Construction worker fixing wall

Water damage is one of the most devastating things that can happen to your home or building. Whether it’s caused by a weather event or pipes bursting within the walls, water damage can completely destroy the structural integrity of a building, prompting immediate repairs and material replacements. 

In this article, we discuss the various steps involved in water damage restoration and what you can expect throughout the process.  

What is Water Damage Restoration? 

Also referred to as water remediation, water damage restoration is the act of cleaning up and repairing water damage. Water restoration requires several careful steps since, with most materials, water damage cannot be reversed by simply drying it out. Instead, sections of a building may need to be replaced entirely with all new materials to ensure it’s safe to inhabit.  

Signs of Water Damage 

Sometimes, water damage is not obvious. If there is a leak within your walls, you may not know until severe damage has already occurred. Therefore, it’s advantageous to know how to recognize the signs of water damage before more costly repairs are needed.  

Here are some common signs that there is water leaking in your building: 

  • Increased humidity  
  • Mould or mildew growth 
  • Sounds of dripping or running water  
  • Musty smells  
  • Brown stains on walls or ceilings  
  • External damage to the roof 
  • Puddles and pooling water 

What to Do if You Notice Water Damage  

If you’ve experienced a flood in your building or notice any of the signs of water damage mentioned above, then you must act fast to minimize future repairs. Here, we outline the steps you should take when faced with water damage. 

Step 1: Cut Off Water and Power to the Area 

This step may be tricky if you can’t locate the source of the leak. If you’re unsure where the water is coming from, try closing off the water main if possible. If not, you should reach out to a plumber.  

In addition to turning off the water, it’s vital you ensure the safety of everyone in the building by cutting off power to the area too. Ensure you stay away from flooding if the electricity is still on.  

Step 2: Clear the Area 

Have furniture or vital equipment nearby? Make sure to remove anything that has been damaged or may get damaged by leaking water.  

Step 3: Air out The Space 

Open windows, run your HVAC fan or use a dehumidifier to remove as much moisture from the air as possible. This will help curb the growth of mould, bacteria and other harmful organisms.  

Step 4: Call a Water Damage Restoration Service 

The hard work should be left to the professionals. Luckily, many fire and water damage restoration companies offer 24-hour services so they can get started on the damage sooner than later.  

Step 5: Call Your Insurance Provider 

You might be wondering, “does house insurance cover water damage”? Fortunately, the answer is yes in most cases, so contact your insurance company as soon as possible.  

How Long Does Water Damage Restoration Take? 

The time it takes to fully restore and repair your building will depend on the extent of the damage. For example, the damage from a small leak may be repaired within a matter of days or weeks. However, extensive damage may leave you out of your home or workspace for months at a time.  

With water damage, multiple contractors will be needed to fully restore the home. Initially, a restoration company will be there to remove excess water, clear out damaged materials and prepare the building for remodelling. Then, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and painters will be required to work on the structure to restore it to its original glory. 

Once you get the go-ahead from your restoration and insurance companies, you’ll be able to move back in. If a natural disaster caused damage to your home or building, you will also need approval from your local government before safely returning.  

How Structures Are Restored  

Curious about the commercial water damage restoration process? This section gives an overview of what can be done to save as much material as possible.  

How to Restore Water Damaged Wood 

You may have heard that once untreated wood gets wet, it’s no longer salvageable. However, that isn’t always the case. When it comes to structural frames, it may be safest to remove water-damaged wood entirely, but if you have wood furniture you want to save, there is a basic restoration process you can follow.  

First, you’ll want to clean away any mildew or mould from the surface. Then, leave the piece out to sun-dry if possible. Otherwise, airdrying works too, but it may take longer. Next, you’ll want to address any swelling, bubbling or splintering created by water damage. It’s best to cut these pieces out and use wood filler to seal the holes and gaps. Once the filler dries, sand the area and re-stain or re-paint as needed.  

Can Water-Damaged Drywall be Repaired?  

Pieces of drywall that show stains but no evidence of structural damage can be saved. Simply cut away portions of damaged drywall and measure and cut a replacement piece to patch the hole. Then, blend the seams with plaster and sand once dry. Finally, you are ready to paint.  

How to Repair Water-Damaged Stucco 

Like wood and drywall, portions of water-damaged stucco can be cut out and replaced. First, you’ll want to make sure you use a stucco mix that matches your current exterior. Then, simply follow the mix's instructions and apply as many coats as necessary.  

Get in Touch with a Commercial or Residential Restoration Expert 

When faced with any type of structural damage, it’s best to contact a restoration expert to help get your repairs started swiftly, safely and efficiently.  

West Coast Building Restoration offers leak investigation, waterproofing and water damage restoration services for all types of buildings throughout BC. Contact our team today with any questions you may have about our services.