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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Principals of Water Damage Restoration

7/13/2017 (Permalink)

The water restoration industry describes the drying of wet building materials and contents in five fundamental principles. Restorers implement a course of restorative action based on these principles. A quick response is key to preventing further water damage, so for applying the principles effectively the restorer must respond promptly whenever water intrudes into a building. The principles of water damage restoration are noted in The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) S500 Standard and Reference Guide for

Professional Water Damage Restoration:

• Provide for the health and safety of workers and occupants.

• Document conditions and work procedures.

• Mitigation.

• Drying.

• Cleaning and repair.


Principle 1—Safety First

Safety is everyone’s responsibility on a water damage work site. A primary concern in water damage safety is protecting employees.

Observing appropriate safety procedures will help keep workers healthy while they work in unhealthy or unsafe buildings.

Principle 2—Documentation

Restorers inspect the areas where water has intruded to identify the extent to which water has migrated through materials and how much damage has occurred. They talk with building occupants about their observations to help further define the nature of the water damage.

During the process of drying a building, restorers conduct ongoing inspections. They inspect and measure moisture conditions inside the building and in materials affected by the water. Information gathered in the ongoing inspections is documented and used to determine whether wet materials are drying properly. When the structure and contents are considered dry again, restorers conduct a final inspection.

This information is documented to show that the building materials and contents have been restored to acceptable conditions. Restorers document not only conditions of the building, but also the work procedures that are followed to address those conditions.

Principle 3—Mitigation

The restorer’s concern with any wet building is to prevent damages caused by water and moisture from becoming worse. Effective mitigation of a water intrusion will reduce the amount of damage a property suffers and thus also reduce the cost of restoring the property to its condition before the loss. Mitigation is important because it helps the occupant recover more quickly from the water loss event.

The goal of mitigation is to control the moisture and contamination. The restorer will check for the source of moisture problems in the building. This source of moisture or water must be stopped before any drying of the building can be successful. A building owner is ultimately responsible for correcting the source of water intrusion, but the restorer should assist in identifying that source. Mitigation also controls any microbiological contamination resulting from the moisture.Contaminants are contained to prevent their spread from affected areas of a building to the uncontaminated areas.

Principle 4—Drying Buildings and Contents

A restorer’s task is to reduce the time that building materials and contents are excessively wet. The more quickly items are returned to a dry condition, the less damage they will suffer while wet. The drying process involves some basic procedures:

Remove excess water. Removing the excess or bulk water is an important procedure in drying a building. There are only two ways to remove water from a building—extraction and evaporation. Extraction is the more effective way for removing enough water to speed the process of drying.

o Extract: Using a truck mount extractor and a carpet wand, a restorer can pull out over 100 gallons of water in one hour.

o Evaporate and Dehumidify: Even when the air is saturated with moisture, the larger dehumidifiers will remove only about 30 gallons in a day (24 hours). Every gallon removed by extracting means much less time will be needed trying to remove that gallon with drying equipment.

Enhance evaporation of moisture. Restorers set up drying equipment to remove moisture through evaporation and dehumidification. Air movement speeds the evaporation of moisture from wet materials.

Remove water vapor by dehumidification or ventilation. Dry air acts like a sponge to absorb moisture from wet surfaces. Wet, humid air is processed through dehumidifiers to remove water vapor and produce dry air. Air movers circulate the dry air from the dehumidifiers across the wet surfaces to speed up evaporation. An alternative procedure for removing water vapor is to ventilate by flushing wet, humid air from the building.

Control temperature to enhance moisture removal. Temperature is the important third part of the drying equation spelled HAT (Humidity, Airflow, Temperature). Restorers control the temperature of air conditions in order to increase the rate of evaporation. They also maintain certain temperature levels to increase the operating efficiency of dehumidifiers.

Principle 5—Cleaning and Repair

When the restorer’s inspection confirms that moisture content of the structure and contents has reached the drying goals, the drying services are done. The restorer is now ready to begin restoration services. During restoration the restorer performs any repairs and cleaning tasks needed to return the property to its preloss condition.


Here at SERVPRO of Walnut Creek it is important to us to not only make your loss "Like it never even happened" but to also educate you and help you completely understand what we do and prepare you for any future losses.

Have water damage? Give us a call at (925)930-6690


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