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What Happens To Building Materials When Wet?

11/14/2022 (Permalink)

warped flooring Flooring warped by water

What To Do About Wet Building Materials

When a water loss occurs in your Raleigh, NC home or business, you want to know that your building materials are safe. It's our job to prevent damage to your property and belongings, but we also want you to understand how each material is affected by water.

One of the most common questions we hear when we talk to our customers is "What happens to building materials when they get wet?" The answer depends on the material and its condition. Let's take a look at what can happen to wood, concrete, drywall, finished wood, and the supporting structure when water enters your building.

Wood

Wood has a moisture content called MCF (moisture content). When wood absorbs water, it swells and loses strength. This can also cause warping or splitting depending on how much moisture is absorbed by the wood. 

Wood can be saved or it can need to be replaced. Dry wood will shrink back to its original size and shape, but if it is left too wet for too long, the wood will swell and may need to be replaced. To save your wood furniture, place it in an area with good airflow and keep it there until the moisture has evaporated.

Concrete

Concrete tends not to absorb significant amounts of moisture from water damage events, so it's less likely than other materials to see any significant damage. 

Drywall

The drywall product is made from sheets of paper covered with a gypsum plaster mix that is pressed between two pieces of wood, one on each side. When wet, this mixture will deteriorate quickly, but if it’s dried out within 24 to 48 hours it will be just fine. Drywall loses its paper but the gypsum board can be dried and saved. No need to replace it at all!

Finished Wood

When finished wood such as cabinets and hardwood floors are exposed to moisture, they can swell. This can cause them to warp, crack, split and peel. In some cases, it may be necessary to remove and replace these materials altogether:

  • Cabinets can be removed from their baseboards and walls if they show signs of damage or if they're simply too damaged to repair. New cabinets may need to be custom-made by a qualified contractor in order to fit properly into existing openings (which will likely have been slightly altered from water damage). The good news is that once new cabinets are installed, you can use the same hardware on them as your old ones for a seamless transition into your new space!
  • Flooring that has been warped by water damage should be removed as soon as possible so it doesn't continue warping even more over time—and potentially create cracks between boards that could allow insects or vermin access into your home's interior walls later down the road!

The Supporting Structure

The supporting structure of your home, the studs, joists, and sill plates, can remain intact. The studs and joists may be covered with drywall or other building materials on both sides of the studs. In some cases, they are only covered on one side with a layer of wood or metal trim. The sill plate is often covered by flooring material such as carpet or hardwood floors. The drywall will help to keep moisture out of those areas even though it doesn't always prevent water from entering the space between the insulation and studs/joists (as long as there isn't significant damage).

The Professionals Can Help

No matter the size of your building materials, we can help. Our equipment is designed to mitigate the damage to all of your building materials during a water loss. This means that you will get far more value out of your investment than if you went with any other company in town.

If you’re ready to work with people who care about restoring your property just as much as you do, then call SERVPRO of Southwest Raleigh/ Holly Springs today. 

How Do I Protect My Business From Fire Disaster?

10/10/2022 (Permalink)

People escaping through an exit door The most important thing you can do to protect your business is to train your employees.

Protecting Your Business from Fire Damage

The best way to protect your business from a fire disaster is to prepare for it first. If you have employees, include them in the discussion and make sure they understand their roles during a fire emergency. Then make sure you have the right insurance coverage in place so that if there's ever a problem with your property or operations as a result of an unexpected fire, you're covered.

Plan and Practice

Practice, practice, practice is what the experts say, and the same is true when it comes to fire disaster preparation:

  • Practice fire drills.
  • Practice evacuation plans.
  • Practice fire extinguishing.
  • Test the fire alarm system monthly and inspect it every year; make sure to test smoke detectors as well as heat detectors, which are often combined into one device.
  • If you have any questions about maintenance or inspection of your systems, contact an expert at your local hardware store or home improvement center to help identify any issues with your alarms before they become a problem

Purchase and Maintain an Alarm System

One of the most effective ways to protect your business is by installing an alarm system. These systems can be expensive, but they are a good investment and provide peace of mind for both your employees and customers.

An alarm system will sound when there's smoke or fire in the building, alerting everyone to get out safely before it spreads. It may also contain sprinklers in case of a fire; these will prevent damage from spreading by putting out the flames as soon as possible.

