What happens if your Water Damage isn't mitigated right away?

 
Mopping up water damage

When a water issue is initially discovered, many homeowners will try to clean it up themselves not realizing that it’s often the moisture you don’t see and can’t access that is the biggest issue. As a result, it’s not uncommon for us to be contacted days, weeks, or months later after they notice some additional staining or an unpleasant odor.

Unfortunately, by this time, the project can be quite a bit more complicated and require additional steps to do right.

There could be Mold

Mold can begin to develop in as little as 2 or 3 days, so the longer your home is wet, the higher the potential for mold issues. Surfaces don’t need to be soaking wet either, as mold actually prefers a damp or moist environment. So the little bit of moisture that was able to wick into a wall cavity, or got trapped between layers of flooring is more than enough to encourage mold to develop in these areas.

Wall and ceiling cavities are an even bigger potential concern because the moisture trapped in these cavities will repeatedly evaporate and condense on surfaces. This allows moisture to travel further, wick into more building materials, and create a microclimate that is ideal for mold to develop. You may have built a terrarium in school, and it’s a great example of what occurs inside wet wall and ceiling cavities. Just as you saw moisture condensing and beading up on the inside of your terrarium, the same occurs inside your wall and ceiling cavities, which can cause significant water and mold damage in a short period of time.

The path of moisture may be harder to follow

As a mitigation company, one of our primary responsibilities is to trace the path of moisture to determine the extent of damage and what surfaces will need to be dried. If mitigation services are delayed, or you attempted to dry it yourself, the path of moisture can be much harder to follow. It’s not uncommon, for instance, for us to find that moisture had traveled to and wicked into floor or wall surfaces on the other side of the room or in adjoining spaces. As a result, we must spend much more time taking moisture readings and determining the true extent of moisture damage.

Additional steps or precautions may be necessary

As a result of the potential mold concerns, as well as the possibility that moisture traveled further, additional investigative steps, tearout, and precautions such as proper containment of the area prior to work beginning may be necessary. For example, if enough time has passed to allow for mold growth, we may need to contain the work area before accessing these cavities or beginning the tearout to ensure that mold spores aren’t able to contaminate adjoining rooms during our work. While it’s possible that we may open up these cavities to find that there’s no mold growth yet, there’s no way for us to know until after these cavities are accessed and by then it would be too late. Due to the risk of opening up these cavities and releasing mold spores into living spaces and contaminating other areas of your home a proper containment should be in place prior to performing any of this work.

Similarly, additional tearout may also now be necessary, as building components that may have been able to be dried previously may now be too damaged. This is particularly true of drywall, which can lose its structural integrity if allowed to remain wet for too long. As a result, tearout and the subsequent repairs may be more extensive and costly.

It may require more time to confirm coverage with your Insurance Company

Even though your Insurance Company may have opened a claim for you, that doesn’t mean that they are covering the work necessary. Your Insurance Company will need to review what occurred as well as your policy language and policy coverages to determine what will ultimately be covered and how we can proceed. Often, your Insurance Company may decline to cover additional steps that may now be necessary such as a proper containment to prevent cross-contamination of mold spores, the mold remediation work, or additional tearout. As a result, and in an effort to protect you, we may need to review your claim with your Insurance Adjuster and request additional authorizations before the work can begin.

This can create an additional delay, as it can take your Insurance Adjuster some time to review and provide the necessary authorizations. Some Insurance Adjusters that don’t fully understand building construction or the mitigation industry may take longer to approve this work or may refuse to authorize anything additional until after the work is done. This could mean that the insured may not know if the insurance company is paying for the work until well after the work has already been performed. We understand that you’re likely going to want to know who is ultimately paying for the work before it begins, which is why we work so hard to try to get the necessary authorizations prior to beginning the project.

Water and moisture will continue to do damage until it’s properly dried, which is why it’s so important to have a Professional Mitigation and Restoration Company address these issues as quickly as possible. We understand that sometimes this just doesn’t happen for a variety of reasons, and we’re always ready and willing to assist with Water Damage and Mold issues no matter when you call us.

If you have a Water Damage or Mold issue in your home, please don’t hesitate to Contact Our Offices, we’re happy to help.

"We're Here for You" ®

Interested in older news stories? Please see our Archive.