When a water damage incident occurs, it is a priority to extract as much moisture as possible from the affected areas and to minimise damage to contents by either moving aside and/or blocking up on polystyrene sections.
Water Damage Specialist like MCS will then determine the extent of water migration in the structure and contents using moisture detection equipment:-
- Moisture meter – non penetrating and penetrating types;
- Hydro-sensor for flooring;
- Thermal imaging cameras to help detect all locations affected;
Structural components that can become affected by water damage include skirting boards, plaster wall sheeting, timber wall frames, timber and concrete floors, ceiling, light fittings and upper walls for water entering above (e.g. storm or water damage from unit/apartment above), kitchen benches, fixed cabinetry items etc. Moisture map is developed including fixed moisture points to test which are used to determine progress of the drying process.
Any part of the building structure where water damage is evident can be used to aid drying thereby minimising disruption to the building owner/tenant. Typically skirting boards will crack apart from the wall due to swelling and will need to be repaired. MCS with appropriate approval can remove the skirting boards and if needed insert small holes in the lower wall where the skirting boards were located.
Where building structure is affected, a combination of air movement and dehumidification is required. The smaller the area the quicker it will dry, so doors will be closed where appropriate and if required, containment walls can be erected (e.g. thick plastic including zip for access if needed). In simple terms, the air movement captures the moisture and the dehumidifier removes the moisture from the air, converts it to water and drains this away to the nearest sink, shower or bath.
Hygrometer can be used during the drying process to ascertain the most favourable conditions exist to dry the building structure. In the affected areas, the air becomes very dry due to the dehumidifier(s) in operation and this together with the noise factor means such areas normally cannot be used. In a business environment MCS works with the client to minimise business disruption which may mean running equipment after hours only however this does prolong the drying process.
At completion of structural drying, a detailed report can be produced informing the client of the areas that were wet and a record of results where and when moisture tests were performed until the dry standard is obtained. This report can be used by our client to validate the site was dried before additional repairs are commenced.
It is the aim of MCS to return the site to a pre-loss condition unless water has damaged the structure, in this incident MCS will ensure it is dried so no further damage can occur (e.g. mould contamination) until such repairs take place.
What are the implications if the structure is not dried?
If gyprock / plaster is not dried, there would be a high risk of microbial (mould) growth as the paper based plaster is a food source for mould.
Concrete floors must be dried to an adequate level before the installation of sheet material, tile, wood or coating. Excessive moisture in or permeating from the floor slab after installation of a floor covering or coating can cause failures such as condensation, blistering, de-laminating, movement and general deterioration of the finished flooring / coating. There is also a high risk of promoting microbial (mould) growth.
Wood/timber has a normal moisture range of 8 – 12%. When the moisture content is above 15%, the cellulose-based surface can support mould growth. When the moisture content exceeds 20%, wood can rot leading to mould growth and infrastructure deterioration.