Install Fire Sprinklers

Sprinklers are a good investment. They reduce the fire damage to your building and can even help save lives. Sprinkler systems are also much more cost-effective than other methods of protection, like smoke alarms or fire extinguishers.

That’s why it’s so important to have sprinklers installed in all areas of your building, including hallways and stairwells if applicable.

Keep Exits Clear

You should also make sure that your business has a clear exit plan that everyone in the company knows about. In case of fire, people need to be able to get out quickly and without hesitation. If there's a fire drill or safety meeting, review your evacuation plan with everyone so they can know what to do in the event of an emergency.

If you have employees who use elevators for their work in the building, ensure that all employees are able to access the stairwell in case of an emergency. 

Train Employees

The most important thing you can do to protect your business is to train your employees. You should make sure they know how to recognize the signs of a fire and what steps they need to take if one breaks out. This training should be regular and ongoing, since employees may forget over time.

Training topics can include:

  • Preventing fires in the first place
  • How to extinguish a small fire before it spreads
  • How to evacuate safely in case of a major disaster

Identify Documents to Be Saved First

When you have a fire, you will have very little time to react. The most important thing that you need to do is make sure that your critical documents are saved first. Your business is only as good as the records and information stored in it, so make sure that nothing important is lost during this disaster. This would include: 

  • Business licenses and permits
  • Contracts with clients
  • Accounts payable/receivable (checkbooks)

Maintain an Offsite Backup for Critical Documents and Data

Many businesses overlook the importance of protecting critical data. If you’re not backing up your data, there is a chance that in the event of an emergency you will lose important documents and other information needed to continue operating. To avoid this possibility, it is crucial that you have a backup system in place for all of your files.

You can choose from multiple types of offsite backups: cloud storage or physical storage media such as tapes and drives. When deciding which option to go with, consider how much space you need and whether the service offers automatic backups (or continuous ones). Also, check what kind of protection they offer against natural disasters such as fires.

It is also important to store these backups somewhere that is fireproof and safe from theft or damage from natural phenomena such as floods or earthquakes—a safe deposit box in the bank would be a good place for some people because it's often kept at a high humidity level which helps prevent corrosion on magnetic tapes if any should occur over time due to air exposure during transport between locations where they're used regularly over long periods without being replaced when needed.

Prepare for a Disaster with Insurance Coverage

Insurance coverage is a must and can protect your business in the event of a fire. An insurance policy will cover the cost of repairs, lost income, and other costs associated with a disaster. It may also cover property damage, liability, and workers' compensation should someone be injured on your premises during an incident or fire. You should contact your insurance agent today to discuss their specific policies and what they do or do not offer when it comes to covering these types of disasters.

If you are temporarily closed due to damage from an unexpected event such as a fire then consider purchasing business interruption coverage through your insurance company. This type of policy provides financial protection if you suffer losses related to the delayed opening or early closure due to fire on-premises as well as loss of inventory due to smoke damage caused by the fire itself.

Business owners often face legal action after experiencing a large-scale disaster such as this one which could lead them into courtrooms so consider purchasing legal defense coverage through your provider which will cover any legal expenses incurred while defending yourself against charges stemming from any incident involving this disaster including lawsuits filed by customers who were injured during the incident.

The best way to protect your business is by preparing for a disaster. In the event of an emergency, having the right kind of insurance coverage can help you recover more quickly. It’s also important to have a plan for responding to fires and other disasters that can be triggered by natural causes like lightning strikes or earthquakes. By taking these steps today, you can rest assured that your company will stay strong tomorrow no matter what unexpected challenges may come its way.

Mold Cleanup Tips

8/30/2022 (Permalink)

Measuring tape with mold Mold damage

From time to time, business owners in Boylan Heights, NC, are startled to find they're facing a mold problem. Mold flourishes in moisture, warmth, and darkness, which may make some spaces candidates for mold growth — poorly-ventilated basements or supply and storage rooms, for example.
In dealing with fungus cleanup, several questions are likely top of mind: Should I do the job myself, or bring in professional mold experts? What solutions should I use to clean up mold? What techniques? Here are some rules of thumb:

Do-It-Yourself Mold Cleanup

Consider a DIY cleanup if the moldy area covers fewer than 10 square feet:

  • Check for a plumbing or roof leak that's causing mold. Fix the leak and dry the water-damaged area before attempting any cleanup.
  • Scour mold off hard surfaces with detergent (vinegar, borax, hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, baking soda) and water.
  • Don't use toxic chlorine bleach, which is ineffective on porous surfaces like insulation, drywall, ceiling tiles, and wood. Bleach can't penetrate the deep, extensive root system mold entrenches in porous surfaces.
  • Remove any mold-damaged items and cut out and replace moldy areas, such as ceiling tiles.
  • Invest in an air filtration system to ensure proper air circulation and control moisture and humidity.

