When you own a commercial warehouse that's been damaged in a flood or fire, you need to take action to restore the work area as soon as possible. Water damage from a broken pipe, severe flood, or fire requires professional remediation to recover after the event. Professional water damage teams can quickly assess the problems your warehouse faces, and will work to remove any remaining water that can pose health and safety risks down the road. So if you're facing the prospect of water damage restoration in your commercial warehouse, there are a few things to expect from the process.
Inspection and Assessment
A water damage team will inspect all areas that have been penetrated by moisture, and assess the integrity of structural elements. Water and humidity can easily penetrate areas that are unseen, causing the threat of mold growth or structural decay down the road, so a complete inspection is performed at the start.
Professional restoration teams may also take swabs and samples of material to determine if mold growth has started. Mold growth can initiate only 48 hours after water damage, so it's crucial to take samples of any area that can be suspected of harboring damp conditions.
Removal, Recovery, and Rebuilding
Restoration depends on the extent of damages, the type of damages, and whether your structure needs repair. The type of damages can be broken down into categories that will help to prioritize the recovery effort:
- Water Only: Water only problems can require as little as extensive drying, damp materials removal, and structural repair or replacement. But water damages can also extend into mold remediation that will require materials isolation and removal, as well as extensive surface disinfecting and structural treatment.
- Fire/Water: Fire conditions that where extinguished with water will require the same procedures as water treatments, only burned materials will be removed completely before water removal begins.
- Sewage, Chemical, or Biological Contamination: Water damage that comes with extra contaminants requires removal, disinfecting, and thorough recovery using personal protective gear. Contaminants have to be isolated, removed, and eliminated from remaining structural elements with exceptional care and attention.
Generally, any porous material that's been damaged beyond the ability to dry, or ones that are contaminated must be thrown away. Hard and nonporous surfaces can often be wiped, dried, and treated with a disinfectant or detergent that remove any biological contaminants or threats. Some building elements and inventory may be kept, depending on the extent of damage and ability to dry completely—both of which have to be determined by an expert.
Testing and Analysis
After the heart of the recovery has taken place, which can anywhere from hours to weeks, further testing using surface swabs for mold may be performed. This is commonly done if any area has tested positive initially for mold, so that you can know if the threat remains or has been eliminated. Mold spores travel easily, so surfaces will often be analyzed before and after cleanup to make sure unseen damages don't get left behind.