Helping You Protect Your Home

Keep It Or Toss It – What's Salvageable During Post-Flood Mold Remediation?

by Bernice Stanley

There are many reasons why dealing with the aftermath of a flood can be a difficult, stressful, and emotionally-taxing time. Even if you're working with your insurance company to restore your house, it's hard not to be affected by seeing your home fall victim to severe damage. Unfortunately, the damage from a flood doesn't end when the waters recede. 

Mold is a major concern following any flooding event, whether severe weather-related flooding or flooding from a major plumbing failure. Mold remediation helps to make your home safe for habitation again, but it often involves hard decisions. Understanding how mold remediation experts determine what you should or shouldn't keep may make this process go a little more smoothly.

Why Can't You Clean Some Materials?

The primary factor determining whether a material will be salvageable following a flood is its porosity. Highly porous materials can absorb substantial amounts of water, often storing moisture beneath the surface. If you've ever dealt with wet wood, you know it can take a long time to dry out fully. Unfortunately, these porous surfaces are particularly susceptible to serious mold problems.

Moisture is often the main ingredient that mold spores lack in a typical residential home, so moisture in a material will often lead to rapid mold growth. In some cases, mold can begin growing within a single day. With highly porous materials, such as wood or drywall, the mold on the surface is only the tip of the iceberg. Mold will grow deep into the material, forming resilient colonies.

Can You Save Porous Materials?

If your home suffers a major flood, part of the remediation process will involve throwing away many or most affected porous materials. Carpets, fabric or cushioned furniture, and drywall are all nearly impossible to salvage if inundated with water. While there may be options for saving particularly important items, it's rarely cost-effective.

In some cases, as with drywall, your mold remediation team may decide that the materials are partially salvageable. This strategy involves cutting away the affected portions of the drywall and a healthy margin above the water line to ensure no areas with heavy moisture content remain. Along with heavy-duty drying equipment, this process ensures the drywall will not harbor future mold growth.

Likewise, it may be possible to save wood framing elements. Since these areas are behind walls, it's important to ensure that mold cannot grow on them. In addition to thoroughly drying the wood, your mold remediation team may utilize mold-inhibiting primer to ensure that any growth remaining beneath the surface cannot spread.

Ultimately, proper mold remediation following a flood will likely involve throwing away many items and even tearing out portions of your home. While this process can be painful, it's the best way to ensure that your home's air remains safe and healthy.

Reach out to a mold remediation company near you to learn more.