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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.

Early Responses Save Roofs

8/22/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Early Responses Save Roofs Fallen tree on roof by storm damage on a Spring Valley Village, TX home

It isn't always possible to call the professionals right away to deal with a roof leak in Spring Valley Village, TX. Even small problems, such as missing shingles, can lead to a more severely damaged roof in the future. A single weak spot in a roof can expand, causing:

  • Interior damage
  • Further shingle loss
  • Leaky roofs

Here are some of the first steps that professionals take when they clean up leaks. Once you read through these, you'll be able to easily see why it's best to address your problems as early as possible.

Extraction Stage

The very first thing that happens is that repair crews will go up on your roof and tear out all of the wet materials. There are many layers in a roof, and a roof leak doesn't have to permeate all of them to create damage. That means you may not even see drips inside of your facility. The longer you let small holes sit, the more chance water has to permeate the intermediate layers of your roof. This could contribute to mold growth, pest infestations and it can add to the weight of your roof, causing sagging and other structural problems. The extraction part of the job involves searching for wet areas and removing them as thoroughly as is necessary.

Recovery Stage

After the crewmembers remove all of the soaked material, they dry the surrounding area to salvage any elements of the roof that are even a little bit damp. If there is warping after the drying process is complete, those sections usually need to be cut out; this is a situation in which it's good to have the judgment of an experienced storm mitigation service. Just like with the removal stage, this drying process is faster and cheaper when a smaller area is affected.
As you can see, even initial stages of dealing with a roof leak in Spring Valley Village, TX, benefit from quick, decisive action. The same goes for any rebuilding or restoration projects you might need to do.

Are Any Interior Finishes Salvageable After a Flood?

8/15/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Are Any Interior Finishes Salvageable After a Flood? Flooding due to sewage damage in Houston, TX home

As a homeowner dealing with a flooded house in Houston, TX, you may have a lot of questions during the early stages of the restoration. Figuring out what you can and cannot save will help you get a better idea of how much the overall project will cost. For example, can swelling wood be salvaged? Because each situation may be different, you should talk with your residential water remediation experts to figure out what repairs your home requires.

Flooring

The state of your flooring after a supply line flood may be warped and water logged. Whether you can save this piece of building material depends on the flooring you have and how long the waters sat in your home.

  • Wood Floors: May be saved if removed from the house and completely dried before replacing.
  • Carpets: May need to be thrown away if water contains contaminants.
  • Tiles: May remain unharmed from the flood, but if possible could be removed to allow subfloor to dry better.
  • Laminate: Water may get trapped under sheet flooring, which requires it to be replaced.

If the water has not caused your flooring to start to disintegrate, you may be able to save it. However, this restoration process can take weeks.

Subflooring

Because subflooring is often made of OSB or plywood, it will likely have to be replaced. The swelling wood could cause any floors you lay on top of the subfloor to bubble and buckle. Replacement is often the best option to ensure your new materials last as long as possible.

Walls

Drywall and insulation may get damaged during a flood. Because these materials are porous, they often have to be replaced during a water pipe repair. You may only need to replace the materials that get wet.

During a flood cleanup, you will likely have to replace a lot of building materials and interior finishes. Swelling wood and warped materials are often clear signs salvage is not possible.

Storm Damage Under Your Home

7/23/2018 (Permalink)

When you have a home flood in Houston, TX wet items must be dried quickly and thoroughly. If moisture persists in building materials, mold spores will take hold and form colonies. Mold often finds those places where you never knew a moisture problem existed. After a storm, you need to thoroughly dry flooded areas, including some you may not often think of, like the crawlspace.

Being out of sight, your crawlspace is easy to forget. Homeowners don't like the getting involved in the ugly side of their home, but it is a very important part and it needs to be managed well. Be sure to check for water in the crawl space after a home flood. If left unaddressed, it can lead to multiple problems:

• Erosion and foundation damage
Mold growth
• Insects, such as termites
• Damaged structural materials


When inspecting for storm damage, check crawlspace vents and make sure to remove any debris and soil that may block them. The vents are important to provide adequate airflow. This is important all the time, not just after a storm, so make sure to keep these areas clear regularly. Check for wet or damaged building materials and be sure to replace them when the water has been removed. If you see mold, don't disturb the area and get a professional as quickly as you can to help with cleaning and containment.

