We've all heard of contractor horror stories from remodeling to fixing a pipe. Just like any other trade industry, it's important to ensure that your Water Damage Restoration contractor is professional, experienced and certified and that you as the homeowner or property manager are armed with the following when identifying red flags:
- Admitting or Denying Fault: Most contractors are quick to either excuse themselves from the
problem or simply throw themselves under the bus. My advice here is
simple. Lead forward with facts, not opinions, and be as helpful as
possible. Whether you as the contractor are at fault or not, how you
respond can determine negligence which carries a far greater consequence
than just the cost of clean up and repairs.
- Using your hand as a
moisture meter: Far too many times I’ve witnessed a contractor walk up to
a wall, place his or her hand on it, and tell me whether or not that
material is dry. First of all, every building material contains moisture.
We’re specifically concerned with materials that contain more than their
equilibrium moisture constant (EMC). Determining equilibrium moisture
constant is as simple as surveying unaffected materials of the same
composition to identify how much moisture they usually hold. For leeward
sides this can be very low, for windward sides this can be very high. That
is why we use a meter to establish both the presence of moisture and our
EMC that we’re drying to.
- Assuming all Wet Building Materials Must be Removed – FALSE! Provided that the water originates from a clean source and drying starts quickly, most building materials can be saved and even dried in place. As restorers we're specifically concerned with three main issues regarding salvageability:
- Was the source of the water relatively free of pathogens (I.e. water supply line, not sewer backup)? If so, then we’ve mitigated a majority of health concerns. Please be aware that building materials affected with clean water can be rendered unsalvageable if they remain wet for too long. This allows pathogens to begin to grow.
- Is the material cosmetically damaged from the water? If so, it’s usually more cost effective to remove and replace
- Can we dry the
material? 95% of building materials can be dried.
- Opening up windows
speeds up drying – In other areas of the world, this is a maybe but
in Hawaii it's a No. In a normal drying system your hoping to create
air that is “thirsty” or air that has more capacity to hold moisture in it
than the building materials that are wet. If we were in Arizona, the
normal air outside will usually do the trick. Here in Hawaii a majority of
our air has spent a long time hovering over the ocean collecting moisture
before it crosses over our islands. There’s only one good solution.
Dehumidifiers. A dehumidifier is the only thing that can reduce the
moisture content of the air fast enough to prevent adverse secondary
conditions (mold) from forming.
- Assuming I can dry this by myself – In most cases, I would argue no. Like normal tradesmen, our technicians undergo a rigorous combination of classroom and on-the-job training to reach a level of proficiency (a.k.a. journeyman status) where we will allow them to be responsible for running their own jobs. This is why I always advise folks to simply pick up the phone and call. I’ll admit some smaller projects can be handled by anyone with limited building knowledge. If you’ve never installed an angle stop, or ran a new switch leg you’re probably at least going to call your plumber/electrician buddy for some advice before trying it on your own. I’d guess in that phone call, there’s a 50% chance they talk you out of it and end up doing the work for you. Restoration is no different.
When in doubt, call the professionals at Premier Restoration Hawaii. We provide 24/7 emergency response from a team of experts who know what they're doing and truly care about our customers.
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