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The What and How of Secondary Water Damage

11/7/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage The What and How of Secondary Water Damage Houston,TX water damage due to supply line from refrigerator broke

Most homeowners, when their homes become the victim of a natural disaster, broken pipe or backed up septic tank, assume that once the water is gone so too is the danger. This is far from the case. If a water peril has not been sufficiently cleaned and dried out by a professional Houston,TX, water damage restoration team, the home in which the peril occurs may fall victim to secondary damage, such as black mold.

The What of Secondary Water Damage

Secondary water damage is often much costlier and damaging that primary water damage, which includes wet drywall, carpet and anything else that acme into direct contact with the initial water source. Some examples of secondary water damage include the following:

  • Cracked and sagging plaster or sheetrock
  • Buckling hardwood floors
  • Peeling vinyl
  • Damaged finish to fixed structures
  • Colonization of mold

Each of the above issues can be costly and severely affect the integrity of a home. For these reasons and more, water damage should always be treated immediately and, if possible, by a trained professional.

The How of Secondary Water Damage

Secondary damage such as block mold typically occurs when a homeowner fails to act quickly to remediate a water peril. Below are a few common causes of secondary water damage:

  • High humidity that results as cleanup procedures or efforts that are inadequate to the home's size and rate of evaporation
  • A water incident that was not cleaned up in a timely fashion, that was left undiscovered for a lengthy period of time or that was not effectively cleaned by a professional
  • Damage that was missed during the initial assessment and therefore not cleaned

In short, secondary water damage occurs as the result of inadequate and/or untimely cleanup efforts. You can prevent secondary issues such as black mold from arising and retain the health and integrity of your home by contacting your local water damage restoration team as soon as possible after discovering the incident. Your swift response can save you time, money and headache.

Preparing Your Business for High Winds

11/7/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Preparing Your Business for High Winds Prepare your Spring Valley,TX building with emergency items

Preparing Your Business for High Winds

If you're a business owner in Spring Valley,TX, you know how important it is to be prepared for high winds and the possibility of hurricane damage. Taking the proper precautions could save you thousands of dollars in repair costs and lost work time. Consulting with a good storm restoration company and following the steps below should go a long way towards keeping everything safe and secure.

1. Building Preparation

If possible, make some modifications in advance. Have the roof of your building inspected to make sure that it can withstand the effects of a severe storm, and have shutters installed. Make sure all utilities such as gas tanks or water heaters are secured and raised up above floor level to minimize any possible water damage. Filing cabinets and bookcases should be anchored to wall studs, and other equipment should be secured with Velcro or straps. Inspect the outside of the building for trees that might fall over. This advance work should go a long way towards preventing hurricane damage.

In the time leading up to a hurricane's landfall, take steps to further secure the building by boarding up any otherwise unprotected windows and doors with plywood. Place sandbags around any areas that might be susceptible to flooding. Remove any valuables to a safe location, and turn off all utilities.

2. Secure Important Info and Documents

In a secure place, maintain a list that includes all contacts relevant to your business, including lawyers, suppliers, employees and banks. Important documents, like insurance papers, tax documents and contracts, should be backed up and readily available in an offsite location. Documents that are going to remain in the building should be kept in waterproof containers.

3. Be Prepared for Disaster

Keep an inventory of emergency preparedness items on hand in case you or your employees are not able to leave the building. This includes items such as:

  • Pillows and blankets
  • First aid kits
  • Flashlights
  • Battery-operated TVs or radios
  • Tool kits
  • Generators

It's always a good idea to plan well in advance of a severe storm. With good preparation, you'll have a much better chance of keeping safe and avoiding major hurricane damage.

Content Cleaning: The Basics

11/7/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Content Cleaning: The Basics Cleaning fire damage content in Hilshire Village,TX

Content Cleaning

If you are facing fire damage or wonder what it would entail if you ever had to face it, you may be researching what content cleaning is. Maybe you did not even know that smoke-damaged content could be salvaged. As it turns out, many items can be saved - even your clothes can usually be renovated through dry-cleaning. Here are three services that many fire damage restoration specialists offer to help you reclaim your most prized possessions in Hilshire Village,TX.