If you do see standing water after a home flood, call professionals right away to help manage the water removal and drying process. The great thing about calling a professional restoration company is that they have special equipment to dry the area fast. They use powerful pumps and vacuums to remove standing water, then use air movers and dehumidifiers to dry the area all while carefully monitor the moisture levels to ensure proper drying. This is especially important in a crawlspace where concrete foundations hold on to moisture for a long time in the cool environment. Visit http://www.SERVPROtowncountry.com/ for more information on storm damage. 

Candle Replacements To Keep Your Home Safe

7/19/2018 (Permalink)

Candles of all types are sold every day around the world. In fact, it is estimated that more than a billion pounds of various waxes are used in the production of candles each year. With the wild popularity of tapers, tea lights, and pillar candles, it should be easy to track the which type is sold most often. However, it is difficult to say how many candles or what design, style, or size of the wax, scent-infusing varieties are sold because of the number of cottage industries that have sprung up all over the world as the popularity of wax light grew. Sadly, as people burn more of the aroma-producing products, the world is experiencing more candle fire episodes than ever before.

Quick and Easy Replacements

While it is easy to criticize the use of candles, it is often more difficult to think of replacements. Fire cleanup and restoration experts suggest preventing candle fire by trying the following if you are looking for soft lighting or a lovely scent when choosing to replace your candles.

Electric candles
Stand-alone air-fresheners
Fairy lights
Reed or electric diffusers
Perfume scented lightbulb
Hanging or clip-on lights
Electric wax or oil warmers

Another alternative to filling your room with the lovely scent of a candle is a perfume scented lightbulb. Use your favorite fragrance or aroma filled oil. The pleasant bouquet that flows through the room may surprise you.

Fast and Simple Safety

Candles have been a part of human life for hundreds of years, so it can be difficult to look at your life in Houston, TX without them. However, you don’t have to turn to a wax creation when setting a romantic mood or seeking to cover an unpleasant odor; there are alternatives that can provide soft lights or fill the room with the same alluring scents as any candle out there. Creating an environment that is safe from candle fire hazard or smoke cleanup can be much more important than recreating the look your forefathers favored as they sat next to a burning candle with an open book. Besides, you have electric lights for that! Visit http://www.SERVPROtowncountry.com/ for more information on fire damage.

Personal Protective Equipment for Safe Mold Remediation

7/14/2018 (Permalink)

Whether professionals are handling a mold outbreak in Houston, TX or you hope to tackle the problem yourself, it is crucial that personal protective equipment is used. Cleaning up mold often involves the handling of potentially hazardous substances. Additionally, mold spores are microscopic and could become airborne or transported from one area to another during clean up. The right equipment could prevent this and protect other areas of the property.

Items of personal protective equipment include:

• Disposable hair covers
• Safety goggles
• Air-purifying respirator
• Tyvek suits or clothing that can be immediately and appropriately laundered
• Disposable gloves
• Disposable shoe covers

Full Containment

While your property is in the process of remediation, containment is necessary to protect unaffected areas from new mold growth. There are several containment methods approved by the EPA, both full and limited. Full containment may occur when contamination of an entire building requires that layers of the wall are removed. Appropriate containment prevents the transfer of mold colonies into areas of the building that have already been treated.

Limited Containment

Limited containment could simply require a sheet of 6-mil fire-retardant polyethylene with a slit entry and flap. This sheeting may be held in place by duct tape. In many cases, containment also involves sealing off doors, pipe chases, and air vents to keep mold away from other areas of the property. Remediation experts have access to these materials and others used for containment.

Air Purification

Some air purifiers can be used to remove mold spores or at least remove odors that are caused by mold. If this method of controlling mold contamination is used to protect your Houston, TX building, it's best to choose a filter that uses approved technology and is in compliance with established standards. Remember that these purifiers don't provide mold remediation; instead they are a tool for prevention. Visit http://www.SERVPROtowncountry.com/ for more information on mold.