If you’ve suffered flooding or other major water intrusion in your home, the damages can be extensive. Getting rid of the excess water quickly is your primary goal to avoid the growth of toxic mold. After that, your next priority is salvaging any items that were affected.
While it may not be possible to restore everything, there are some things that can be cleaned up effectively. Some can be done yourself, while others may need to be professionally cleaned or restored.
Restore or Replace?
Depending on the extent of damage, you may be able to save some things that were damaged by water in your home. Whether to repair, restore, or replace them is a decision only you can make. Your decision should factor in the value (monetary and sentimental), amount of damage, cost of repairs versus replacement, and expected outcome.
The costs of water damage remediation and restoration may be covered by your insurance policy. If so, they may have limits and restrictions on coverage to damaged furnishings. That’s an additional element to consider in your decision on whether to repair or replace them.
Cleaning Items after Water Damage
Here are some suggestions on ways to repair or restore the water-damaged furnishings.
Your floors and carpets get the brunt of the water that invaded your home. The key is removing as much standing water as you can as soon as possible. Otherwise, mold and mildew will begin to grow, further complicating the restoration process.
Depending on the flooring materials, the method of doing this may differ. It’s not only excess water that causes mold and mildew; the ingrained dirt can contribute as well. So, it’s important to also thoroughly clean the surfaces.
- Wood floors. After you’ve extracted as much surface water as possible from the floor, you’ll need to scrub them thoroughly. Use a stiff brush with a mild detergent and disinfectant to remove all dirt and grime. Treat minor moldy areas with TSP (trisodium phosphate) or TSP substitute mixed with water.
Rinse the floor with clear water, removing all cleaning solutions. Allow to dry thoroughly with the largest and most powerful fans you have. If possible, open doors and windows to increase air flow and circulation.
Sometimes water can cause cupping to form on wood floors. If this is the case, you may be able to sand down minor cupping. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to nail down the boards that have lifted up.
- Laminate floors. Because laminate flooring, or “faux wood” floors, are made from wood pulp, it is much more porous than hardwood. The damage to laminate cannot be reversed after serious water damage. You’ll need to replace the damaged flooring.
If only part of the floor is damaged, you can replace individual boards, if the floor is fairly new. If it’s been a few years since it was installed, new boards may not match, so complete floor replacement is necessary.
- Vinyl floors. Water can seep underneath the flooring, weakening the adhesive and causing the floors to buckle. This cannot be repaired; the only recourse is to replace the damaged sections of the floor.
- Ceramic tile. Water can seep into the subfloor beneath the tiles, causing them to lift up from it. Sometimes, the tiles will crack because of this. If the tiles are intact, you can pry them away from the floor, clean them, then re-install over the dry subfloor.
- Carpeting. Whether or not you can effectively clean carpets and rugs after water damage occurs depends on the type of material they are made of. If they are smaller area rugs that are washable, that’s an easy solution; just throw them in the washing machine. However, larger area rugs and wall-to-wall carpeting usually require special cleaning.
Suction out as much water as possible using a wet/dry vacuum. Circulate the air with fans and open windows, if possible. If not, a dehumidifier can help remove moisture from the air. When carpeting is completely dry, vacuum and shampoo, repeating the drying process. If musty odors remain, sprinkle baking soda on the dry carpet, rub it in, and allow to sit overnight before vacuuming.
- Furniture. Your furniture can be composed of a variety of different materials.
- Wood: Water absorbed into wood can cause it to warp. If that happens, you’ll need to completely sand down the swollen part so it’s even with the undamaged sections, then sand the entire surface.
- Cloth and upholstery. If the water that’s damaged these porous materials was clean (i.e., does not contain sewage or toxic materials), you can use cleaners that are appropriate for the materials. Some materials are dry-clean-only, requiring professional cleaning. Depending on the cost of the cleaning against the cost to replace the item, you’ll need to decide on the best solution.
- Leather. Water can be wiped away from leather surfaces but may discolor them. These can be treated with over-the-counter leather restoring products. If the water has seeped into furniture joists and warped or rusted them, the item will probably need to be replaced.
DIY or Hire a Pro?
If you’re thinking that this is a lot of work to do on your own, you’re absolutely right! Instead of tackling this yourself, why not get help from the professionals at PureOne Services of Central Minnesota?
We not only clean up the water from flooding, we’ll restore all your possessions to their pre-damaged condition, if at all possible.