1. Ultrasonic Technology

Ultrasonic cleaning uses a combination of either water or a cleaning solvent and ultrasound technology to clean contents. This is typically the solution used for non-porous items after being exposed to a fire. The end result depends on how soiled the object was to begin with.

2. Content Storage

A fantastic company will offer you options for storing your home’s contents after a fire strikes. They may even offer to assist you with your move-out and pack-out needs or aid you in inventorying your valuables. A good team of technicians will want to help you through this stressful and emotional time.

3. Dry-Cleaning

Many services use this to restore clothing items soiled by light residue left over from a fire. If the clothes are more heavily soiled, wet cleaning may be used instead. Finding a company dedicated to restoring your items rather than replacing them is key.

The services mentioned above are just a few examples of the types of help available from remediation companies; some offer document restoration, electronics repair or even immersion processes. Now that you know what options are out there, it is time to do some digging. Contact your local Hilshire Village,TX, fire damage service to see if they offer dry-cleaning or other solutions to help you. There are enough offerings available that you can find a way back to normalcy in a fairly short period of time.

Understanding Fire Damage Restoration

11/5/2018 (Permalink)

Understanding Fire Damage Restoration

Fire damage is one of the most devastating and inconvenient losses a home or business owner can suffer. Whether it's home or commercial fire damage, the best way to deal with such a tragedy is to act quickly to start fire restoration. Fire restoration should occur as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more damage will set in, and the less likely you will be to restore your property to its original glory.

How Damage Occurs

Initially, there will be soot damage that stains hard smooth surfaces such as alabaster, marble and plastics. It left un-removed, the soot damage will eventually cause deep staining which could permanently mar your furniture and appliances. If left unattended, deep staining will become permanent and change the appearance of your walls, floors and appliances forever. If you act too late or not at all, or if the fire in the home was very extensive, corrosion will set in.

Ideally, a commercial fire restoration company should be onsite initiating fire cleanup as soon as the fire is put out.

How the Fire Cleanup Process Works

If for any reason you are unable to hire a fire damage restoration team, there are a few steps you can take to get the fire damage restoration process underway yourself.

The first thing you'll need to do is don the proper attire. You'll need protective clothing included but not limited to a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and a pair of gloves. Use a surgical mask or bandana to cover your nose and mouth from smoke damage.

After you've appropriately dressed, open all the doors and windows. It's important to have as much ventilation as possible to prevent further smoke damage, soot damage and other airborne chemicals. If you have ceiling or stand-alone fans, use them. This will also provide minor relief from smoke smell. However, you'll ultimately need to use a lot of disinfectants, sprays and deodorizers to control the smoke smell and reduce the smell of home or commercial fire damage. Even then, the results will be far from perfect. Some smoke damage smells will remain.

Now, it's time to clean everything. Every surface after a fire in home or fire in business needs to be cleaned. This includes light fixtures, carpets, exterior and any individual items that require fire cleanup from the effects of commercial fire damage after fire in business.

For textiles such as carpets and clothing, fire cleanup requires having them professionally dry cleaned or washed at home with a gentle alkaline detergent as an initial step towards fire damage restoration. Vacuum carpets after a fire in business with a high-powered vacuum cleaner to remove soot damage and smoke smell. Exterior surfaces like stone, stucco, brick and siding should be cleaned with a pressure washer and light detergent.

The Professional Cleaning Process

As stated earlier, trying to restore your home yourself should only be done in a worst case scenario where you can't get a professional company soon enough. If you wish to make your home or business inhabitable again, you will inevitably need to hire a commercial fire restoration company to address the fire damage.

Once you do, they will begin their process by surveying the damage caused by the fire in home or fire in business. They will examine all the damage left by the fire and provide you an estimate of how much it will cost to repair it. They will then go to work ventilating, removing odors and cleaning.