Fungus Cleanup Requiring Professional Remediation
Certain circumstances call for advanced remediation techniques. Bring in the services of mold experts, if:

  • The mold covers more than 10 square feet and features large swaths of heavy infestation.
  • The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system appears contaminated (mold is near or on the registers). Turn off the HVAC system to prevent mold from spreading throughout your building.
  • The mold damage results from a sewer backup or other contaminated water, such as street flooding.
  • After heavy rain or a plumbing leak, you smell mold's distinctive musty odor but can't locate its source.

Mold, if left untreated, can lead to property and structural damage. If an infestation is substantial, the fungus cleanup usually requires mold remediation experts with the training and equipment to safely rid your business of mold at its source.

5 Ways To Protect Your Business from Flood Damage

8/25/2022 (Permalink)

Sandbags protecting the neighborhood Stock water barriers such as sandbags.

Prepare For Flood Damage

When you own a business, it's important to be prepared for emergencies of all types. If you know that you live in a flood-prone area such as in Raleigh, NC, then there are some proactive steps you can take to prevent flood damage to your building.

1. Buy Flood Insurance
When you purchased your building, you were informed of the flood risk to your property. If any significant portion of your building is below the base flood elevation, it's a good idea to have flood insurance. Even if flooding isn't common in your area, it can still happen during a stronger than normal storm.

2. Be Careful with Storage
If you do have a basement below your base flood elevation, be very careful about what you store there. If there's any chance of storm damage ruining important documentation or products, find a different place to store those items.

3. Raise Electrical
From your actual electrical panels, sockets, and wiring to your HVAC system, ensure that these aren't installed in areas susceptible to flood damage. Not only does this prevent damage to those electrical components, it's safer for you and your staff. After a flood, work with a water damage restoration company to assess the safety of your building before returning to collect your belongings.

4. Landscape Wisely
Does your landscaper know how to prevent flooding by using native plants? Plants that are native to your area can help drain the soil more effectively and prevent soil erosion.

5. Stock Prevention Items
The greater the risk of frequent flooding, the more prepared you should be. Stock water barriers such as sandbags and other types of absorbent flood barriers to keep water outside. Flood gates might be beneficial for large office complexes. Backup generators keep everyone comfortable if the power goes out.
Preparing for flood damage in advance will make the process of restoring your business smoother so that you can get back to work more quickly.

How To Make a Business Continuity Plan

8/10/2022 (Permalink)

Business Continuity Plan Concept It is importan to have a business continuity design for your company in case of any risk.

Steps for Creating a Business Continuity Plan

Starting a business always comes with risk, and it is important to plan for any risks that are common in your industry. A business continuity plan is designed to help you plan for situations when business operations are disrupted for an extended period of time. Common risks include natural disasters, fires, water damage, and cyber attacks.
A business continuity plan is usually divided into four parts:

  • Business impact analysis
  • Recovery strategies
  • Organization and teamwork
  • Training and testing

This standardized model allows businesses to create comprehensive plans and adapt them to whatever industry they are involved in.

1. Conduct a Business Impact Analysis
You can complete an impact analysis by focusing on the business functions that would be immediately affected by a disaster. If you are not sure how to organize and develop this information, it is a good idea to use a template provided by a reputable source, such as Ready.gov, which is administered by the federal government.

2. Identify Recovery Strategies
Recovery strategies will depend on the industry you are in and the types of events you are planning for. Identify ways to quickly restore vital business functions in the aftermath of a disaster.

3. Use Organization to Develop an Emergency Response Plan
Divide employees into teams and define what each team's responsibilities will be during an emergency. Create plans for relocation if a building becomes unusable during disaster cleanup and restoration.

4. Develop Training and Testing Procedures
Create a training process for new employees and a schedule for reviewing emergency response procedures. Conduct testing to make sure the business continuity plan is meeting the needs of your business.
Following this four-part model will help you create a solid continuity plan for your business in Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant, NC. If your business experiences fire or water damage, contact a professional restoration company to address the issue promptly.

