. There are two basic types of moisture detectors; 1. A probe type (with two pins) these units are designed to be inserted into the surfaces being tested. Once inserted these meters will give a reading and/or audible warning to indicate the level of moisture in a surface. The problem with this design is that they leave pin holes which may need to be repaired. 2. A non-destructive Moisture detector. This type of unit has a sensing surface that measures the moisture content in materials by reading density. Typically, these units are more expensive and leave little too know trace on surfaces being tested. More expensive models offer more accurate readings which will not be necessary for this application.
Contents testing can be done by using your moisture detector in the same way as described above.
For porous Items like beddingand sofas a probe type moisture detector will be more affective for locating wet areas that may be absorbed deeper into the cushion component and may not be noticeable on the surface.
Building material(s) testing is necessary to map and mark wet materials. Starting at the epicentre of the water damaged, all finished wall surfaces including baseboards need to be measures for moisture content. Do this by starting at the bottom of the wall and move the moisture detector up the wall until the moisture meter drops to a normal moisture content level (the difference between wet materials and dry materials will be extreme) once you’ve established where on the wall it reads normal moisture content mark the top of the wick line using a painters tape; Repeat this step every 6” through the entire affected areas. Make sure to include inside closets and in adjacent rooms where walls are common to wet walls. Even if the flooring is not wet in an adjacent room it is common that frame plates, drywall and baseboard will be affected as water will migrate around wall and follow the bottom framing plates.
A completed moisture survey provides a visually marked map showing which materials are affected. This is a road map as to what needs to be dried and will help you determine what type and the number of pieces of drying equipment will be needed to affect drying.
Important Note: Drywall/Sheetrock is very absorbent, therefore drywall/sheetrock and even wallboard that sits in standing water can wick moisture (capillary action) right up to the ceiling if de-watering procedures are not performed in a timely manor.