If they do not have the equipment necessary to give something the cleaning it needs, they will haul it off to a facility where it can be cleaned by professionals who specialize in fire damage.

Also, you won't have to worry about masking odors any longer once you get a professional company involved. They use state-of-the art ozone technology that is only available to professionals.

Doing fire damage restoration after a fire in your home or commercial fire damage your living is a very arduous, costly and time-consuming project. It is not a job to attempt to complete by yourself. Get a professional address smoke smell, smoke damage and fire damage. Visit for more information on fire damage.

Working with insurance in storm damage

11/5/2018 (Permalink)

Regular life is stressful enough, but if you are surprised with flooding or other water damage in your home, everyone in the household will be stressed. Whether Houston flood damage leaves carpeting soaked and soggy or you have come back to a disaster after evacuation, severe weather and damaged pipes will cause significant worry about how to start putting back together your daily life.

However, you can prepare for these unknowns by knowing what to expect and create a plan in case of emergency. To assist you, SERVPRO Town & Country has put together this mini-guide to help you understand the flood insurance claim process.

The first thing you will want to do is call your insurance provider. Although the U.S. government funds the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), local home and rental insurance companies are the exclusive sellers of Flood Damage Insurance. While you will be working directly with an insurance agent, SERVPRO can also serve as a liaison, helping you to navigate through the claims process.

After your initial call to your insurance company, contact your Town & Country SERVPRO. We are available every day, all day, to handle your emergencies. Even if you are not able to reach your insurance agent immediately, SERVPRO will take your call and begin to work with you on first response remediation solutions. Have questions about what to do first or what items can be restored? SERVPRO is here to answer those questions and more. Our compassionate team understands your distress and will guide you through the storm damage restoration process.

Now you can begin your water damage restoration. We pride ourselves on having the fastest response time to storm damage in your area. We will arrive at your home prepared to conduct an inspection and moisture readings, create a scope of the damage and provide an estimate for you and your insurance provider. Our team will arrive prepared and ready to start immediately. Using our dedicated SERVPRO Claims Information Center (CIC) we can store and access your information easily and quickly.

Our SERVPRO team members are the premier flood and water damage restoration experts in Town & Country and surrounding neighborhoods. We are also the preferred remediation team for home insurance providers, and the most trusted helper for Houston storm disasters. Storm damage restoration and navigating flood insurance claims can feel stressful, but we are here to assist you with every stage of the recovery process.

For emergencies and other situations, call 713-461-2700  anytime to reach your area flood damage experts, SERVPRO The Woodlands and Conroe. We help residential and commercial property owners when natural disasters, water damage, sewer backups, floods, mold infestations, fires and other events happen.

Water Leaks Are the Most Common Business Loss – Are You Prepared?

10/2/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Water Leaks Are the Most Common Business Loss – Are You Prepared? Pipe break on commercial property in Hillshire Village, TX

Believe or not, but water from damaged pipes is one of the main causes of business loss. Leaking pipes, if they go undetected, can wreak havoc on a building's structure and eventually, its contents. For this reason, it is important that your Hilshire Village,TX, building is covered in the event of a water loss. When shopping for a policy, look for the following types of coverage:

  • Coverage for flooding
  • Coverage for damage caused by sudden events
  • Damage to fire protected systems
  • Cost to tear out and repair building components

The above items are typically covered, though flood damage typically requires you to have a rider flood insurance policy. Damage caused by sudden events, however, is almost always covered if caused by suddenly damaged pipes or a sewage backup. Like every type of insurance policy, however, there are exclusions.

Common Exclusions for Water Damage Policies

When shopping for a water damage policy, it is important that you read the fine print, as it is not uncommon for policies to include wording that excludes what one might think is a covered peril. For instance, many water damage policies exclude the following damages:

  • Those caused by slow leaks
  • Leaks caused by freezing
  • Mold damage

Unfortunately, if a leak has been present for a certain period of time, and if it causes structural damage or mold growth, neither the structural damage nor the mold growth will likely be covered. Additionally, if you live in an area prone to freezing, damage caused by burst pipes caused by freezing will not likely be covered either.

