“How to Prevent Mold from Growing After a Flood in Your Home” part 3 Formulating a Drying Strategy – Mold Prevention

Formulating a drying strategy with a combination of procedures and drying equipment. For carpets lay the materials down flat and in place. Its good practise to spray a surfactant free (non-soap) disinfectant on the carpet backing when possible (do not spray a disinfectant on the face pile). Set up drying fan(s) and dehumidifier(s) as required to affect drying before the carpet has a chance to go sour. Glue-down cushion backed carpets will require more disinfectant than a non glue-down carpet. Because glue downs cannot be removed without ruining them it is important to select a disinfectant that is non surfactant and has a PH level between 7-8.5. This will ensure not to damage the stain-resistant properties of the carpet if they are stain-resistant. Botanical (natural) disinfectants are available and an alternative to regular disinfectants.

Laminate Flooring or engineered hardwoods are not salvageable and should be torn out and disposed of when water damaged. Also, the underlayment that is often used will need to be disposed of as it is not cost affective to salvage and keeping the underlayment in place will compromise efforts to dry the sub-straight/ sub-floor.

Solid Hardwood Flooring materials in some cases can be dried in place. Solid wood will absorb water and as a result swelling often occurs and will continue over the next 30 days, even after dewatering efforts have been completed. An affective drying strategy includes removing baseboards and forcing air under and through the absorption strips (grooves) on the bottom of each plank. This is achieved by using a manifold type system (which are often constructed on site using lumber to custom fit to walls and cabinets etc.) on one end of the hardwood planks at the wall. Air is forced through the absorption strips (grooves) on the bottom of the planks using drying fans or injection drying type air pumps, on the other linear end of the hardwood installation a second manifold is linked to a vacuum pump system and/or an axial fan system, both of which are capable of vacuuming air on the opposite side of the linear installation of the hardwood. Continuing this type of air movement combined with dehumidification will aid the drying of the hardwood and in most cases mitigate damage while limiting expansion, swelling, and cupping of the hardwood.

In most cases refinishing of the hardwood is necessary to restore original appearance and eliminate residual wood deformations.

Tiled Floors Installed on Wood Substrate Can be dried by using dryer fan’s and dehumidifiers. Tiles are usually not affected buy water and do not degrade; therefore, the concern is the wooden substrate that the tiled floor is installed over. The wood can swell when it gets wet and, in some cases, this can cause the tile to become loose in the mortar. Loose tiles may result in grout cracking and crumbling.

Tiled Floors Installed on concrete are amongst the most resilient of all types of floor finishes. Both the tiles and the concrete substrate are resistant to water by nature. Although rare it is possible for tile to become loose in the mortar. This will be noticeable by cracked or crumbled grout.

Standing water should be extracted as soon as possible and dryer fan’s along with dehumidifier’s should be installed to dry the affected areas.

Tiled flooring affected by unsanitary water sources like sewer backup or over land flooding (category-3 water) should be removed for health and safety reasons along with the thin-set/mortar and the substrate should be sanitized.

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