Does Your Business Need a SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile?

7/27/2022 (Permalink)

The Servpro emergency ready profile Your profile can be accessed through the ERP app

The latest research shows that after a disaster, as many as 50% of businesses close their doors permanently. Out of those that do survive, most of them had a disaster preparedness plan ready. When the unexpected happens, having a plan will save you and your staff the time spent trying to figure out what to do. You can begin the restoration process quickly and get back to business. Read on to see if your company would benefit from an emergency profile.

How a Disaster Could Affect Your Business

Your business could potentially experience interruptions caused by events such as:

  • Storm damage
  • Flooding
  • Fire

While it's easy to think major damage couldn't happen to your facility, you need to be prepared for the unexpected. Even minor damage could potentially interrupt your work, costing you time and income.

How an Emergency Profile Will Help After a Disaster
Preparing a disaster profile now will ensure you're ready to handle interruptions as quickly as possible. You and your employees will know what to expect in advance and what to do first. The sooner you begin the mitigation process, the faster you can begin cleanup and restoration, which will help minimize damage.

What a Disaster Profile Contains
A SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile has details about your facility, like shutoff valves and priority areas, that may be critical in the initial phase of a disaster. It also contains the line of command for authorizing restoration work. Your local professional will be identified, giving you a nearby industry leader to take you through the mitigation and restoration process. The profile will also have a guide to help you get back into your building after a disaster, providing you an immediate plan of action to minimize lost work time. Your profile can be accessed through the ERP app.
Before a disaster occurs in N.C. State University, NC, it's best to be prepared with an emergency profile. Knowing what to do right away will save time and money in the long run and let you get back to work.

4 Things That Should Be Tossed After a Fire

7/23/2022 (Permalink)

Blue & white pills medicine the drug expired. The heat from a fire can affect the composition of the chemicals in medicines.

Here Are A Few Things That You Should Always Throw Away

The aftereffects of a fire in your Meredith College, NC, leave visible and nonvisible signs that are hard to miss. While a fire damage and restoration company has the expertise to return your home and many belongings back to preloss condition.

1. Exposed Non-Perishable Food
While it might seem like sealed jars or cans of food are heat- and smoke-resistant, high heat, and fumes may be a catalyst for bacteria to be activated and spoil the food. If located near the fire, the fumes or potential chemicals used to put out the fire may also infiltrate those sealed items. If any containers show visible signs of damage they should be tossed.

2. Perishable Food
Depending on the location of the fire, the refrigerator and freezer may provide enough barrier to protect perishable items even if the power temporarily went out. Even if the refrigerator shows no visible signs, food should be discarded if the fridge or food items have a smoky or strange odor.

3. Cosmetics and Medicine
While these might not seem like items that you will have to throw away, the heat from a fire can affect the composition of the chemicals in medicines, cosmetics, and hygiene products. If stored near where the fire took place, inspect them for signs of damage. If the containers are warped or there are signs of soot, it’s best to play it safe and replace the item.

4. Burned Clothing, Bedding, Mattresses
While experts have the tools and techniques to remove smoke damage from fabrics and textiles, anything that is visibly burned or charred is not salvageable. Along with mattresses, any upholstered furniture should also be inspected. Although wood can be saved, damage to upholstery or mattress may make them unsafe for use.
Dealing with the effects of a fire can be overwhelming. It may be tough to throw away belongings, but it is always best to take the safest course of action.

Top 4 Places Mold Can Hide

7/18/2022 (Permalink)

Mold growth on wall due to humidity Mold growth in Garner, NC.

Four Top Places Mold Can Grow

Mold, like other types of fungus, is different from plants because it doesn’t need sunlight to grow. It prefers dark, damp places that have organic material, such as wood or fabric, as a food source. Here are the top four places mold growth likes to hide, so you can keep an eye out and protect your home.

1. Under the Sink
Pipe leaks and condensation are ideal catalysts for mold. Running hot water can get your dishes clean, but it can also cause humid conditions that mildew loves. Regularly clean out under your sink and wipe down the surfaces with a cleaning solution containing bleach or hydrogen peroxide.