Water damage is one of the most common losses business owners face, yet many are unprepared for such an event. This is typically because they do not read the fine print before purchasing a policy. If you want to ensure that you're covered for water damage, whether it is caused by damaged pipes or flooding, discuss your unique exposures with your Hilshire Village,TX, water damage remediation company.

What To Expect With a Flood Cut

9/25/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage What To Expect With a Flood Cut Air movers on a flood damage in Bunker Hill Village, TX

What To Expect With a Flood Cut

Perhaps you stumbled across this advice while scanning the internet in a panic as your restoration professional began to punch holes in the drywall. Well, be assured that they are doing exactly what you need if you have experienced flooding in Bunker Hill Village,TX. They are likely beginning a flood cut, which sounds destructive, but is indeed a clever way to save much of your structure because:

  • It allows increased ventilation, reducing moisture in materials that can be salvaged.
  • It prevents the spread of damage since water and moisture can be drawn into other materials or further up your wall.
  • It keeps your home safe by removing biological and chemical contamination that may have been absorbed from flood water.

Certain building materials can be dried and salvaged, but you need to tear out wet drywall and insulation after a major flood. Since this is probably your first time to experience flooding, you may feel reassured to learn the steps for a flood cut:

  1. Floorboards and electrical plates are removed from the drywall.
  2. A mark is made across the wall, about 12-18 inches above the flood line.
  3. A utility knife is used to score the line.
  4. Holes may be punched in the damaged sections of the drywall.
  5. Reaching into the holes, the drywall is pulled and broken along the line.
  6. Wet insulation is removed, and the area is allowed to dry.
  7. An electrician may replace any wiring that was damaged by the flood.
  8. Insulation is replaced.
  9. Replacement drywall is cut and screwed into place.
  10. Drywall is taped and prepared for painting.

Now that you know what to expect, you can trust your professional flood recovery team when they say they need to cut your walls. Be confident that your home is going to quickly be cleaned and restored back to the condition it was in before flooding.

Town & Country Home Care: Safeguarding Your Keepsakes from Water Damage

9/24/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Town & Country Home Care: Safeguarding Your Keepsakes from Water Damage Water Damage Stat: The chance a water heater will leak or burst begins to dramatically increase when it is 5 years old.

Our weather here in the Houston area presents significant challenges to structures. Floods and high winds are common here, and when they strike our neighborhood, water damage in the Memorial area is to be expected. While we cannot control Mother Nature, there are some steps you can take to safeguard your keepsakes before a natural disaster.

First, if you are keeping photo albums, prized artwork, or antiques in your basement, move them to higher floors in your home. Basements and lower levels are typically the first places that flood waters pool. In addition to floods due to rain or backups, water heaters can rupture and cause damage to your keepsakes and family heirlooms. Storing your items correctly, such as on high shelves or in sealed plastic containers, can help protect them as well as speed flood damage restoration.

Second, regularly inspect both indoors and out. On the exterior, look for loose or missing roofing tiles and call your roofer immediately if any is spotted. Additionally, watch how water drains from your gutters and ensure that the landscaping and hardscaping around your home encourages water to flow away from the foundation. On the interior, watch for signs of water damage and mold. Look at ceilings, walls, grout lines in the bathroom, and on the walls surrounding the exhaust fan.

Third, if your home is in one of the many areas of Houston that have high water tables, consider investing in French drains and a sump pump. These drains run around the exterior of the foundation, and channel excess groundwater into a sump pit. Once in the pit, the water pumped out and away from your home. French drains also help to keep basements and lower levels of your home dry, preventing mold growth. If your basement is typically damp, but there are no signs of water damage, at the very least, use a dehumidifier to maintain humidity levels at 50% or less.