2. Behind Walls and Wallpaper
Mildew can easily grow beneath paneling and wallpaper. Water can seep around bathroom tiles and saturate the wall underneath. Pay attention if you sense a musty smell or see condensation on the walls. Be careful when removing wallpaper on moldy drywall. You don’t want to spread spores through the air.

3. In Basements
Mold growth can be a big issue in these spaces. You may have a leak in your foundation that’s letting moisture in. Pipes and ducts in the basement are common areas where water can build up and lead to mold.

4. In Attics
Heavy storms can damage shingles, soffit vents and gutters, which can let water into your attic. Exhaust from your kitchen or bathroom may vent into the attic, sending moisture and heat to the area. Regularly inspect your attic for signs of damage, such as water-stained storage boxes and mold on wood.
One way to prevent mildew is by reducing the humidity in your house to 30% to 50%, through weatherization methods or a dehumidifier system. Repair leaks quickly and cleans up areas of standing water. If you think you have mold growth in your home, contact a certified mold remediation company in Garner, NC.

2 Signals It’s Time to Call a Restoration Company

6/21/2022 (Permalink)

wooden floor damaged by water Water damage to wooden floor.

Two Signals It’s Time to Call a Restoration Company

As a landlord, water damage in your properties creates the potential losses of investment and high-quality tenants. Therefore, it is essential to take care of any water damage as soon as possible and know when to get help. If you witness either of the following signs, you may need to call a sewer cleanup company to assist you.

1. A Broken Pipe
In Holly Springs, NC, a pipe burst cleanup is an experience dreaded by landlords and tenants alike. If you suspect a pipe has burst but are not sure, be on the lookout for the following:

Misshapen floors: unseen water can seep in between the floorboards and cause them to buckle.
Strange odors: mold, which thrives in dampness, causes musty smells.
Discolored walls: stained or off-colored walls can be an indication that there is a leak somewhere, possibly inside the wall.

Depending on the extent of the damage, cleanup companies can help by pumping out the excess water, removing unsalvageable items, cleaning, sanitizing, and drying. Some will even do any necessary construction.

2. A Severe Storm
Unlike a pipe burst cleanup situation, which may end up soaking your property in mere drinking water, floodwater is likely to be contaminated. Thus, discarding carpet padding, upholstered furniture, and mattresses are best. You will need to reupholster valuable chairs and couches if you want to keep them. Try hosing off muddy plastic, solid wood, or metal pieces but let them dry in the shade since sunlight might cause them to warp. You can also attempt to clean rugs and carpets with a broom and shampoo, then add two tablespoons of bleach to a gallon of water for rinsing.
A restoration company in Holly Springs, NC, can get your business back on track, whether tending to a pipe burst cleanup or pumping out contaminated floodwaters.

Important Fire Safety Tips When Grilling

6/12/2022 (Permalink)

Hand holding a wire brush and cleaning the inside of a grill Clean your grill after use

Outdoor cooking is a staple for many households, but unsafe grilling practices can lead to a fire. Use these helpful tips each time you grill to avoid a barbeque fire in your Wilbon, NC, home.

Understand Charcoal Grill Fire Safety

Charcoal grills are a popular choice for many outdoor barbeques but can be dangerous if not used properly. Practice the following safety protocol when using one.

Wisely use starter fluid when getting the grill warmed up
Never add charcoal fluid or flammable liquids to a fire
Allow charcoal to cool completely after grilling then dispose of in a metal container

Check Propane Grills for Gas Leaks
One of the most dangerous causes of a grill fire can be a gas leak on a propane grill. Before use, always check the gas tank hose for possible leaks.

Keep Grill Away From Flammable Structures
Keep your grill in a spot far enough away from deck railings, overhanging branches, and especially your house. Barbequing close to a house not only increases the risk of a grill fire but can cause smoke damage to the exterior, which can require repairs from a fire damage restoration company.

Keep a Watchful Eye
Your grill should never be unattended from the time you warm it up until it is shut off. Always keep a close eye on your ignited grill.

Clean Grill After Use
To avoid large flames next time you cook, be sure to efficiently clean your grill after each use. Scrape away the fat and grease residue both in the grill grates and in the tray below.
Taking all these precautions each time you fire up the barbeque can be monumental for preventing fire at your Wilbon, NC, home. Practice the right safety measures for your charcoal or gas grill, keep it a distance away from your house, and stay nearby when cooking, and clean after every use.