If your home floods, call Town & Country SERVPRO, we are available 24/7 to respond to your disaster. The quicker you call, and the quicker we get started and have a better chance of saving your precious family heirlooms, furniture, clothing, drapes, artwork, and photographs. Whether the flood damage in the Memorial area is due to a hurricane, torrential downpour, flash floods, backed up sewage, a leaky roof, fire, or ruptured hot water tank, we stand ready for flood damage restoration.

About Town & Country SERVPRO

The SERVPRO team of Town & Country is Faster to Any Size Disaster, helping residential and commercial property owners when disasters strike. We are experts in the field of mold remediation, water damage, flood and fire cleanup, and other events that damage your property. 

Understanding Insurance and Mold Coverage

9/18/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Understanding Insurance and Mold Coverage Severe mold damage in a Houston, TX home

One of the scariest discoveries you can make as a homeowner in Houston,TX, is fungus growth in your home. It may be black, orange, green or gray and sprout up in any room. Regardless of the color or space it inhabits, mold is not a welcome part of the decor. What are the next steps? Is mold coverage included in homeowners insurance?

First Fungus Growth, Now What?

Forty-eight hours is all it takes for mold to grow and spread. Once you notice a problem, act fast:

  • Do not attempt to touch or remove the impacted areas yourself. If handled improperly the particles may be released into the air and spread further.
  • Call a mold remediation specialist to remediate the problem. Typically, this involves assessing the severity of the mold contamination, containing the mold and filtering the air. Contents are discarded, cleaned and/or restored as appropriate.

Who Pays for Remediation, Homeowner or Insurance?

Mold insurance coverage is not usually part of a standard insurance policy, but there are instances when it may be covered:

  • Insurance considers mold within coverage when it is caused by another insured event, such as water damage from a fire or storm. If a flood causes water damage you must have flood insurance for the resulting mold to be covered.
  • The incident that initiates the mold must not be preventable. If failing to maintain your old pipes causes water damage, any mold resulting from that occurrence is not covered.
  • Some insurance companies offer partial mold remediation reimbursement. It also may be possible to purchase separate mold coverage as an add-on to the policy before a mold related instance occurs. Talk to your agent to understand your specific coverage.

Unsightly fungus growth can be devastating to your home in Houston,TX. Once your senses alert you to a mold problem, immediately contact a mold specialist and your insurance agent.

Tips for Mitigating Fire-Related Damage

8/29/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Tips for Mitigating Fire-Related Damage Fire damage in a Hillshire Valley, TX home

If your building in Hillshire Valley, TX, catches fire, you may be focused on the damage to the building itself. Fire damage to the building's structure, however, is only one type of problem your remediation efforts need to address. Fire mitigation experts often specialize in multiple areas of damage recovery because smoke and soot are not the only issues that arise after a fire. Tackling all the problems that result from the fire is necessary to restoring it to its rightful state.

Fire Mitigation

The damage the fire causes to the walls, ceilings, roof, support beams and exterior areas is certainly important to fix. However, there are other elements to consider in the complete fire mitigation process:

  • Damaged equipment and electronics
  • Furniture and upholstery
  • HVAC system
  • Odor elimination

Fire damage extends beyond the structure itself. Technicians must evaluate everything in the building, too, to see whether it can be saved or must be discarded. The air quality in the building should also be addressed. Industrial ozone machines or HEPA air purifiers can be used to clear the smoke odor out of the air.

Water Mitigation

One problem many people don't think about after a fire is the water damage caused by the process of putting the fire out. A fire hose unleashes multiple gallons of water a second, and that damage is just as important to remediate as the direct damage of the fire. If your building is equipped with fire sprinklers, it is likely that the electronic equipment in the room was damaged even if the fire didn't touch it, both from smoke and contact with water from the fire suppression system.

There are benefits to hiring experts who are certified in mitigating both water and fire damage when your building catches fire. Those who see the whole problem can more easily propose solutions to resolve the whole problem and take your repairs from assessment all the way to restoration.